Saturday, November 15, 2008

At the Planetarium

My older one had been wanting to visit the Planetarium for weeks. Knowing how difficult it would be to schedule it into a normal weekend, I’d promised to take him during our week in Delhi. The big day arrived, dozens of things went wrong we reached the ticket window barely 20 minutes before the show was supposed to start. I was sure we would not get tickets, and kept trying to prepare my son for the disappointment of having to wait another day to ‘see the stars’.
The lady at the ticket counter seemed not to understand what I meant when I asked if tickets were still available, but since she produced the tickets without much ado, I did not dwell too much on her apparent confusion. We ran into the Planetarium, and found ourselves surrounded by beautiful photographs of the night sky taken from various historical sites, memorabilia from Rakesh Sharma’s space visit, paintings made by children of the Chandrayan expedition, and nothing else. There was not a single person around – not even one.
Minutes before the show was to begin, people started tricking in – three school kids, a man my age and his mother, a man with two kids of school going age. That’s it! Including my not yet three year old, there were exactly a dozen people in a Planetarium that could easily seat at least two hundred people.
The show was beautifully executed. Complex concepts were explained in very simple language. There were things that even a self-confessed astronomy buff like me learnt for the first time. And going by some of the references, the commentary had been updated in the last month. But, there was practically nobody to see it.
Malls are always crowded with people who are there only to have a good time. Why can some of those people not visit a Planetarium sometimes?

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