MOONRISER – THE SEARCH FOR A LOST BEHEMOTH
“Why was she named MOONRISER?” I asked Ambrose.
We were on the terrace of the ISS tower looking at the MOONRISER undergoing maintenance checks in the same landing pad she always took off from and docked. It was evening and we were also watching the sun set; it was time for most of us to return home and relax after a long day’s work.
“I still remember that evening. The ship was complete and now, it had to be named. Your father, me, Dr. Ijaz, even Ismail… and many of our colleagues were standing here and admiring the beauty of the ship. It was an all-boys meet and we literally came to a situation where we were… no more admiring her but calling her names and behaving the same way roadside romeos would do while watching beautiful girls on the streets.” Said Ambrose.
I couldn’t help stare at him. Like seriously… did they do it? I could only imagine how it would have been.
Ambrose continued, “While calling out names, that is when your father actually became serious and asked us – what should we call her? We became serious too and silently thought. Dr. Ijaz brought out his notepad and asked us to suggest names, and we started thinking hard.
INTREPIDITY was one of them but your father didn’t like it. Names like SOLACE, HALO, ANGEL… I remember Ismail saying – SHOWSTOPPER – and we burst out laughing. I even suggested the name – CHANDNI…”
“Wait… what? Chandni… you wanted to name the ship – CHANDNI.” I almost reacted at that.
Ambrose smiled at my reaction and continued again, “It was the exact same reaction the old boys gave at that time. Come on, son… it is not a bad name. Besides, it is like naming a girl child. The others were against it but your dad… he took an interest in that name. Of course, I was aware you had a friend… now, also, your squad mate by that name.
Your father, suddenly, started monologuing. I don’t remember the exact words but this is how it was –
“Chandni… Moon light… You know what my father used to say when I was young…” Dhiren started.
We didn’t answer but we were listening intently.
Dhiren continued, “People try to be like the Sun but fail to do that. It is ok, my son… it is ok to not be like the Sun; however, you can be like the Moon. You will be remembered.”
We didn’t understand that at first. The Moon had just risen up, the skies were clear and therefore, the light from the Moon spread out lighting up a few of the darkened areas in our sight.
Dhiren continued explaining and might I say it was the best thing I ever heard, “I, now, understand, people. I have figured it out what my father was trying to say. The light from the Sun is powerful enough to light up every nook and corner of this world, however, it is only one side of the world while the other side is still darkened.
We try to help everyone but we cannot for we all have limitations. We fear those limitations because of which even after we try, we fail for we lose the believe that we can do something our ourselves, our friends, our families… but the Moon, the Moon was nothing but a wasteland for millennia. It does not have its own light… it reflects the light from the Sun and tries to amplify it.
The Moon knows its limitations, its weakness… yet it doesn’t stop trying. Doesn’t stop trying to light up as many darkened areas as possible. History speaks of so many weary travelers who found their lost path because of the light from the Moon. Our duty as a soldier is not to just protect but also, to help. We can’t help everyone but like the Moon, provide the believe that we are always there for everyone. We will always do our best to light up every darkened path with whatever strength we have.”
We were all silent. Those were deep words yet every word was true. Your father then looked at the Moon and said, “Oh… the Moon has risen… oh, wait!!”
That is when your father looked at us and then back at the starship. He found the name for it.”
“MOONRISER” I said, almost like completing the story.
“The name was like a wake-up call to most of us. The most powerful and advanced starship ever built yet the name was enough to make us realize that in all times possible, we have to be humble, we have to be modest… we have to be like the Moon.” Said Ambrose.
Ambrose then looked at his watch and said, “Time to go. See you again.”
Saying, he walked away while I continued to stand still looking at MOONRISER. I received a call that time.
“This may sound weird but I am feeling jealous now. I know you are standing there and ‘ogling’ at MOONRISER. When was the last time you looked at me the same way? Let me remind you… not even once. You are coming or shall I come up?” It was Chandni.
“Oh boy, she is angry.” I thought and then answered, “So you are ok if I ‘ogle’ you like that?”
There was no answer but I could hear her giggle.
“Time to go home, Sudhir. I am waiting at the car park.” She said.
“Coming.” Saying, I hang up and started to walk but at that very moment, the terrace lit up with the light from the Moon.
I looked at it, it was a full moon night. As I continued looking at it, I remembered my father’s words – IF NOT THE SUN, BE LIKE THE MOON.