lalita larking

An obsession with cryptic crosswords. Everything else falls in place.

Location: Kolkata, India

Sunday, May 04, 2008

One special moon

Waking up at all hours of the night has its charming surprises. I see moonrise at times I wouldn't have otherwise.

I like looking at the moon. From the bedroom window or the balcony, the sight of the ruddy globe clearing the treetops on full moon days always lifts my mood. Each evening after, the moonrise is later and later, and soon I forget to watch out for it.

Over the last fortnight though, I have seen the over-large seeming full moon and the waning moon both rise. When I go to bed late, I do see the gibbous moon putting in its appearance, but to wake up in the small hours and see the moon looking thinner each day is a new experience.

I never set much store by rites and rituals and holidays on the calendar; always thought them a waste of man-hours and misinterpreting what those rites marked- passing seasons and the need to prepare ahead for coming seasons.

I preferred always to watch out for other celestial events, rather. Eclipses, transits of Mercury across the disc of the Sun, meteor showers, comets crashing into gas giants… these are far more interesting. I was enthralled by the last total solar eclipse visible in India, disappointed by Halley's comet, and fascinated by the coppery hue of the moon during a total lunar eclipse. I remember being appalled and flinging a book away when I realised the writer set a solar eclipse on a full moon day.

As I wake earlier and earlier these days and see the crescent moon over the treetops, I am seized by a whim. There is one rare phenomenon of the moon- sighting the thin crescent on new moon day. I'd like to see that. There is a name for this crescent of moon that appears on new moon day, just before sunrise or during sunset. It is called sineevaali.

But it is easier said than done. The predawn hours that have been clear for the last week or so turned overcast today, the last day of the waning moon. There is no point trying to spot the crescent in the evening, I don't have a good western view, the city lights make it impossible anyway. Even in the mornings, it is only chance that allows me to look for the moon in the early hours. Had the KMC placed their street lamps on slightly different spots, the glare would have drowned out the delicate fading out of night and fading in of dawn.

Tomorrow, Monday the fifth, is new moon day. It is the day when the Times Bank Holiday Jumbo puzzles will come out, and the Guardian Genius. According to my Telugu calendar, the star that rises with the moon is bharani, the star I was born under. To see the crescent moon at dawn tomorrow would be a perfect foil to all these.

It is also our anniversary. Whether I spot the crescent moon or not, happy twenty-fifth, Kalyan.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow - 25 years - Happy anniversary & hope you see that crescent. I usually don't see any dawn & prefer not to - so I will never aspire to witness this phenomenon.

7:39 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Wow, that sure is some milestone, lady!

Heres to more such- moons, anniversaries and milestones- and health and happiness too.

Hang on, it is the testing times, the dark nights which lead to better stuff.

With hopes that your recent pain and suffering would wane and your joys wax like the gibbous one, lots of best wishes,

10:52 am  
Blogger anantha said...

Best wishes :)

The moon is a brilliant sight, regardless of where it is in its cycle. One hopes the sight of the new moon will bring with it happiness and a good year ahead.

Finally, about your anniversary, firsone would normally aspire to celebrate such events in one's life too, but for that, it appears that one should be married. So shall take one step at a time and get hitched first. Too many jokes are being cracked about wilting flowers and no, not in a U/A rating way.

8:21 pm  
Blogger dipali said...

Oh- is that why you were out and about yesterday morning?
Happy anniversary to two wonderful people I've been fortunate enough to know.
Keep well and pain free, Lali dear.

6:34 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Anniversary Lali, hope you had seen the sineevali! Tivi doesnot know what is it she is missing by not getting up at that particular hour where we both are up! next time I am there, we will celebrate- kavita

7:31 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a lovely post, particularly charming to a fellow star-gazer.
Happy anniversary!

4:10 pm  
Blogger Lalita said...

Tivi- Thanks. You could try watching out for the evening version of it, or the famous green flash.

Anon- Thank you. That was a beautiful way of phrasing your good wishes. I loved it.

Anantha- Umm. The date is not a wedding anniversary, that came later. First you find the person et cetera, so on and so forth. :-)

Dipali- Thank you. You are a kind lady.

Kavi- Alas, I didn't see the crescent, but there is always next year, no?

Kamini- Thank you.

10:51 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow 25 years. Happy anniversary to both of you

12:47 pm  
Blogger Guruprasad said...

hi lalitha,

i have been playing hooky and not checking posts. came back to find this one and the one after this.... loved them both!

happy anniversary! and i hope you don't see the crescent moon for a long long time. maybe another 25 years? :)

10:02 am  

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