Last night was exceptionally calm. I was standing in the lawn as I listened to my surrounding. All I hear was silence. The wind was quiet, the trees stood still. I could feel the heat touching my cheeks even though it was late at night. The sky was so clear I could see my favorite stars – The Big Dipper. I was reminded to the future – a date not known and unlikely anticipated but coming all the same.
“By the sky containing great stars. And (by) the promised day. And (by) the witnessed and what is witnessed.”
[Surah al-Buruj 85: 1 -3]
There is something similar about rain, the sky and the sun to me, apart from their beautiful creation – they brought childhood memories to me. I used to read astronomy when I was 10 to 12 (thanks to my Mom who rarely rejected my requests when it comes to books).
My imagination ran wild when I think of the skies. I’ve forgotten of what I thought about when I look at those illustrations of star, the sun, pulsars, black holes, neutrons,white dwarfs etc. When I re-read those books in recent years, I wondered ‘What exactly did I understand from those when I was little?’ because I read them so diligently like I read comics and watch cartoons. I used to sleep with those books and dreamed of those cosmic objects.
Then, there comes my childhood resolutions – I wanted to be an astronaut. Thus, names like Neil Armstrong, Yuri Gagarin, Valentina Tereshkova protruded my childhood vocabulary. (And now I realized why I was termed ‘weird’ when I was young =P).
But later, when I learned about the trainings (read: sufferings) astronauts have to go through before the rocket-launch and the long queue before they can actually go to space, I changed my mind. I resolved, “I don’t really want to go outer space. I just want to investigate those beautiful creations out there” and decided that I was contented with being an astronomer. <—— Reminder: Assume this story from a 11-year-old point of view.
As I read about astronomy, space, stars and all and surveyed my future university, I came to find there was no course with the word or phrase equivalent to astronomy and its kind in Malaysia. Thus I dug more and found an alternative – physics! And so there came the answer “physicist” every time anyone asked about my ambition. <——- Another reminder: …this time, I was 12.
My high schools witnessed the vague period of resolutions not renewed, consisting of a few years of loving numbers, hating memorized facts, sleeping in classes, skipping classes and enhancing irrelevant skills. The consciousness finally came back when I finally had to decide where I want to go after my SPM (Malaysian High School Certificate) and I was like “OMG!” but stayed calm, steady and nonchalant all the same. I just went with the flow and finally settled down at UTM for my Maths degree.
Maths was my second choice and my first choice was Physics (obviously). I was not so enthusiastic at start. I loved numbers, yes (in fact, I still do). But I was determined that I can get as close to astronomy as possible via Physics. Then, I fell in love with Maths and so grateful till now. I realized recently that I can still pursue my childhood dream when I talked to a friend about his research. It’s a long way down, but it’s still related, anyway.
I’m happy for this possibility – as happy as when I stumbled upon the story about Cat’s Eye nebula in kalamULLAH:
Like all things beautiful, perfect and joyful, we must work for it. Things don’t just come our way in a blink of eye. But this happiness of an opened possibility, I want to share. Never stop dreaming!
Aurora ~ Oh, I can stare at the sky a whole day!
P/s: I’m reminded of an unfulfilled childhood birthday wish ~ a telescope!=)