Sunday, September 24, 2017
Let me start my speech with a question from our teacher.
What brought you here? Obviously it is the z score and your talent in Mathematics is what brought you here. But we all prefer somebody giving that poetic reply about the floral beauty and scenic surrounding calling you here to Peradeniya from the distant parts of the country. And what else? Humming of bees, colonial architecture and Robarosia trees. Once we agree that the love of flora is what drove us here; it is immediately followed by the Ptolemaic notion, the notions that tell us that we are at the center of the universe. We feel special, we felt that we are the privileged students among everyone in the country. And we convince ourselves that we are in "heaven"on earth.
But believe me when I say we are not that special! Flowers do bloom everywhere. They do wave to the dry winds in Rajarata, shine brightly under the warm sun in Jaffna and spread their fragrance along with the salty smelling winds in Ruhuna. Despite whatever we convince ourselves to be, they do emerge through cracks in the "concrete slabs" within our counterpart in Moratuwa. We arn't special for having flowers. But each place has a different type of flowers. Their fragrance may dependon the soil, their color on the sunshine and their size on rainfall. Simply floral beauty if geography specific.
On a personal note; for me it was never about the flowers!
Have you ever taken a moment to gaze into the night sky? Have you peeped out of the windows while you were studying late night, looked up while you were making those late night phone calls while wandering in the balcony, laid down on a roof top with a bottle of booze or even seen a session of the planetarium.
"Twinkling little stars" have always been the most amazing part of nature for me. I have been in love with the glittering lights even before I knew them to be burning fission engines. Let me tell you why!
Stars are the same everywhere! We see the same shining dots in the big black umbrella wherever we go. Unlike flowers; stars are not geo specific. You cannot go away or reach closer to stars how much you try. They don't end at your fence or you don't find more of them in Peradeniya than in Colombo. I fell for stars over flowers because of their indifference over narrow human invented boundaries.
But there are some fine details about stars that many of us fail to grasp coz we don't concentrate enough to reveal them. If you take a moment out of your busy lives and lay on a lawn to look up into the night sky; naturally you might be tempted to count stars. But I bet you will loose count after a while. Then you might actually start noticing how beautiful they are. This is when you understand the lesson about appreciating things without trying to quantify. In other words happiness doesn't depend on HOW MUCH you have got but on how u appreciate the beauty of the universe around you. and of course GP112 is not absolute!
Marking the extents of the cosmos have been the dream of every stargazer from the earliest of times stretching back to the Babylonian era. But this has proven to be a quest with no end. Today we are pretty much convinced of the limitlessness of the universe. I find the very thought of being just one of the billion humans; humans being one of the millions of species on earth and earth being one of the eight planets revolving around the sun-- who happen to be just one medium sized among the infinite amount of stars to be a great relief for all my day to day life problems. This knowledge makes me wonder how petty all our great personal hardships are with respect to the cosmic standards.
I hope all of you know what constellations are. They are the images we create by connecting the stars. The constellations as we know are just the connections agreed upon by some famous astronomers in the past. They have in scripted the mythology, stories and fables of their times between the heavens and made them to be heard up until now. But can't we do the same?
To be frank the night sky is just a randomly distributed array of pixels awaiting to be connected into images of our own perception. What if you or I connect these glittering dots with our own imaginary lines? Wont we be able to create our own constellations? And write our own tales between the heavens! Let me tell you apersonal secret. I have grew writing my own story between the stars. The three bright stars in the belt of Orion knows everything to do with the three members of my family; and the pole star-- well known for guiding explorers in unknown seas always reminds me of my sixth grade teacher whom I consider to be the best mentor ever. Castor and Pollux are obviously the ones to remember the memories I share with my best friend. Whenever I wanted the affection of my family, guidance of a mentor or craved the warmth of friendship all I had to do was to look up into the sky.
But during the past couple of years I felt some difference in the night sky. Some faint stars have disappeared from the sky with the faint memories they carried. Some bright stars aren't as luminous as they used to be and they don’t scream loud with their stories as they used to do. The flickering patterns are much different from what I am used to and they don’t seem to resonate with the rhythm of my thoughts or else the heartbeat as they used to do. Something ought to be wrong with the stars. Is the universe nearing its end or is my eyesight failing. Listen to my friends and you will find out.
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