Sunny District just moved into a new home today designed by the WordPress theme ‘Hemingway Rewritten‘. Not to worry, dear readers, as nothing much changes about the spirit of my blog, though I kinda like to sport a new look every once in a while. Same goes for me, I
want to need to get a haircut, like yesterday, so this weekend I am gonna look good just like my brand new old blog :) Hope you have some nice things to say about the two of us!
I hope that the news of India’s Mars Orbiter Mission which launched into the Mars orbit today is making a lot of good noise around the world. It makes me feel very proud. Although I have not been following it all that keenly, but now that the mission has made such a splash with its success, let’s do a quick round up of cool facts about the mission.
- The spacecraft is also called Mangalyaan, which literally translates from Sanskrit or Hindi as ‘Mars Craft’ or ‘Mars Vehicle’ (‘Mangal‘ or ‘Mangala‘ = Mars, ‘Yaan‘ = craft, vehicle). Wikipedia explains further about the astrological connotation of ‘Mangala‘.
- The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) hence joins the inner circle, so to say, being one of only four space agencies (U.S, Russian & European) to achieve this feat.
- India is the first country to successfully send a Mars orbiter in it’s maiden attempt.
- The orbiter was launched from the Sriharikota launch centre on 5th Nov. 2013 and completed the orbital insertion today, 24th Sept. 2014.
- At $74million, it is by far the cheapest Mars mission ever. Checkout the comparison depicted in the picture below which is doing the rounds on all news sites. As pointed out by PM Modi, this is quite a few dollars less than the $100million Hollywood movie ‘Gravity’. Way too cool, I must say!
Find out all you need to know about this mission & from these very knowledgeable sources: The Wall Street Journal & Wikipedia, and more about the Mars missions over time.
Is it just me, or do you also see the cheetah’s face with outspread bat wings at the heart of this orchid?
How many of you have been playing this new tagging game on Facebook? The one where one of your friends tags you & asks you to list your top ten all time favorite books, and then you have to do the same, thanking the friend that nominated you plus tagging some others to post their favorites. I usually don’t do Facebook challenges, but when I did take part in this one, only because it had everything to do with books. It’s terribly difficult to choose just ten from the whole universe of awesome books around us. There are just too many books to love!
Here goes, in no particular order…
- The Murder of Roger Ackroyd – Agatha Christie
I am a huge fan of this author, I’d even read product labels, if she wrote those. Poirot is my hero. And this book in particular is the best from the author.
- The Palace of Illusions – Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
This is the story of the Mahabharata from a different point of view, that of Draupadi. She who was born of fire, married to the five Pandava brothers by a twist of fate, lost by her husbands at a game of dice and dishonored by the Kauravas in a court full of royal elders, who swore revenge and finally achieved it in the battle of Kurukshetra.
- Pride & Prejudice – Jane Austen
The first grown-up book that I read and instantly fell in love with. The setting in old English countryside, the adamant heroine, the distant hero, their love-hate-ego-clash relationship and the rest of the varied characters, all make it a novel to remember.
- The Magic Faraway Tree – Enid Blyton
In fact I honestly don’t know which one of her books is my favorite. Although she has been analysed as being sexist in her works, I prefer to bypass that. I am thankful that her stories filled my childhood with so much imagination & wonder.
- All Quiet on the Western Front – Erich Maria Remarque
This is how war sounds when described in a young soldier’s voice. Despite having learnt about the skills needed in the field, what actually happens there will test the soldiers to the limit. It is a poignant story and a reiteration of the fact that war can never ever be good for anyone.
- City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi – William Dalrymple
You see my husband is from Delhi so I wanted to know more of his city. Also, my sister is crazy about the historical appeal of the city and she blogs about it passionately. This book helped me discover a Delhi I had never known. And I kind of started to look at it as way more than the bustling metropolis that it appears prima facie.
- The Namesake – Jhumpa Lahiri
The author describes so well that feeling of belonging, and yet not. Finding your roots in a foreign land has never been easy, all the more when the world you are a growing up is so different from what you find inside your home.
- The Pact – Jodi Picoult
This book I read recently opened my mind to teen issues that I thought insignificant. I guess, growing up as a teenager is getting tougher in today’s world where every move one makes is up for scrutiny. It’s something I am definitely going to keep my eyes & ears open when I have kids of my own.
- A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini
This is a moving account of war-torn Afghanistan, revolving around the lives of two women brought together by fate and how their relationship grows from initial hostility to love and trust beyond life.
I am sure as I continue to read every day, this list might take a new shape, but for now, this is it. Have you read any of these? I’d love to find out if our choices match!