Rahul saw Vikram Lander reach close to the Moon on television.
Vikram Lander had been sent to look for water on the Moon. After hearing this news, Rahul went straight to his dadi and said, “Dadi! The story you had told me about the Moon is not true.”
Dadi did not understand what Rahul was saying. “Rahul, what story are you talking about?” she asked.
“Dadi, you had told me that the Sun and the Moon were brother and sister.”
“Yes,” said dadi. “And why do you say it’s not true?”
“But, dadi, how can they be brother and sister?” asked Rahul.
“They live far away from one another.”
“You mean to say that by staying far away, there is no relationship between brother and sister?” asked dadi.
“My brother lives 900 kilometres away from here in Mysore. It has been a long time since I met him. So, is he not still my brother?”
Rahul did not have a reply to this question. He was confused if he should accept the Sun and the Moon as brother and sister. He looked towards dadi questioningly.
To clarify, dadi prompted him, “Rahul, tell me, who are called siblings?”
Hearing this Rahul laughed. “Oh, dadi, that is very simple,” he came and sat near her. “Boys and girls who are born of the same parents are called brothers and sisters.”
“Do you know, the Sun and the Moon are born from the same universe? That’s why they became brother and sister. We consider the Earth to be the mother, so what is the harm in considering her children as brother and sister.”
“But why?” asked Rahul.
“The children serve their parents who look after their children during their childhood, is it correct or incorrect?” asked dadi.
“Yes, correct,” replied Rahul.
“Then tell me, what will happen if the Sun stops rising?”
“There will be no day.”
“Is that all?”
“Yes, that is all I know,” said Rahul.
“Oh no!” said dadi, “It is not so. If the Sun stops rising, then the plants and trees cannot grow. There will be no fruits and flowers. It is so because the plants prepare their food from the Sun’s rays. In the presence of the Sun, they release oxygen into the atmosphere. If the Sun’s rays are not received, then there will be no plants and trees.”
“And if there are no plants and trees, what will we eat then?
This is what you want to say, isn’t it, dadi?” Rahul interrupted her.
“Yes, that’s right!”
“But, dadi, tell me, you are saying that the Sun and the Moon are brother and sister, and they play hide and seek every day? How is this correct?” asked Rahul.
“You must have seen the Moon rising at night. Some days, it rises early and some days late. Some days, it is small and some days it is whole. All these are its art, which we call Moon-art,” said dadi and Rahul nodded his head.
“The Moon revolves around the Earth, right?”
“Yes, dadi,” said Rahul, “And the Earth revolves around the Sun.”
“Yes. And because of this revolution, the rays of the Sun sometimes fall fully on the Moon and sometimes only partially. The Moon revolves around the Earth and the Earth around the Sun. Because of this, sometimes the Moon comes completely in front of the Sun and sometimes partly, and the other part is in darkness.”
“Yes, dadi. I understand this,” said Rahul. “But if they are brother and sister, shouldn’t they live, eat and drink together.”
“As you know that the Earth is a planet; and the Moon is a satellite. Planets revolve around the Sun. This means they are lifeless. Then, how will they eat or drink?”
“But you had said that the Sun and the Moon had quarrelled and in anger, they went far away to live separately; and they did not come in front of one another. Then their mother made them make a compromise and they sometimes come to meet one another. But I do not understand how they can come from so far to meet one another.”
“You are right,” said dadi. “There is a lot of distance between the Earth and the Sun.”
Rahul interrupted her, “Not just a lot, dadi, but 15 crore kilometres.”
“Actually, the distance is 1,496 lakh kilometres.”
“No, dadi. You are wrong,” said Rahul.
“My dear, you are also right and I am also right. You are saying 15 crore kilometres; when I am saying four lakh kilometres less, which is the accurate distance.”
“What?” Rahul could not believe her words.
“Yes. This is correct, you can say 14 crores 96 lakh kilometres, which is 4 lakh kilometres less than 15 crore kilometres that you are saying.”
“Oh, dadi! You also know so much about the Sun and the Moon,” said Rahul hugging her. “I had thought that my dadi knows nothing.”
“After all, whose dadi am I?” she said. “I also read like you.”
“But dadi, are the Sun and the Moon actually brother and sister?” Rahul still asked.
Dadi replied, “Oh, dear! They are brother and sister in your dadi’s story. A story is the gift of one’s imagination. Because of stories, we learn to stretch our minds to imagine. And sometimes, our imagination may become a reality.
Hearing this, they both laughed.
“Actually dadi, the Moon of your story is really very lovely,” said Rahul and he put his head on her lap. Dadi stroked his head lovingly to put him to sleep.