Science: The ozone hole that forms each year in the stratosphere over Antarctica was slightly smaller in 2013
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Planets rich in carbon, including so-called diamond planets, may lack oceans, according to NASA-funded
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The group progressed further. This is the police line. All the constables do their drill here. The poor chaps have
to patrol their areas of jurisdiction all through the night to prevent thefts.
Now, our group of rustics entered a densely-populated locality. Other groups of people could be seen walking towards
the "idgah". People were attired in their colourful best; some were travelling in horse carriages, some in motor cars;
sweet scent of essence filled the air; everyone was in a jubilant mood. Our little group of villagers walked along
contentedly, indifferent to their own poverty. The city was something exotic for the boys; they could not shift their
gaze from its many charms. The cars honked their horns from behind, but the boys were deaf to the sounds. Hamid nearly
came under a car but moved aside just in time.
Suddenly the Idgah appeared before them. A dense growth of tamarind trees provided shade, and the floor was covered
with carpets. There was an unending stream of faithfuls, and more and more of them arrived and stood at the farthest
end where there were no carpets even. Here, wealth and position meant little. Everyone was equal. Our
villagers occupied their places in the last row. Everything was well managed; it was a lovely sight to see lakhs
of heads bow down in reverence, and then stand up again in unison. Everyone bent down as a single man and sat on their
knees. The process is repeated several times; it is like witnessing lakhs and lakhs of electric lamps being lighted
at the same instant and, then, put off all at once; the ritual continues. It is a beautiful sight to behold; the
collective action, and its infinite spread fills the heart with faith and pride. It is as if everyone is bound by a
common thread of brotherhood.
The prayers were over, and people embraced one another. There would now be a rush to the sweet and toy shops. Our
group of villagers is as eager as the children. There's the giant wheel, let's take a ride after paying one paisa.
One moment you feel you are rising to the sky, and the very next moment you get the feeling of dropping to the ground.
This is the merry-go-round, there are wooden elephants, horses and camels hanging from supports overhead. Pay one
paisa, sit on the wooden animals, and you can enjoy 25 circular rides. Mahmood, Mohsin, Nooray and Sammi grab the animals
of their choice. Hamid stands at a distance; he has only three paise. He cannot spend a third of his treasure just on a
The boys alighted from the merry-go-round; now they will buy toys. There are big queues in front of the toy shops.
There are a variety of toys - there is a policeman, water-man, king, lawyer, washer-woman and an ascetic. Wow! Such
lovely toys! They look so real, and seem to want to talk to you. Mahmood bought a policeman in khaki uniform, a red
turban and a rifle slung across his shoulders. The policeman, it seemed, was getting ready to march in a parade.
Mohsin liked the water-man. The water-man, bent with the weight of the water bag, looked quite happy. He was, perhaps,
singing some song. He wanted to empty the water bag as soon as he could! Nooray took a fancy for the lawyer - there was
a look of intelligence on the lawyer's face. The lawyer looked quite impressive in his black coat, a white shirt
underneath that had a watch in the pocket, gold chain, and a heavy law volume in one hand. It seemed as if he was going
to the courtroom to argue a case. These were toys worth two paise each. Hamid has only three paise; how can he purchase
such expensive toys? If the toy slips from the hands and falls to the ground, it will be shattered to pieces; if it
gets wet by mistake all the colour will come off. Of what use are such toys?
Mohsin says, "My water-man will deliver water to you every morning and evening."
Mahmood: My soldier will keep guard, and will shoot down any thief with his rifle.
Sammi: My washer-woman will wash my clothes every day.
Some useful links for
- Union Public Service Commission - www.upsc.gov.in
- IIT-Kharagpur - www.iitkgp.ac.in
- Indian Statistical Institute - www.isical.ac.in
- Indian Institute of Technology Madras - www.iitm.ac.in
- Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - www.iimahd.ernet.in
- Indian Institute of Mass Commission - www.iimc.nic.in
- IIT Bombay - www.iitb.ac.in
- Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad - www.ismdhanbad.ac.in
- Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi - www.bitmesra.ac.in
- Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training - www.cifnet.nic.in
- Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad (Deemed University) - www.iiita.ac.in
- Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi - www.cmfri.com
- Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai - www.tiss.edu