THE CHIRP THAT WENT MISSING

The sparrow that is twittering on the edge of my balcony is calling up to me this moment a world of memories that reach over half my lifetime, and a world of hope that stretches farther than any flight of sparrows.

Donald G. Mitchell

No, it’s not about Jack Sparrow. However wonderfully the character was played by Johnny Depp, this is about a sparrow that’s infinitely more important- the common house sparrow which is, alas, no longer common. The ‘Chirp! Chirp!’ of a sparrow used to be an omnipresent sound. Now, however, it has been silenced.

Our friendly neighbours

Sparrows are a family of small passerine birds, Passeridae. They are primarily seed-eaters, though small insects also form a part of their diet. Small, plump, brown-grey birds with short tails and stubby, powerful beaks, they are physically similar to finches. Sparrows are generally birds of open habitats, including grasslands, deserts, and scrubland. Generally social birds, many species of sparrows breed in loose colonies and most species occur in flocks during the non-breeding season.

We killed them

Sparrows used to be the most widely distributed species in the world. They are indigenous to Europe, Africa and Asia. In the Americas, Australia, and other parts of the world, settlers imported some species which quickly naturalised, particularly in urban and degraded areas. Now, however, they are disappearing- and quickly. They have just about vanished from India. In the Netherlands, they are an endangered species. And a similar situation exists in the Czech Republic, Italy, Germany, France and Finland.

The reasons are aplenty. The rapid urbanization and population increase has led to clustered cities with high rise buildings which do not provide enough shelter for the birds. The lack of trees and greenery of any sort gives them no place for nests. The use of pesticides in farming has made crops poisonous for them. With no seeds or grains in sight, the seed-eaters have been robbed of their food. The ever-ringing cell phones which can drive crazy any sane individual prove fatal for the sparrows. Electromagnetic radiation from mobile phone towers are a major reason for the decrease in the sparrow population. The lack of clean air in the cities is no less dangerous. The factors keep building up and the sparrow numbers keep declining.

It is time we woke up from our inconsiderate slumber. When was the last time you saw a sparrow? Not in the near past. What about the near future? Or any future at all? Do you not want them to return- for the chirp to come back? What is appalling is a species which is known to coexist with humans has been driven to near extinction in a matter of a few years. It shows the extent to which human activities have been damaging the planet. If this doesn’t stop, other species will follow. The World Sparrow Day is observed on 20 March to face this reality. It is time to step up! There is no time to lose. Building nest boxes and bird baths may seem insignificant, but they make a difference! Decrease your carbon footprint. Grow more trees. Make the air a little bit cleaner. Go on. Do your bit. We owe it to our feathered friends. Rise for the sparrow!

House the Sparrow

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THE FRUIT THAT MAKES HISTORY

Apple

If you were asked to think of a fruit, which is the first one that comes to your mind? Most likely the apple. Mankind’s fascination with apples is itself fascinating. From naming companies to writing phrases, it is indeed the ‘apple of our eyes’. Not for nothing did Henry David Thoreau say, “It is remarkable how closely the history of the apple tree is connected with that of man.”

A Costly Apple

Three apples changed the history of the earth- Adam’s apple, Newton’s apple and Steve Jobs’ apple. There are many who wish it was a pumpkin that fell on Newton instead. And what made Steve Jobs name his company after the fruit, only he knows. As for Adam, Chuck Palahniuk has the answer, or rather the question. “Did perpetual happiness in the Garden of Eden maybe get so boring that eating the apple was justified?” Many other apples too have had their share of history and myth. In Norse mythology for instance, the goddess Iðunn, in the Prose Edda (written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson), provides apples to the gods that give them eternal youthfulness. A historical fruit, if ever there was one.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a typical apple serving weighs 242 grams and contains 126 calories with significant dietary fiber and vitamin C content. Research suggests that apples may reduce the risk of colon cancer, prostate cancer and lung cancer. So an apple a day might keep the doctor away. But apples can cause trouble. Atalanta, of Greek mythology, raced all her suitors in an attempt to avoid marriage. She outran all but Hippomenes (also known as Melanion, a name possibly derived from melon the Greek word for both “apple” and fruit in general). Hippomenes knew that he could not win in a fair race, so he used three golden apples (gifts of Aphrodite, the goddess of love) to distract Atalanta. It took all three apples and all of his speed, but Hippomenes was finally successful, winning the race and Atalanta’s hand.

Forbidden Fruit

Did you also know that apples had a hand in the war of Troy? The Greek goddess of discord, Eris, became disgruntled after she was excluded from the wedding of Peleus and Thetis. In retaliation, she tossed a golden apple inscribed Kalliste- ‘For the most beautiful one’), into the wedding party. Three goddesses claimed the apple: Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite. Paris of Troy was appointed to select the recipient. After being bribed by both Hera and Athena, Aphrodite tempted him with the most beautiful woman in the world, Helen of Sparta. He awarded the apple to Aphrodite, thus indirectly causing the Trojan War. And who can forget the forbidden fruit from the Garden of Eden? Though the Book of Genesis does not specifically name the fruit, popular Christian tradition has held that it was an apple that Eve coaxed Adam to share with her. A ‘bad apple’ indeed! On a less mythical note, the seeds of apples contain small amounts of amygdalin, a sugar and cyanide compound known as a cyanogenic glycoside. Ingesting small amounts of apple seeds will cause no ill effects, but in extremely large doses can cause adverse reactions. Nature’s own cyanide poison?

Fruit for Thought

The apple seems to be the favourite of both nature and humans. But there are indeed some individuals who prefer other fruits. Like Demetri Martin who says- “My favorite fruit is grapes. Because with grapes, you always get another chance. ‘Cause, you know, if you have a crappy apple or a peach, you’re stuck with that crappy piece of fruit. But if you have a crappy grape, no problem - just move on to the next. ‘Grapes: The Fruit of Hope.’” He may have a point there. And yet, it is always ‘A for Apple’- never ant, antelope or aeroplane. Nothing takes the apple’s place! Perhaps it is, as author Dan Brown says in his book the Da Vinci Code, the ‘sacred orb from heaven’.

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DREAMS

Dreams are the touchstones of our character.

-Henry David Thoreau

Dreams are something that unites all of mankind. We all have dreams- sweet dreams, bad dreams, nightmares and even daydreams. How many times have we wondered about the meaning of a dream? Or why we had the dream… or why we have any dream at all. What is the reason, purpose and meaning of them? Baffled by these same questions, scientists have for long tried to find the answers, with little success- if any at all.

Wikipedia defines them simply as “successions of images, ideas, emotions and sensations that occur involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep.” They occur during the stage of sleep called Rapid Eye Movement (REM) when brain activity is high and resembles that of being awake. They may be over in the matter of seconds or stretch on for 20 minutes. Frightening, exciting, magical, melancholic, adventurous- dreams are of varying natures. And with the exception of lucid dreaming, they are generally outside the control of the dreamer.

Dreams have been known to be the inspiration for many creations and discoveries. The riddle of the structure of benzene was solved when August Kekule saw a vision of a snake biting its own tail. Fortune favours the worthy though. Not many of would have bothered about what a snake in a dream was trying to tell us. The Twilight series and Frankenstein are the products of wondrous dreams as well. Movies like Stuart Little and the Terminator have the same source of inspiration. These stories make us think- perhaps we should take our dreams a little bit more seriously.

Perhaps the best creation involving dreams was Christopher Nolan’s movie “The Inception”. With concepts like dreams within dreams and the art of inception itself (which involves planting an idea into someone’s mind while they are asleep), it is one of the most complex plots ever created. Interestingly, Leonardo DiCaprio, who played the movie’s main character, Dom Cobb, also had lucid dreams before starring in the movie. Visions of future or hands of fate?

Various theories have come up about dreams. One theory suggests that dreams are the result of our brains trying to interpret external stimuli during sleep. For example, the sound of the radio (or your mother’s shouts) may be incorporated into the content of a dream . Another theory uses a computer metaphor to account for dreams. According to this theory, dreams serve to ‘clean up’ clutter from the mind, much like clean-up operations in a computer, refreshing the mind to prepare for the next day. Yet another model proposes that dreams function as a form of psychotherapy. In this theory, the dreamer is able to make connections between different thoughts and emotions in a safe environment. What, then, is the right answer? A mix of all these? Or something entirely different?

Someday we will find out. Or we may not. Dreams, however, will continue. As will the stories of inspirations we get from them. The true meaning of dreams in our lives is something that science cannot answer. How dreams affect our lives- we alone can decide. And how our lives, in turn, affect our dreams, no one can say. Perhaps we should stop grappling at an answer that’s like a wisp of smoke- beyond our grasp. Or maybe we are asking the wrong questions. What, indeed, is the stuff that dreams are made of? Dream on!

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

-Eleanor Roosevelt

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A PIXELATED UNIVERSE- ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY

Terrestrial photography may provide a wide scope- from the tallest mountains to the tiniest organisms. But to be truly limitless, one has to go beyond the planet. Astrophotography involves recording images of astronomical images and large areas of the night sky. Not surprisingly, the first celestial body to be photographed was the moon in 1840. But it’s not just the Sun, moon and the planets that are captured. Astrophotography can make objects invisible to the human eye visible such as dim stars, galaxies and nebulae. Apart from scientific research, it’s also used in amateur astronomy for aesthetically appealing images and as a hobby.

Making the invisible visible

Astronomical photography has diversified into sub disciplines that include star cartography, astrometry, stellar classification and the discovery of astronomical objects such as asteroids, meteors, comets and even exoplanets (planets outside our solar system). In 2009, an analysis of images dating back to 2003 revealed a planet orbiting Beta Pictoris. And in 2012, a “Super-Jupiter” planet orbiting Kappa Andromedae was directly imaged using the Subaru Telescope in Hawaii.It orbits its parent star at a distance of about 55 astronomical units, or nearly twice the distance of Neptune to the sun.

Finding the Unknown

Remote Telescope astrophotography is a means for amateur astronomers not aligned with major telescope facilities to partake in research and deep sky imaging. It enables the imager to control a telescope a large distance away in a dark location. The observers can image through the telescopes using CCD (Charge-coupled Device) cameras. Imaging can be done regardless of the location of the user or the telescopes they wish to use. The digital data collected by the telescope is then transmitted and displayed to the user by means of the Internet. The Bareket Observatory is one such example.

In 2009, Yale University announced that astronomers from around the world helped scientists discover a group of rare galaxies called the “Green Peas” in a project called Galaxy Zoo. Volunteers and amateur astronomers helped classify galaxies by sifting through an online database of images. The project was launched in 2007 by a team of astronomers in the U.K. and involved about 230,000 volunteers from around the world. Galaxy Zoo volunteers identified a number of unusual galaxies which were named “Green Peas” because of their small size and bright green colour. According to a press release from Yale, the galaxies, though 10 times smaller than the Milky Way galaxy and 100 times less massive, are forming stars 10 times faster than our galaxy.

So it’s not just astronomers and scientists who take to astrophotography. Amateurs can prove their worth as well. Images such as star-trails can be taken with minimal equipment. But it’s a tough task and requires an infinite amount of patience. Yet, if astrophotographers are to be believed, it’s completely worth it. Images from the Hubble Space Telescope, spectacular though they are, do not include personal experience. Its one thing to download images of Saturn’s wings from the internet and quite another to click them yourself. So get your telescope and camera, and start clicking! A pixelated universe is yours!

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TOP 10 FANTASIES IN HARRY POTTER SERIES

The Boy who Lived

The Harry Potter series consists of 7 best-selling novels by author J.K. Rowling. In this series, Rowling has created a world filled with the most unique and amazing fantasies- dark and light. Filled with magical beasts, birds, mirrors and everything else; this is among the most popular fantasy series ever written. Here are 10 of the best creations of this series:

10. Owl Post

We have heard of pigeons delivering letters. Even eagles and kites. But owls? That’s something new! Imagine waking up in the morning to have your post delivered by a parliament of owls. Snowy owl, barn owl, screech owl; anything will do! And they are fast as well. Imagine having a pet like Hedwig!

9. The Marauder’s Map

Prankster’s Delight

This might look like an empty piece of parchment at first glance, but speak the words ‘I solemnly swear I’m up to no good” and watch it reveal a full map of the Hogwarts castle along with people in it! Animagus disguises, Polyjuice Potion and Invisibility Cloaks cannot fool this map. This amazing map was created by James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew while they were students at Hogwarts.

8. Polyjuice Potion

A draught of this potion allows you to take the form of any person. Just add their essence. That’s some way of impersonating! Kills the need for disguises. Sherlock Holmes would be glad. Don’t use this for animal transformations though. It can cause nasty complications (as Hermione Granger discover to disastrous effect in The Chamber of Secrets).

7. Boggarts

There is one creature that can impersonate anyone (even creatures) without the Polyjuice Potion. That’s the Boggart. Shape-shifting creatures, they take the form of what the person before it fears the most. Wicked! No one knows what a Boggart looks like when it’s alone. Muggles can see them too! Beware.

6. Felix Felicis

Liquid Luck

This golden potion is the dream of everyone. Also called ‘liquid luck’, it makes the drinker lucky for a period of time during which everything he attempts will be successful. It’s highly toxic in large quantities though and its use is banned in all organized competitions like Quidditch. Guess their world has doping scandals too!

5. Quidditch

Undoubtedly the best sport ever created (albeit imaginary), it is played on flying broomsticks. The 2 teams consist of 7 players each (3 chasers, 2 beaters, 1 keeper and 1 seeker). This rough, fast-paced game has one catch. It goes on indefinitely until a seeker successfully catches the Golden Snitch. The longest game, according to Quidditch Through the Ages lasted 3 months. And we curse test matches!

4. The Mirror of Erised

‘Erised’ spelled backwards is ‘desire’. And that tells you what the mirror does. It shows people the innermost desire of their heart. The Mirror of Erised was the final protection given to the Philosopher’s Stone in the Philosopher’s Stone. Only a person who wanted to find but not use the Stone would be able to obtain it. You are the happiest person on the planet if you can see yourself in the mirror just the way you are.

(More about magical mirrors here)

3. Pensieve

Sieve for Thoughts

To quote Albus Dumbledore, “I use the Pensieve. One simply siphons the excess thoughts from one’s mind, pours them into the basin, and examines them at one’s leisure. It becomes easier to spot patterns and links, you understand, when they are in this form.” It acts as a ‘sieve’ for your excess thoughts. Useful during examinations, don’t you think?

2. Dementors

Feeds on Happiness

 

In the Prisoner of Azkaban, Remus Lupin calls them ‘among the foulest creatures that walk this earth’. And rightly so. Dementors are dark creatures. They feed off human happiness, and thus cause depression and despair to anyone near them (a living analogue of exams). They can also consume a person’s soul (called a ‘Dementor’s Kiss’), leaving their victims in a permanent vegetative state, and thus are often referred to as “soul-sucking fiends” and are known to leave a person as an ‘empty-shell’.

 

1. The Room of Requirement

A place of your dreams

This room beats all places on the planet. In Dobby, the house-elf’s words, “It is a room that a person can only enter when they have real need of it. Sometimes it is there, and sometimes it is not, but when it appears, it is always equipped for the seeker’s needs” It cannot create food though, as that is one of the five Principal Exceptions to Gamp’s Law of Elemental Transfiguration. So don’t expect 5-star hotels. Still, a room to die for!

There are others that almost made the list- the Hand of Glory, thestrals, remembralls, omniculars and howlers. Not to forget the Sorting Hat. Create your own list! The magical world of Harry Potter is yours to explore! If only we lived there (albeit as muggles). Sigh!

To read more about fantasy literature, click here

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FANTASY LITERATURE PART 2- THE BEASTS AND THE BIRDS

If magical mirrors bring spookiness to fantasy literature, it’s the beasts and birds that bring life to it. From centaurs to dragons, satyrs to unicorns, the A-Z of magical creatures is illustrious. Humans have revelled in creating creatures with powers that we only wish we had ourselves. From breathing fire to raining coins, there is no limit to what beasts and birds can do in our literature.

Symbol of Grace

Dragons are the eternal favourites. There is no magical beast that occurs more widely in fantasy literature. Gigantic reptiles with wings, scales and talons, dragons are the picture of power, strength and virility. Unicorns are no less. These single-horned white animals have the head, body, and tail of a horse and the hind legs of an antelope. Swift and beautiful, they are the symbols of purity and grace. Kappas are different. These water demons look like a green monkey but with a turtle shell.  They delight in drowning people, especially children! Fantasy has produced some interesting hybrids. A sphinx is a creature with a lion’s body and a man’s head (think pyramids). Satyrs are men with the legs of goats, and sometimes have the tail and ears of a horse or donkey. Chimaeras beat them all. They are frightening creatures with the front of a lion, the middle of a goat, the rear of a dragon, and the heads of all three creatures. The Chimaera is capable of breathing fire from its mouths, and its breath is like the fumes in a volcano. Keep safe distance!

Wings of Fire!

Coming to the birds, there’s nothing like the phoenix. This magnificent bird lives for thousands of years, then jumps into flames and is reborn from the ashes. The symbol of resurrection! The ziz is a giant bird that came from the chaos at the beginning of time. Its wingspan eclipses the sun. A raicho is a majestic bird that can mimic the sound of thunder!

Cockatrice and cock of dawn, daemons and demons, fauns and fauths and ogs and orcs; the pool of magical creatures is immense! There is no limit to imagination. And hence, no limits to what these creatures can do. Let the magical fauna amaze you!

For another aspect of fantasy literature, click here!

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FANTASY LITERATURE PART 1- MAGICAL MIRRORS

“Mirror, mirror, on the wall!

Who’s the fairest of them all?”

Mirrors have been an eternal part of fantasy literature. Their spooky other-worldliness and eerie beauty have caused many fantasies and superstitions to arise about them.  From C.S. Lewis to J.K. Rowling, generations of authors have feasted upon the wide scope for imagination they provide.  It is no doubt justified, hence, to start this series on fantasy literature with some memorable magical mirrors in literature.

Mirrors, mirrors, magical all! Who’s the most famous of them all? Undoubtedly, the silver mirror of Snow White. Both the mirror that showed the queen the fairest face in the land and the epic lines by the Brothers Grimm will remain etched in our memories. In Through the Looking Glass by C.S. Lewis, Alice steps through a mirror into an alternate world. This is one of the best-loved uses of mirrors in literature. The text itself utilizes a narrative that mirrors that of its predecessor, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The “Mirror of Galadriel” in The Lord of the Rings can show the one who dares look upon it, his past, present or future! In Oscar Wilde’s novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray , a portrait serves as a magical mirror that reflects the true visage of the perpetually youthful protagonist, as well as the effect on his soul of each sinful act. There is an ancient story of Narcissus, who fell in love with and pined for his own reflection in a pool of water. Alfred Lord Tennyson, in his poem The Lady of Shalott, writes of a mirror that enables a character to look out on the people of Camelot, as she is under a curse that prevents her from seeing Camelot directly. J.K. Rowling has used magical mirrors in plentiful in her Harry Potter series. The “Mirror of Erised” is a classic example that’ll be remembered for a long time. It shows the person who looks upon it the innermost desires of his heart. Dumbledore, the ever-surprising man, remarks that he sees himself wearing a warm pair of socks! The series also has two way mirrors which consist of a pair of mirrors which allow their bearers to always see each other. Any place. Any time. Convenient!

Magic aside, mirrors also have an element of spookiness about them. In ancient Chinese mythology, there’s the story of the Mirror Kingdom, where creatures are bound by magic to sleep but will one day rise again to do battle with our world. Strange movements we see in mirrors out of the corners of our eyes are supposedly the first stirrings of this world as it wakes up. Mirrors are often connected to souls. Vampires, being soulless, show no reflection in a mirror (That’s how you identify them!). It is said that mirrors can trap dying souls. If you go to a mirror on New Year’s Eve with a candle in your hand and call out the name of a dead person in a loud voice, the power of the mirror will show you that person’s face. Spooky? Mirrors are more than mere reflectors of light!

 

To read about non-magical mirrors, click here!

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INTERCONNECTIVITY OF LIFE SYSTEMS

Bio entanglement Physics- or theory (BET) is the subject that deals with the interconnectivity of life systems (remember Vittoria Vetra in Angels and Demons?). It is, in a nutshell, the desire to prove conscious inter-connectedness. It is a field that has implications on a large scale. From minute particles to schools of fish to the earth itself.

BET has its roots in the Quantum Field Theory. QFT says that if you move a particle on one side of the universe, its tied-pair-partner will mirror that movement on the other side; at the same time. Sounds impossible? Einstein thought so too (pops up everywhere, doesn’t he?). He had established, in the Theory of Relativity that nothing travels faster than light. QFT though implies that information, regardless of size or length, can travel any distance instantly. So he, along with two other well known scientists set out to disprove it. Unfortunately for him, they ended up proving it instead!

Proof for this theory exists everywhere. Fish in a school change direction at the same time with precise coordination (much unlike us).  These actions happen much faster than bio-electric pathways would allow. So there must exist a link between living beings. This is what BET attempts to prove. The effects go much beyond schools of fish. It has been observed that during events when human emotions are aligned on a larger scale than normal (like 9/11 and the tsunami), the frequency of the Earth’s vibration itself changes! This means we can move the world with our thoughts. Quite literally! These are observations that baffle physicists the world over. Nature it seems has a few tricks physicists don’t. The implications are amazing! Think of what you can do! Alone, not much. But together we can shake the foundations of the earth. Science proves it! Anything is possible when we stand together!

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ABOUT PLANETS AND MOONS

Where would you go for a dream vacation? Paris? London? Or to some exotic location in Africa? How about something different? Something out of the world. Quite literally. How about…a celestial vacation? Forget about new cities, countries or even continents. Think of new planets, and while you are there, new moons (natural satellites, to be precise). Let me list out some of your choices.

Another blue planet!

A planet is an astronomical object orbiting a star or stellar remnant that has cleared its neighbouring region of planetesimals. It is massive enough to be rounded by its own gravity but not enough to cause thermonuclear fusion. ‘Planet’ comes from the Ancient Greek word for ‘wanderer’. So let’s go wandering about the wanderers. First come the terrestrial planets. Planets that are similar to Earth, with bodies largely composed of rock: Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. Second, the gas planets (or Jovians). Planets largely composed of gaseous material and significantly more massive than terrestrials: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune. They may not be ideal vacation spots though. They present the problem of standing on gas. Also, the IAU (International Astronomical Union) accepts five dwarf planets: Ceres, Pluto, Haumea, Makemake and Eris. These could be ‘small-town’ get-aways. Or if you are the rebellious type, rogue planets are the thing for you. They are objects found roaming in deep space. Not found your pick? Not to fret. The moons are waiting.

Fiery moon!

The Solar System’s planets and officially recognised dwarf planets are known to be orbited by 180 natural satellites, or moons. Let’s look at the interesting ones. If you are the horror movie type, the twin moons of Mars, Phobos (meaning ‘fear’) and Deimos (meaning ‘dread’) are the ones for you. Or it could be Charon, the largest moon of Pluto. It is named after the ferryman who took souls across the River Styx. And yes, Styx is a moon too (Pluto again). If you are a Shakespeare fan, there are Juliet, Cupid and Miranda (many moons of Uranus are named after Shakespearean characters). Or there’s the fire and ice combo of Jupiter. Europa, with its surface covered with ice and Io with its active volcanoes. Take your pick! Still no? You still have Calypso, Callisto, Hyperion, Hydra and many many more. Do Pandora and Prometheus ring a bell? Go on. Explore the universe beyond!

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WORMHOLES AND PARALLEL UNIVERSES

Science is stranger than fiction. It abounds with theories which seem impossible to regular minds like you and me. Ever imagined a world where NIT is better than IIT? Where India is free of corruption? Where the US doesn’t play big brother? Where the sun rises in the west and penguins live on the North Pole? Think parallel universes.

The multiverse (or meta-universe) is the hypothetical set of infinite or finite possible universes that together comprise everything that exists and can exist: the entirety of space, time, matter and energy as well as the physical laws and constants that describe them. Multiple universes have been hypothesized in cosmology, physics, astronomy, religion, philosophy, transpersonal psychology and fiction. In these contexts, parallel universes are also called “alternate universes”, “quantum universes”, “parallel dimensions” and “alternate realities” among others. Suppose a die containing six sides is thrown. All six possible ways the die can fall correspond to six different universes. So maybe in an alternate universe Lionel Messi is Indian. But maybe in another, Sachin Tendulkar is Pakistani. OMG!

Done with these universes? Up for time travel?  Simple. Just find a wormhole. Yes, seriously. A wormhole. Not your average hole though. An Einstein-Rosen bridge. It is a hypothetical topological feature of space-time that would be, fundamentally, a “shortcut” through space-time. Consider space-time visualized as a two-dimensional (2D) surface (a sheet of paper for example). If this surface is folded along a third dimension, it allows one to picture a wormhole “bridge”. A wormhole is, in theory, much like a tunnel with two ends, each in separate points in space-time. There is no observational evidence for wormholes, but the theory of relativity proves its existence theoretically. So you wish to see Sachin make his debut? Or hear Martin Luther King deliver his epic speech? Or if you are a sadist, watch Hitler carry out the Holocaust? Just cross a wormhole bridge. Before you pack your bags though, one problem. The speed barrier. You need to travel at the speed of light. So if you can tweak your Ferrari a bit to travel at 300000000 m/s, then very well. Off you go! Happy Journey! (At your own risk. Didn’t I tell you? Wormhole bridges can collapse too)

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