November 2013



Science: The ozone hole that forms each year in the stratosphere over Antarctica was slightly smaller in 2013 than average in recent decades, according to NASA satellite data. Read more ....

At least 441 new species of animals and plants have been discovered over a four-year period in the vast,under-explored rainforest of the Amazon, including a monkey that purrs like a cat. Read more ....

Life-threatening blood clots can form in anyone who sits on a plane for a long time, is confined to bed while recovering from surgery, or takes certain medications. Read more .....

Examination of the Martian atmosphere by NASA's Curiosity Mars rover confirms that some meteorites that have dropped to Earth really are from the Red Planet. Read more ....

Planets rich in carbon, including so-called diamond planets, may lack oceans, according to NASA-funded theoretical research. Read more ....




Idgah

Children at a fair

(This is a feeble translation of "Idgah", a story by Munshi Premchand. Much better translations are available)

After 30 days of fasting and prayers, Eid has finally arrived. It is such a beautiful morning. The trees appear to be much more greener than usual; there is an exceptional cheerfulness in the fields, and the sky is tinged with a reddish hue. Look at the sun today, it is so endearing and appears so cool as if greeting the world on Eid.

There is a bustle in the village; people are getting ready to go to the mosque. Some of them find that buttons are missing from their "kurtas (loose shirt)", and they are rushing to the neighbours to fetch needle and thread, and some others discover that their shoes have become hard owing to disuse and they have to run to the oil seller for oil to soften the footwear. There is a hurry to place fodder and water before the farm animals; it will be quite late in the afternoon before the villagers can return back to their homes from the "idgah". It is almost a seven-mile walk to the "idgah", and, besides, scores of friends had to be visited and greeted on the way. It would be impossible to return before afternoon.

Boys are the most happiest. Some of them had fasted only for a day, and that too only till afternoon. Many others had not observed the fast at all. But all of them were eager to go to the "idgah". Fasting was for the elders; for them, it was Eid. Every day they had awaited the arrival of Eid, and it has finally come. The boys are getting restless to go to the "idgah"; domestic affairs does not concern them. What do they care whether there were milk and sugar in the house to make "sevaiyya (a sweet dish)"; they were there to eat "sevaiyya' and not to arrange for the milk and sugar. How were they to know why their fathers were rushing to the house of Chaudhary Kayamali. How could they know that if Chaudhary Kayamali willed it, the celebrations could turn into grief! He, himself, had all the wealth in the world, and would count his coins with pleasure and keep them back.

Mahmood counts one, two, ..... ten, twelve. He had twelve paise. Mohsin has one, two, three, ..... eight, nine, ..... 15. He has fifteen paise. These were the princely sums which they possessed, and they intended to buy a good many things ..... toys, sweets, bugle, ball, and what not!

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