Written in response to: Write a story about someone going on a life-changing journey.... view prompt


Fiction Science Fiction Fantasy

Satish and Rohit, students of information technology, decided to watch the splendour of nature during meteor shower. They selected Geminid meteor showers to observe from a secluded place where the light pollution would be completely absent. They reached Sawant wadi. When it was noon, from there, they started their trekking. They were wandering in the SAHYADRIS in the area near Amboli Ghat.  That was 13 December 2001. When they reached the top of one mountain, they looked around and down in the valley. 

The wonderful nature was greeting them. Satish standing on the cliff, yelled out loud, “Hey, how wonderful." And there was an echo. "Hey, how wonderful!"  They were thrilled. Rohit shouted “We are here to see meteor shower”. And the friendly nature echoed back “We are here to see meteor shower.” Satish remembered Bhupen Hazarika’s “Pratiddhani Sunu moi pratiddhani sunu” the Assamese poem .”  He imagined Bhupen da on one of the peaks of the Bairah mountain range and singing aloud and echoing words occupying the entire surrounding.

The mesmerizing atmosphere thrilled them. Then Satish realized their immediate mission was to locate a place that would give them an unobstructed view of the entire sky and the view of the valley that would allow them to trace the falling meteors over a longer period.

They finally chose a spot and made themselves comfortable. The evening, setting sun spread the golden rays of the twilight. Satish opened the dinner packet that he had carried. They finished their meal. Spread the sheet they had packed in the backpack. And eagerly awaited the grand spectacle of nature.   

The predicted shower of meteors called GEMINID had a promise of display of around a hundred meteors per hour. The shower caused by the meteors resulting from the debris of the asteroid RHEATON 3200 is usually impressive. That being the no-moon night, even the faintest of the meteors would be visible due to absence of external light such as moonlight.

The stars were glittering beautifully. Thousands of them twinkling made the sky a marvellous site. And there was a bright meteor falling straight from the direction of the constellation GEMINI. After showing itself for a few seconds, it disappeared. Satish and Rohit were astounded by the view. Before they could digest the great experience, another bright meteor zoomed in the sight and after beaming for a few seconds it also exited the scene. The two observers were thrilled. Slowly one after another, the meteors were shining in different directions. Suddenly a bluish—greenish meteor entered the arena and slowly made its exit. Its trail could be seen for a significant time. After a gap of a few minutes, another faint and fast-moving meteor appeared. Again, after a gap, one bright meteor was seen. Slowly the frequency of appearing meteors, increased. Few of them were colourful. At around 2 a.m. there was the peak of meteors. Over a hundred meteors could be counted in an hour. After sometime the frequency started reducing. By dawn, it dwindled to a few in an hour.

Satish and Rohit noted the significant occasion. The direction, speed, intensity, and colour of the meteor were recorded. Some extra observations were also written down.

When the eastern sky brightened up, Satish and Rohit wound up their material and started coming down to the foothill to take some rest in a lodge. The birds had woken up. Their melodious chirping was making the atmosphere adorable. The big birds were taking to heights and were looking for their prey. Monkeys were jumping from tree to tree.

On the way, they came across a small habitat of 12-15 small houses. And the habitat was alive. Some happening had created commotion. The stocks of hay, stored behind their houses were ablaze. Many youngsters were trying to douse the fire. Satish and Rohit also joined the crowd attempting to extinguish the flames. Sometime in the night, all of a sudden, the large heaps of dry hay were set on fire. Every villager was surprised as they were sure that no human being would do such a dastardly act.

While in the process of extinguishing the fire, Satish stepped on a hot stone. It burnt his toes. He suspected something unexpected. Carefully using some thick cloth he picked up the stone. Kept it in a safe place. In a short while, yet another hot piece of stone was found. That too was saved.

When the fire was totally doused, all the residents got together. They were worried about who could do that inhuman act of setting the hay on fire.

Satish and Rohit addressed the gathering of locals.

“Brothers, whatever has happened is really very sad. All of you are wondering who could do such an inhumane act. But I would like to tell you, this is not human act. It is a natural calamity.

Rohit and I had come from Mumbai to witness a splendid meteor shower. We were on the Amboli hills to be away from light pollution. And we saw hundreds on meteors falling in 2-3 hours. The meteors are very small pebbles being the debris floating in space. When earth passes through this area, some of them get attracted to our earth. As they enter the earth’s atmosphere, the get heated and burn. The meteors are so small that they burn up completely before reaching the earth. And they appear as beautiful falling stars. But sometimes they are a bit bigger so that they do not evaporate before reaching earth. But they are extremely hot.

Now, coincidently, such unevaporated, hot meteors fell on heaps of dry hay. The hay caught fire. Such two small meteors, we have discovered. They are very hot. After they cool down to normal temperature, we will take them to a meteorological lab for further study.

Don’t worry. This incident is a natural happening.”        

After the meteors were cooled enough, Satish and Rohit carefully packed them, and then they set out to go to the nearby meteorological laboratory. They were thrilled to have collected some evidence of stellar body which may be having some information about the objects beyond the planet Neptune. 

July 31, 2023 14:09

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