Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Playing hide and seek, celestially

There have been a lot of incidents over the last few weeks that I'd like to blog about, but I just had to, had to put in a mention about the solar eclipse that is going to happen on Friday the 15th of January, 2010. There are so many superstitions here that it makes my head spin. With all the advances we've made in science, our people still fall prey to age old guesswork, quite clearly the result of not knowing what an eclipse is. Pregnant women aren't allowed outside, people aren't supposed to be seen outside eating, you shouldn't have sex, you shouldn't do this, you shouldn't go there, the list goes on and on. This 15th, I'm going to step outside my office, go to the terrace, and enjoy the eclipse (even though it'll be only about 40% here in Bangalore), hopefully with the help of some of those 'eclipse' goggles that are being sold.

So people, for those of you who actually believe that there will actually be something adverse because of a solar eclipse, let me try to put it to you in English as simple as can be: No. Anything bad that happens would have just as likely have happened if there was no eclipse as well. If you trip and fall, the cause for that could just as likely be attributed to Paris Hilton giving someone a blowjob, or Lindsay Lohan going wild at some party, or (more locally) Mayawathi announcing that she's going to build another statue, or Deve Gowda calling the chief minister a bast***.

There is no 'extra' radiation given out during an eclipse, there are no 'evil spirits' roaming about that enter your body during an eclipse, etc etc etc. Another caution given is "Don't look at the eclipse (sun), as the 'extra' radiation is bad for the eyes". If anyone says something like this to you, do not hesitate to sock them real hard (if they are educated). The only reason it's going to be bad for the eyes is because YOU ARE LOOKING AT THE SUN, DAMN IT!!! I'd pretty much expect it to be bad for your eyes if you stared at it! Just because the sun is covered by the moon, and there isn't enough 'light', that doesn't mean the radiation (Ultra Violet - yes, the same chap fearing whom you apply sunscreen lotion with UV protection) vanishes. On a normal day, the light is so bright that the pupils in your eyes don't open up at all, and so the radiation doesn't enter the eyes. During an eclipse, because of the lack of light, your pupils get dilated (meaning they open a little more to allow more light to enter), and since UV rays are not visible to us, they enter as well if you keep staring at the sun (eclipse) and will go in and burn your retina (that's something that is deep within your eye). That's it, nothing else. No more nonsense about children being born with cleft lips and horns, and forked tongues, and what not.

So please, please please pretty please, don't waste a day staying indoors and/or away from work.


Paul Nixon said...

Nice post Karthik.

I'm all in favour of eclipses beacuse the roads are lovely and clear; something that only happens when the sun hides or when the auto-wallahs have a tantrum and go on strike for a day.

So I look forward to driving on the 15th, and to eating outside, and to getting laid (if my wife agrees), and - being a Friday - to drinking lots of beer as well. Mind you, by the time I hit the pubs, the sun will have long since dipped by then anyway.

Jil Jil Ramamani said...

I've heard Hispanic women wear bright red panties and fasten a safety pin on their shirts over their belly button to avoid a cleft-lipped child. Apparently because of the superstition that a red string around the waist with an arrowhead attached to it acts as a well, to use TSN Teleshopping terms...'suraksha-kavach' that protects them from harmful radiation during solar eclipses.
Provided by site.