November 14, 2016. I expected it to be that time of the year all of us in India pull out our childhood photographs and post them on social media with a very nostalgia-evoking, heart-sinking, wish-I-were-a-kid-thought-stirring quote. Well, that happened.*Guilty as charged.* But something else took dominance this year. The November supermoon. The moon’s closest encounter with Earth in over 68 years.
All of mankind can be split into the following three categories based on our reactions to the supermoon:
- Supermoon enthusiasts: Ones well read about the phenomenon and actually looking forward to it.
- Supermoon mushrooms: Ones excited by all the hype, driven by the desire to join in and make some noise. After the rains, the mushrooms disappear too.
- Supermoon who?: Ones who go- What supermoon? What’s so great about that? Wait, it’s just the same freaking full moon!
I’d like to think of myself as a supermoon enthusiast. Being a sky gazer that I am, I was stoked about the phenomenon from the minute I read about it. Supermoon or not, I gaze the skies everyday. The sun, the moon, the clouds, just everything about the skies thrill me. So much so that my friends think I should get married to the skies. And when you love something that much, you tend to observe and soak in every little detail. I know what shade of orange the sky was yesterday and how it was different from today’s sunset. I know if the moon is shrinking or growing without looking at a calendar. I observe cloud patterns with such engrossment that I can recreate the image in my sleep. This is the reason the supermoon was so special to the enthusiasts. We were actually able to see how much brighter and bigger the moon was than its usual full moon self. Because we spend hours everyday enjoying the ordinary scenes, when the extraordinary happened, we were the first to notice. We could see the difference and appreciate the phenomenon for what it was, not for what it was projected to be. Enthusiasts stay enthusiasts, since sky watching is more of a passion to them, than a habit.
Most of the people, however, are supermoon mushrooms. They were just way too excited, even more excited than the enthusiasts. My guess is they’ve never stopped to look at the skies or the moon. The supermoon is just an excuse for them to go out and moon gaze. On November 14th, the perigee occurred in the evening around 4:50 when the moon hadn’t risen for us. We started spotting the moon in its reddish orange glory from around 5:30, after which it slowly rose and became its usual white shade. So, those who saw and marvelled at the moon well into the night were not actually seeing the supermoon, because the moon had already started drifting away by then. If you had told the mushrooms “Today is supermoon” on any other full moon day, they would have enjoyed it just as much. So if you really loved the moon that day, please do look at it more often. The more you know the ordinary, the more amazing extraordinary would be to you and you might even become an enthusiast. But if that doesn’t happen, mushrooms tend to become the supermoon whos with time.
Coming to the supermoon whos, don’t hate on them. Because they are just normal and honest people. They don’t let the hype get to them. If they like something, they like it and if they don’t, they don’t! As simple as that. They may become enthusiasts in the future, but never mushrooms.