When Anish Rao, a young Indian scientist at NASA, left his workstation, late evening on Wednesday, little did he know of the storm he was about to trigger. One of his cribbing cousins from Mumbai had emailed a photo of their neighborhood road, potholed at the first instance of rains. Anish downloaded the photo, had a nostalgic splash in one of the potholes, which he recalled was scrupulously maintained since he first went to school, smiled over it & left for the day.
A little later his colleague Mark who saw the same photo, identified it by the sheer depth, size and vintage of those holes and registered it as the latest image of moon’s craters from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) & saved it perfunctorily in the LRO Image folder and was about to leave the workstation for a coffee, when lightning struck him. He felt as if he had seen in that image, the craters actually filled with liquid, most probably water. And, was there actually a 3-wheeler at that spot?
Minutes later the entire Lunatic Mission staff, 33 of them for that shift, stood peering into the photo, around that workstation. Everyone frantically trying to make sense of it. The senior most scientists of the team reconfirmed that the surface in that image, has to be the Lunar craters as nothing on earth compares to that. So the only twist was the presence of human beings on moon.
The news of human’s on moon – spread, much faster than wildfire, almost like Manmohan Singh jokes on FB, with forensic experts concluding that the human traffic seen on moon’s surface were Indians. This led to frenzy among all parts of the world with a presence of the Indian diaspora. The earth was in a tizzy!
The icing on the cake was the successful identification of the 3-wheeler as an auto-rickshaw from Mumbai driven by Ramcharan Dubey. This led to a tsunami of emotions across political and media circles and waves of reactions…
Sushil Kumar Shinde claimed “My intelligence report had informed that an Indian auto driver was to land on an Earth’s satellite, just didn’t know which satellite!”
Rahul Gandhi announced “A small step for Ramcharan, a big trip for Indians. We will endeavor to take everyone for a ride. Ho raha Bharat Nirman!”
Arvind Kejriwal bemoaned “See how Robert Vadra and his ilk have jacked up land prices so high, that Aam people have no choice but to shift to places like these.”
BJP’s Ravi Shankar Prasad smiled and informed “Look at the ripple effect of Modi’s development in Gujarat, even an auto driver in neighboring Maharashtra goes to the moon”
Omar Abdullah tweeted “Moon looks like Gulmarg, but lacks in natural beauty”
The media circles were abuzz too…
Arnab Goswami roared “The nation demands a …. Well … err… a ride on that auto for sure!”
Sagarika Ghose raised a pertinent question “Why does moon revolve around the Earth?”
Bachi Karkaria wrote “What do we call rain on the moon? Moon-soon..hehe…haha…oh hoho.. my god!”
Aaj Tak flashed spirituality in its Breaking News headlines “Ram Charan chandrama ko sparshit!”
India TV, ever the partriotic “America sharam se doobey, Chand par pahuncha Ramcharan Dubey”
NASA’s Lunatic Mission team was huddled anticipating the ignominy that awaited not only them but the NASA, the USA & the western civilization as a whole, just when Anish walked in. He saw the crowd around his workstation and enquired. He was directed to the image of Moon’s crater which had an Indian auto rickshaw on it.
He chuckled and said “Its Carter, not crater!”.
“What do you mean?” demanded a chorus.
“It’s Carter Road in Mumbai, near where my home is located. What you thought were Moon’s craters are nothing but one of many Mumbai roads, which becomes potholed as soon as rains arrive and remains like that till the next rains create a deeper dent.”
There was a palpable “Phew” in the staff, as they dispersed and Mark remarked to Anish “Those are hideous adventures you have to live with in Mumbaai.
Do you ever miss that place?”
Anish said “Well… yes!”
Mark wondered aloud as he left for the day “And how do you feel whenever you actually land there?”
Anish kept staring at the picture as he quipped “Over the moon!” 🙂
Image Sources : By Bryan Derksen at en.wikipedia Later versions were uploaded by Evil Monkey at en.wikipedia. [Public domain or Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons , By Hkelkar at en.wikipedia [CC-BY-2.0], from Wikimedia Commons , By Sebastian Ballard [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons