The Soul Warrior by Falguni Kothari

Age-of-Kali-3D-book

I received Soul Warrior (The Age of Kali #1) as a review copy from the BookR3vi3ws and would like to tank Debdatta for the same. I have read Falguni’s previous works, both romance and was expecting her to write another romance. But she seems to have moved on to mythology with a twist, what with the #1 book of the series.

The Blurb:

Twisted myths. Discretion advised.

Fight fate, or succumb to destiny?

In the dark Age of Kali, the Soul Warrior alone stands guard over the Human Realm, protecting its denizens from evil-willed asuras or demons. When a trick of fate appoints him guru to a motley crew of godlings, he agrees to train them as demon hunters against his better judgment. Suddenly, Lord Karna is not only battling the usual asuras with sinister agendas, but also rebellious students and a fault-ridden past.

Spanning the cosmic realms of mythic India, here is a tale of a band of supernatural warriors who come together over a singular purpose: the salvation of Karna’s secret child.

The story:

Then:

Seven thousand five hundred years ago, at the Kuru Kshetra Battlefield on Day 17 of the Great Kuru War, Lord Yama is tells dying Karna to accept the office of the Soul Warrior and hunt down the red-souled asuras and crush them. He wishes Karna a long and successful Celestial existence.

Five thousand years ago, the Bard is scribbling the observations of the Dwandha Yudha between the Asuras and Gods at the Himalaya Mountains and the Soul Warrior brings reprieve.

Present day, it is the Age of Kali and the setting is Mumbai. Karna’s career of 8000 years as Humanity’s soul guardian included his duty to keep the world from supernatural evil and not meddle in human affairs.  He has been visited by the three Gods and Goddesses and promoted to the post of Celestial Guru. But this comes with a rider: he has been asked to look after six godlings and train them to fight with the Asuras. And who are these godlings, the children of Draupadi: five fathered by the Pandavas and one by him. How? His child is the youngest,human and the other five are celestial. After he takes charge of the godlings and Draupadi also comes to has abode as Qalli, the godmother to the godlings.

My take:

A new twist to an old tale. I was unable to relate to the first two events in the story but as the story moved to the present day, things became very interesting. The Gods and Goddesses are modern and so are the settings with MRIs and internet. There are a lot many characters, celestial, asuras and Karna’s right hand, Lavya. Some parts are very funny.

I have not described the godlings because reading about them as the author has described them would be more interesting, at least, I felt so.

The story is nice, well written but the ending was a little different from what I expected.

Book Source: The author

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Roomies / Foodies by Lakshmi Ashwin and Meghana Chaudhary Joshi

Check out the Contest: Try the recipe in the excerpt and click pictures (with or without you). Share it on social media tagging us and win a free copy of the book!

Roomies / Foodies 
by 
Lakshmi Ashwin and Meghana Chaudhary Joshi
Publisher 
 
 
Blurb 
The year is 2001. Two young Indian girls arrive in the U.S. for the first time, to attend graduate school and be room-mates. One’s a non-cook. The other’s kitchen skills are strictly basic. As luck would have it, both are consummate foodies. And it’s not just advanced Molecular Biology they’ll come to tackle—the daily challenge is to feed their stomachs…and souls…on a thinner-than-spaghetti budget! Part memoir, part cook-book, Roomies/Foodies compiles the experiments and culinary adventures of Lux and Meg as they stick to their resolve of eating only non-boring food! Written in a slick, hip, conversational style, this well-organized handbook bubbles with anecdotes, tips, tricks, cheater’s methods and over 60 lip-smacking recipes. Spanning an easy-to moderate spectrum of skills, Meg and Lux’s “Eureka moments” in their own kitchen will help spare YOU some painful trial and error in yours!
EXCERPT FROM THE FIRST CHAPTER 
 
One day, exhausted, I fell asleep on the couch in the graduate student lounge at Roswell Park, waiting for Lux. Since we were on the same research campus, we commuted and ran errands together. In those early days, we were joined at the hip.
 It was a lot to deal with, this new life, with its sudden and crushing study load, having to walk or take public transport everywhere (I missed my Kinetic Safari) and we were glad of each other’s company. We started taking advantage of the subway and other modes of public transport to explore our town, checking out affordable food joints. One such journey introduced us to crépes. I tried making them at home and discovered a really simple breakfast item in the process.
Serves 4
Ingredients:
Rice flour or refined flour (maida)                   1½ cups
Milk                                                                        1 cup
Egg                                                                          1
Slab of chocolate                                                     1
Butter
Sugar                                                                      3 tsp
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes for each crepe
Mix the flour with milk and sugar and beat in the egg.
Melt butter on a tava* or a flat non-stick pan on medium heat.
Pour the flour mixture evenly in a thin layer across the bottom of the pan, coating it completely.
Grate the bar of chocolate over the open side of the crepe, in a sufficient quantity to cover the top, while the other side is still cooking.
Gently lift up a side of the crepe to see if it is done. It should appear slightly browned and lift easily without tearing.
Fold the crepe in half over itself. The chocolate should melt and hold the 2 edges together. Remove and serve with a melting dot of butter on top.
Tip: For an interesting Cheese-n-Chocolate variation, sprinkle some grated cheese or small globs of cheese after you have sprinkled the grated chocolate. If you have no time for the grated chocolate step, make just the plain crepe and spread Nutella or jam, or cheese spread for an even quicker meal
 
MEET MEGHANA CHAUDHARY JOSHI, LAKSHMI ASHWIN
 
 
Meghana Chaudhary Joshi (Meg) has worked in clinical research in the US, run her own socio-environmental venture and is currently Practice Manager with Mirai Health. She is a fitness freak who loves to travel and explore varied cuisines as much as the outdoors. Meg lives in Pune with her husband, daughter, and Golden Retriever.
Lakshmi Ramachandran, a.k.a Lux, graduated from SUNY Buffalo with a PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology in 2006. She is presently a science writer at the National University of Singapore. Besides Science, she is passionate about food and loves to cook. She lives in Singapore with her husband and two children.
 
MEET MEG AND LUX 🙂
Contacts them @

Twitter: @RoomiesFoodies

Email: roomiesfoodies@gmail.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bloodygoodbook

Twitter: @BloodyGoodBook

Website: www.bloodygoodbook.com

Contest 
 
Try the recipe in the excerpt and click pictures (with or without you). Share it on social media tagging us and win a free copy of the book!
 
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Sweet Revenge by Olivier Lafont

Sweet Revenge 

by 

Olivier Lafont 



FROM THE AUTHOR OF WARRIOR,  ANOTHER BOOK, ANOTHER GENRE – A ROMANCE. 

Blurb 

If revenge was a dish best served cold, then French Adonis Guy Leguerec knew exactly what to serve treacherous and desirable Eve Watson…
Seven years after Louisiana, where Eve devastated his heart and ruthlessly wiped out his future, Guy finds her in Boston opening her first art showing. Now a wealthy and powerful shipping magnate, Guy lures Eve into his trap of seduction and opulence, intent on one thing only: getting revenge for her crimes.
When American artist Eve Watson sees the only man she ever loved enter the art gallery, and re-enter her life, she feels helpless terror and frenzied desire. Seven years ago Guy Leguerec had seduced her heart, exploited her body, and then discarded her. Against her better judgment she accepts his invitation, and once again they spiral into a maelstrom of irresistible passion, divinely rampant sex, and the brutal politics of unknown intentions…
Violently sundered by their volatile misconceptions, Eve flees Boston in emotional tatters, and Guy grudgingly lets her vanish, his revenge thwarted.
But destiny has planned otherwise: Eve has taken an art job in Paris, ignorant of the fact that the company is one of many subsidiary businesses belonging to Guy. Flung together again in an even more precarious position, Eve and Guy must war with each other and themselves, and confront seven years of misapprehension and malign manipulation. Greed, family vendetta, and deception have eaten away at the intimacy they once shared —
But is the truth enough to save their desperate, shipwrecked love?
Grab Your Copy @
About The Author 
 
Olivier Lafont is a French author, screenplay writer, and actor. His novel ‘Warrior’ was published by Penguin Random House, and was shortlisted for the Tibor Jones South Asia Prize. He has just released his new contemporary romance novel ‘Sweet Revenge’ exclusively on Kindle. ‘Purgatory: The Gun of God’ is a fantasy novelette published in South Africa. 
 
Lafont has written a number of feature film scripts before. The first film he wrote opened at the Toronto Film Festival and went on to win seven awards at film festivals worldwide. 
 
As an actor Lafont has acted in Hollywood and Indian films, in TV serials, and in over 80 television commercials. He acted in ‘3 Idiots’, one of India’s all-time blockbuster hits, the critically-acclaimed ‘Guzaarish’, and the Lifetime film ‘Baby Sellers’, amongst other films. 
 
Lafont graduated with two degrees in acting and writing from Colgate University, USA, with academic distinction.
 

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When Our Worlds Collide by Aniesha Brahma

downloadI received When Our Worlds Collide by Aniesha Brahma as a gift from the author. She has mentioned somewhere that this is her first novella. Having read her previous books, The Guitar Girl and The Secret Proposal earlier, I could not help myself and immediately said a yes when Bookr3vi3ws asked me if I would like to review it. So for this book, I have not only the author but also Debdatta of Bookr3vi3ws to thank.

The Blurb (from Goodreads):

Akriti has led a pretty much sheltered life.
Zayn has been shuttled from city to city when he was growing up.
She is comfortable watching her life from the sidelines.
He wants to feel rooted to a place he can call ‘home’.
They meet each other quite by chance.
And both seize the chance to be someone they both need in their lives:
For Zayn, it’s a ‘Partner-In-Crime’.
For Akriti, someone who just knows how to be there for her…
When their worlds collide,
It is not what either of them expected it to be.
Zayn has a steady girlfriend. And Akriti has a crush on him.
What happens when these two become friends?
The biggest adventure of their lives? Or the road to heartbreak?
What happens when two completely different people collide?
Do they become friends? Or, is their friendship doomed from the start?
‘When Our Worlds Collide’ is the story of two twenty-three-year olds, Who are finally growing up and finding their feet in the world.
A tale of friendship and love, crushes and betrayals, messes and second chances,
Marriage and divorce… and the elusive happily ever after!

The story:

The story starts with a prologue dated 2002, when thirteen year old Akriti is upset over her parents’ divorcing and is not performing well at school. She has no friends and her only friend has also betrayed her. Thirteen year old Zayn Banerjee, is upset because they are moving again as his father is in a job where they have to move every two years. He has just started to make friends but has to leave again. He is intrigued by his name and also asks his parents about it.

Chapter one, 2006, they both are seventeen year olds. Akriti has moved to a new school because her mother wants her to be there, though she is homesick for her previous one, where she meets Nimmi. She also sees Zayn, a boy with no hand eye coordination who gets hit by a ball in the basketball court and much to her anguish, she cannot help him, as they would have done in her old school, because the bell for the next period has rung.

Now, 2013, Akriti, 23, has finished her masters and is working in her mother’s café (her mother had converted the ground floor of the house into a café) and though there is not much footfall, the café still manages itself. She is yet to decide what she wants to do- run the café or ‘something else’. Ayoub, younger to her by 2 years, preparing for his masters, also helps her out in the café. He is her only friend.

Suddenlyshe bumps into Nimmi and Zayn celebrating five years of togetherness at her café. Then, Nimmi comes and asks her to become friends with Zayn as he has no friends in Kolkata. Akriti already has a secret crush on him, of which only Ayoub is aware and she agrees reluctantly. They become friends, meet at the Poetry Slam, go for drives, try to complete his bucket list of things to be done before he leaves for his PhD. Both of them are different beings and he helps her find herself.

My take:

The story is beautiful and the way it has been presented is more beautiful. The way of introducing the characters is unique. The language is simple and the flow is good. It is a fast paced book which can be read in 2 hours flat. The prologue introduces the characters and the story moves as a first person narrative from Akriti’s perspective. All the characters have been given importance in the story, be it the main characters or even the supporting ones, all were equally important. The bunch of teenagers, her step brother and even Suzanna, the lady who organizes Poetry Slams and even the bartender Surbhi.

The author has shown Akriti to be a strong girl who stands up to her parents. I simply loved that part. She has taken us through her childhood, teens and now the twenties. The way she has written the story, I could feel for Akriti and had tears in my eyes thinking of a thirteen year old going through so much in life. That actually explains why she is, what she is.

The quotes at the beginning of the chapters and the poems in between are also pertinent to the story. The cover is beautiful.

A must read for everyone.

Book Source: The author

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Shanti and the magic Mandala by F.T.Camargo

7135d-front-coverI received Shanti and the Magic Mandala by F.T Camargo as a review copy from Bookr3vi3ws. Thank you, Debdatta, and the author for the same.

 The Blurb:

Shanti and the Magic Mandala is an adventure in which fantasy and reality are mingled. The book tells the story of six teenagers, from different religious and cultural origins and different parts of the world, who are mystically recruited to form two groups – one in the Northern Hemisphere, and one in the Southern. They eventually gather in Peru, and through a single alliance, begin a frantic chase for the sacred object that can stop the black magician’s final plan.

The story:

Fifteen year old Shanti lives with her father on the mezzanine above her aunt’s restaurant that her father is managing in New York City. They have migrated to the US from Mumbai two years ago. She loves archeology and her father wants her to do accounting. One night, when she is sleeping, she has a strange dream, Lord Krishna tells her that she is a girl with many gifts and that she has a different purpose in life. He tells her about a diamond sphere and a flute with a message, which is lying on their altar. She is asked to keep it safe and read it only when the time comes. She is also warned that there are certain forces which will try to pull her down and not let her get on with the mission. He also tells her that there are five more chosen teenagers like her who would join her in the mission; three of them would form the Northern Alliance and three, the southern Alliance. Both the Alliances would meet in due course of time. She is excited; she gets up and finds all that she had seen in her dream.

Sixteen year old Antonio, half Brazilian, half Italian has a similar experience. He is chased by a jaguar when he is out riding and pads him into a clearing and then Golden Eagle,  an old man in a cave, gives him a cylindrical object and a sphere of the moon rock and tells him the same things that Shanti has been told.

Sixteen year old Nasir from New York is enchanted with astrology and his mother wants him to be a doctor. He works in his uncle’s computer store and is in Jordan on holiday when he meets a towering well-built man who tells him what Shanti and Antonio have been told and gives him a sapphire sphere and a little tube containing a manuscript with the instructions.

Fifteen year old Helena lives with her father in Brazil, she loves to play the violin and football. She has a godmother in Luiza. One day, she comes home and finds her father hanging with candles burning and Satan written in red on the wall. She is frightened and runs for help and stays with friends. She has faith in goddess Yemaja who tells her the same thing as Shanti and gives her a ruby sphere and a tube made of mother of pearl and gives her the same instructions.

Fifteen year old Itai lives in New York and is on a school trip to Jerusalem with his parents and the kids of the school where his father teaches. He immerses himself in adventure books, his Kabbalah studies, astrology and numerology and the mening of codes behind numbers. He is considered a nerd by his school friends. On the trip to Jerusalem, he is gifted a book by a book store owner and feels that the book emits a strong light.

Sixteen year old Tadao is addicted to technology but he is obsessed with learning more about ancient Egypt. Meditation is his passion. He is travelling on the night train from Cairo to Luxor when he meets Imad, who has been employed by autonomous archeologists searching for treasures.  Next morning, he finds Imad murdered.

As per the instructions, both the alliances are to meet separately on 21st June, one in New York and the other in Rio de Janeiro and together on 10th July in Peru.

The circumstances bring them close to each other and then the mystery begins with animals being kidnapped, evil sacrifices and black magic.

Read on, I won’t tell you more……………

My take:

An interesting story with twists and turns and lots of action. I loved the way the author has introduced the characters one by one and then they all come together. The first chapter made me think, what next? Though they are from different cultural backgrounds, different countries and even different regions, they have the same mission.  The scenes have been described so beautifully, that I could almost visualize them.

The story can be read by adults and teenagers alike and I am sure, it will keep everyone on the edge of their seats.

I enjoyed the story thoroughly, I know you would too.

Book Source: Author

 

Spotlight:Beyond The Milky Way Are We Alone? by Aithal

 

Beyond The Milky Way 
Are We Alone? 
by 
Aithal
Blurb 
Are we alone?
Three astronauts go to the space in search of a planet that ‘probably’ has water—one of the basic elements for the humanity to survive. Do they find it? What else do they find? They encounter something—something strange—beyond their wildest of imagination, and their ‘mission-to-explore’ becomes ‘mission-to-survive’.
They experience something that makes them question their beliefs. It brings into focus all the things they had taken for granted—everything they had seen and learned—doesn’t seem to apply any longer.
Something happens along the way that makes them yearn to come back to Earth. After all, home is where the heart is.
This is not just-another-science-fiction. Rather, it will make you question your own beliefs—may they be scientific, religious, political, or something else.
In the first installment of the Galaxy series, find out about the strange world they discover.
Buy @
 
Excerpt 
Come, the aqua race
as the wells go dry.
 Blurs the human trace,
and the hour is nigh.

“T -20 minutes and counting.”

It was a typical Florida day at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, hot and muggy.

Although it was only 10 o’clock in the morning, people were already sweating. Many folks held umbrellas to cover themselves from the scorching sun. Others were wearing various kinds of hats and caps, and their shirts and tees were wet with sweat. Their armpits—and wherever else their garments touched the skin—were showing dark patches of sweat. Almost everyone was wearing shorts. They didn’t care whether it suited them or not; they just wanted to be comfortable. The combination of sunscreen and sweat made their skins glisten, and sunglasses covered their eyes.

A big crowd had gathered to watch the launch live. All sorts of vehicles were haphazardly parked on the flat meadow. Many had climbed on the rooftops of their RVs to get a better view. Some of them with flatbed trucks had brought lawn chairs with attached umbrellas. Families sitting in the chairs were enjoying chilled beverages. Kids were sitting with cans of soda. Every once in a while, some of them would roll their cold cans over their faces to get some temporary relief from the sweltering heat.

Clusters of families had spread their picnic blankets across the green grass and were using coolers as anchors. Spreads of snacks were sprawled across a few of them: cookies, chips, fruits, candies, and assortments of soda. Uniformed cops in shorts were riding on cycles among them, making sure that no one had any alcohol. Some adults had their cans of soda in a soda-cozy to keep the beverage cold. The policemen would stop their bikes near the adults, and ask them to take out the cans from the soda-cozy to ensure that they were not beer cans. Little children were playing not far from them, under the watchful eyes of their parents. Some moms were applying sunscreen on their children before letting them play, and some were rubbing it on their husbands’ backs.

Some people were sprawled across the grass, tanning in the sun. Others had brought their dogs with them, and their kids were taking the dogs for a walk on leashes. The dogs were wagging their tails with excitement. They would keep their noses close to the ground, sniffing and panting, stopping every now and then, before being pulled forward by their owners.

Dozens of TV vans, belonging to various networks, had their satellite dishes extended high atop their roofs, broadcasting live to the world. News reporters, with microphones in their hands, were standing in front of TV cameras with the shuttle framed in the background. They were the most uncomfortable, as they had to wear a jacket in the scorching Florida sun to look professional. The bright camera lights thrown on their faces were not helping either. The moment they would stop talking to the camera, the camera lights would be turned off; they would then sigh in relief, take off their jackets, and start touching up their faces.

At the edge of the ground, a tall flagpole bearing a huge United States flag fluttered lazily when the wind blew. Next to it was an enormous digital clock, counting down.

It was a very festive atmosphere, and the air was filled with excitement and anticipation. Every now and then, some folks would glance at the shuttle standing in the distant horizon, with smoke blowing slowly from its base before evaporating.

The NASA Test Director had already conducted the final launch team briefings and completed the inertial measurement unit preflight alignments.

“T -9 minutes and holding.”

“This is the final built-in hold folks,” an announcer on TV said, sounding as if he knew what was going on, but in actuality, he was merely reading from a script given to him by NASA. “This is what it means—there are several things happening. The final launch window is determined, the flight recorders are activated, and the final ‘go/no-go’ launch polls are conducted by NASA Test Director, Mission Management Team, and the launch director.”

He was explaining it quite well on TV. Audiences across the world were watching this launch intently. It was a highly publicized launch. After the first manned mission to the moon, Apollo 11, this was the most viewed mission.

“This is the last launch to take place before NASA changes its direction. The Last One, as it is dubbed. We know that there is water on this unknown planet, and where there is water, there is life. Without water, no life has ever sustained. We all know how dangerously low we are on our water resources. Sure, we have plenty of seawater. But it has salt, and is not meant for human consumption. A few companies have tried to develop technology to convert it into fresh water by spending billions of dollars on desalination plants. However, it’s way too expensive and not practical. The resources are dwindling, and famine is widespread. This is it folks, it’s now or never. Colonizing this unknown planet is our only option,” he said, trying to sound dramatic. “And by water, I mean liquid water. Water can be in other states too: frozen solid or evaporated into a gas. Take Enceladus, the sixth-largest moon of Saturn. We have discovered a water-rich plume venting out from its south polar region. It shoots geyser-like jets of water vapor that are about one hundred miles long. Think of it as a volcano, but instead of lava, it’s pouring out steam, a cryovolcanic eruption. So, even though we know it has water, life is not possible for us humans—primitive microbial life may be possible—but not for us. Saturn has 26 million times the water on Earth; yes, you heard it right folks, 26 million. Liquid water is just one of the components required for us to live. There are two more components that a planet needs to have: the right atmosphere and temperature. The planet cannot be too hot or too cold, only just right. Our neighbor, Venus, is around thirty percent closer to the sun and eight hundred degrees hotter. Then there is the atmosphere; it should have the right amount of oxygen to breathe. Of course, making a huge air-conditioned capsule can control these two to a certain degree. But not water. We need natural, liquid water that a planet can produce.

Mars is the first planet we have thought of to colonize. And it is natural to look at it first as it is closest to us, only 48 million miles away, a rock’s throw away compared to the astronomical distances from other planets. But as we get to know more about it, we realize how harsh life can be. Here are a few things that encourage us to find out if living on Mars is possible. It has much lower gravity, so you will weigh much less. There is evidence of flowing, liquid water, but it’s all gone now. It has turned from a warmer, wetter planet into a cold, dry one. There have been talks about terraforming, a process to make the planet habitable like Earth. But then you are talking about confining yourself in a large capsule. You can forget about going on treks, scaling the heights of mountains, scuba diving, taking nature walks, and many other things that we take for granted on our Earth. Basically, you won’t be able to open the door and go outside casually.

Why am I telling you all this? You can get this from the Internet. There is a reason. Bear with me for a moment. We know our galaxy is about 13.2 billion years old. And our solar system is about 4.5 billion years old. So Earth is around 4.5 billion years old. The sun’s age is estimated to be around 12 billion years. So we are almost half way there. All these are enormous numbers, you’ll say, and I agree. But let’s juxtapose these numbers with our existence. Our ancestors have only existed for 6 million years. And we, the modern form of humans, have been around for only 200,000 years. And civilization, as we know it, is only 6,000 years old. See where I am going with it? Although the life of our solar system is enormous, we have been around for only a fraction of that time. And the resources are already dwindling. Look around you.

He paused for a moment to let this sink in.

We have to find a way to prolong our existence.

I have to repeat the famous words of Neil Armstrong, ‘one small leap for man, one giant leap for mankind,’ because they still hold true. We have come a long way in our understanding of the vast universe, but our basic needs remain the same. We have advanced technologically, but have we evolved? Have we adapted? Are we using fewer resources? Studies after studies tell us that we are not. An average person needs, no, uses more resources. Where do they come from? In this digital age, we all consume more. Use more batteries for our devices, why? Because we have many more devices now than we had ten years ago. Laptops, phones, games, toys, you name it. We eat more and drink more. In this fast moving world of ours, where information is at our fingertips, we have seen the globe shrinking. In addition to getting news of our neighboring villages and cities, we are getting news from our neighboring countries. We are getting more aware of our world, and it doesn’t look good. We can either ignore all the information we have, or we can do something about it.

Our population is growing, and our resources are shrinking. It’s not political any more. It’s our survival,” he paused, his voice lowered, almost becoming a hush. “There won’t be any politicians if no one survives.”

He stayed silent for a while, knowing that silence on TV was a no-no. But his journalistic instincts told him that it was the right thing to do. He was passionate about this cause, and he had the ear of the world. However, he had to strike the right balance between captivating his audience and depressing them. He didn’t want to be a doomsayer. But at the same time, he wanted to convey the urgency.

“This planet, simply called P2, was recently discovered by NASA. Technically, this so called—The Last One—is a misnomer as there can be more flights by NASA. If we find that life is sustainable on this planet, we will have more flights to P2,” he boomed, changing his voice to a deeper baritone.

“How far is P2? Farther than the farthest planet in our solar system. In addition to the regular, orange-colored rocket boosters, the space shuttle is also fitted with two giant SEP arms. SEP stands for Solar Electric Propulsion. They will unfurl once the shuttle has reached outer space, after which the shuttle will generate its own energy, drawing it from the sun.

You have seen these kinds of shuttles used for traveling to the International Space Station, or for adding a solar panel to a satellite. But this one has been modified to carry more scientific instruments. Once on P2, they will be used extensively to analyze soil samples, rock samples, and other materials that have been collected.

After this, NASA is going to divert its resources to explore other things. Congress has decided to cut the budget for such programs. They feel that the funds should be used in more fruitful missions. Is it a wise move? You decide.”

The ground was separated by water, and beyond that, the Space Shuttle. Lots of people were peering through their binoculars to feel closer to the launch than they actually were.

“T -9 minutes and counting,” the voice boomed on the PA.

The automatic ground launch sequencer was started.

“We have less than ten minutes to witness a historical moment. Gather everyone around the TV to see this for the last time. It’s been over forty-five years since we landed the first man on the moon. We have learned many things about our space since then,” said the announcer, and then his tone changed. “Let’s all take a moment to consider how tiny we are in the scheme of things. The space is a vast unknown. We want to know as much as we can. The space program is about to change directions in how we gather this information. Whether you agree or not with our government, one thing is for sure—we are the most advanced and powerful nation in the space program. Many of you question the wisdom in dismantling something so hugely successful. So let’s not forget the perks of such programs. NASA has benefited mankind so much. Innumerable inventions exist that have come out of NASA. I can go on and on praising NASA, but let’s get back to what’s happening now.”

On the ground where people were waiting patiently for the launch, a few ice cream trucks were selling candies, ice creams, bottled water, sodas, and much more. Little children had gathered around the trucks.

“Do you have beer?” asked one man, hoping that the vendor did.

“No sir,” replied the vendor, shaking his head vigorously. “We are not allowed to sell beer, and you are not allowed to drink it in a public place. If the cops see you drinking one, they’ll ticket you.”

“I know that,” the man glared at him.

“Oh,” the vendor replied sheepishly. “Sorry.”

“Give me an ice cream,” the man said, shaking his head in disappointment.

“What flavor?”

“Chocolate,” he replied, and then he added, “in a cone.”

The man handed him a ten-dollar bill, and the vendor returned the change.

“T -7 minutes and 30 seconds,” the voice on the PA continued.

The access arm of the orbiter was slowly retracted. It looked

 

About the Author

 

The author was born and raised in Mumbai, India. He came to the US in 1989 to New York. He currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.
                  

 

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