Today, I had an MTR Masala Dosa for breakfast, my kitten learnt how to climb all the way up to my neck by clawing on my jeans, and I learnt how to operate my leaky washing machine without recreating the Tsunami in my kitchen.
Oh, and some really smart scientists in India successfully completed the cheapest ever Mars Mission in the world.
As is the norm, the good folks behind Mangalyaan whose brains I imagine are an indigenous aviyal of Complex Fourier transforms and Indian housewife budgeting tricks, were promptly felicitated and rewarded for their outstanding efforts, by everyone who matters across the country…and by that I mean jobless people who took two seconds from scrolling through their newsfeed to type “I AM PROUD INDIAN ACCHE DIN AA GAYE HAI JAI MATA DI”. Not to mention the ten people who cribbed about how statistically “we could feed 49.3% of India’s poor with that much money this is outrage Ok now let’s go to Starbucks”, to those buggers who recycled the “When Mangalyaan was built, Sardar asked ‘Lekin Mileage kitna dega? LOLOLOL”
But a few facts floating around the cesspool did warm the cockles of my cold cynical heart – which included the obvious – how we shot off a shuttle at less than $74 million, a whopping $600 mil less than what cost NASA and less than a movie about space. But seriously, are any of us surprised? It’s not for nothing that we are the land of Jugaad. I wouldn’t be surprised if Curiosity makes a friendly visit to Mangalyaan (Yes, smartass, I know we’re not landing, just go with it) and discovers a machine held together with Scotch tape, Birla white wall putty, Fevicol and genes from that MDH masala guy.
Jokes apart, this unapologetically Lol-worthy article from WSJ made me love these folks even more. (http://on.wsj.com/1qspnUC ) To quote:
Ajey Lele, a researcher at the Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses, a New Delhi think-tank said cost-saving innovations “came out of sheer necessity.” It was also said that “other countries refused to share their technical know-how, limiting India’s access to sophisticated technology”.
Essentially, India is that kid who wasn’t included at the gully cricket match and promptly setup his own in a backyard with rubber-band balls and a tree stump bat. It’s oddly gratifying.
Another tidbit is about how “Comparatively low salaries in India also helped reduce the outlay for the voyage, which was mounted at a lower cost than missions undertaken by Russia, the European Space Agency and Japan, which each spent more than $100 million on their attempts.”
I can almost imagine ISRO scientists approaching their bosses for appraisals and hikes.
“Yes, Pillai, what makes you believe you have the necessary justification for a pay hike?”
“Sir, this month I finished the engine that launched a rocket into Mars orbit.”
“……..Agreed Pillai, but have you worked to the best of your potential?”
“…..Sir, the rocket is IN MARS ORBIT.”
“Yes, yes, of course, but why did it stop at Mars? Why not Jupiter? Why not to Infinity and beyond? You see at our company, we believe in cutting to the chase,exceeding expectations and merely working at the allotted task just does not cut it. I’m sure these are no deterrent to a smart young man like you.”
“Oh did I mention that there is an onsite opportunity on the works? I am sure you would be the best man for the job. How does that sound?”
“Never mind Sir, I’ll just sit inside the next Mars shuttle.”
Our beloved Dear Leader also pitched in with his classic rhetoric and did not mince words when he announced…”MOM ka Mangal se milan hua”. It sounds more like something a dying Bollywood maa would say with her last breath when her prodigal son returns to the khandaan, but I guess it’s the sentiment that matters.
But the cutest thing that happened was when Curiosity tweeted out a Namaste to our Mangalyaan machan, who promptly responded with a FaceBook friend request, liked all of its statuses from 2001 and tagged Curiosity in photos that said “I lyk 2 wALk in RaIn bcoz nO0ne cn c ma TeArs share iF u aGrEeeee ❤ ❤ ”.
Jokes apart, this is historic. I can imagine that more people will wet their virtual pants when one of our own actually lands on Mars and through indigenous technology and exceptional intelligence will beam across breathtaking photographs of red dust and rocks, which we as a nation will then collectively tweet and like and share…after applying Instagram filters of course.