It was undoubtedly a new year gift, and ``Beyond Moon and Mars (BMM),'' did not know it had this precious collection all these years!
On the morning of January 9,2011, when BMM's wife, Usha and daughter, Rimanika, were in the process of discarding old papers, they stumbled upon something which BMM grabbed instantly. They were newspapers which were 42-years-old.
But, why should BMM all of a sudden decide to keep these collection of old newspapers? The reason is that they contained reports about the Apollo 8 flight-----the first manned mission to the lunar orbit. There are nine Indian newspapers starting from December 22,1968.
The papers are The Bharat Jyoti--what was once the Sunday edition of the Free Press Journal--The Indian Express, The Economic Times and of course The Times of India. In the last 42 years, the papers have crumpled and BMM had to open the paper with utmost lest they should tare.
Though the papers relating to the launch are not there, the reports are mainly about the the mission entering the lunar orbit which was historical and the splashdown. They contain a lot of details, photographs and sketches and reactions from various people, including one from Vikram Sarabhai, the father of India's space programme.
How did these papers remain in an old rusted trunk at BMM's house all these years? Who had collected and preserved them without BMM remaining blissfully unaware about it for the last 42 years? Any guess? BMM's mom of course and BMM is extremely grateful to her and thanks her.
BMM's mom knew that her son was born not with a silver spoon in its mouth, but with rocket fuel!!! Space was in its blood right from the moment it was born. Its mom had also taken the trouble of preserving the The New York Times containing reports about the first landing on the moon. But, again it has to be handled very carefully. Infact its dad has done a sketch of BMM cycling on the moon for his birthday which is displayed in the huge case in its room right behind the Saturn V rocket model.
Yes, the space treasure unearthed on January 9,2011 was truly a great, precious and memorable new year gift for BMM BMM's house is going to be totally revamped in the next two months. It hopes that it will stumble upon similar space treasures!
If it does, then once again a big thanks to mom. Thanks also to Usha for deciding to revamp the house.
BMM will soon start reading these newspapers.