How was the star party you ask?
Well, it starts off with a high note of anxiety! The stands to two of the telescopes are locked away in the old SAT lab. We did have the keys to the lab, of course. But surprisingly, the grill outside the lab was locked!
With the bus scheduled to arrive an hour later, this didn't seem like a mammoth task.....
We had no idea what was in store! :P
We began our find for the keys with the department chowkidaars who told us that the keys were with the Main Securities who told us that they were with some faculty / sir in the department who in turn gave us directions to some authorites beside the Cooperative stores ( & also tried a hand at convincing us that we had the keys all along!! ) . In this frenzy of getting "Aamhala nahi mahiti" responses and getting new directions (like "X person la vichara") , we were losing time and fast!!
Finally, frustrated we decided to approach the HOD of the Electrical dept.( Yes! we were THAT desperate! ) This changed the authorities' attitude and the same faculty takes out the shiny pair of keys (which we were supposed to have, it seems! )
We quickly take the equipment to the other side ( on the Boat club side ), guide the bus driver to the campus and start loading the bus.
Mohit Karve came and gave a few words of advice to the new members, which I am sure they will remember!
Finally we leave for the much awaited club event! All our troubles seem to fade away as the rounds of introduction begin and the members get into a very interesting game of dumb charades. We didn't realise how time flew. In no time we were at the village, though it was a bit dark then.
The members were divided into groups of 2s and 3s, Omkar, Nikit & Sanket led the way, while Payas, Shashi, Akshay and I were in the rear, and finally we were at the site.
We began our observations with Orion, Gemini and the Gateway. Nikit's telescope really proved to be handy and we were able to get a glimpse of the crescent moon before it set. After the initial round of observations, we all sat down for dinner, with the "Black Hole" functioning very efficiently indeed! Everyone was quite full with the theplas, cakes, biscuits, chiwda, etc. (Oh! and Shashi brought pizza this time! :D )
Observations resumed, and slowly the familiar trial of Leo, Virgo , Libra passed by. This time we saw a lot of Messier objects like the Orion Nebula, the Beehive cluster, etc. Jupiter and 4 of its moons were very visible.
The day soon dawned & we came back to the village for chai and nashta. Even though everyone was pretty tired, hardly anyone slept on the way back because of the intense Antakshari. (One of the members - Pratik was literally an encyclopedia & later on in the game, songs in Spanish, Japanese & Telugu were also accepted!)
Hence, much like the chocolates Mohit brought us, the star party was crunchy in the beginning but very sweet in the end! Overall a great experience. Couldn't have asked for a better one! :)
Really thank Akshay Bairagi for keeping my head cool during the 'key - krisis" and the entire team for making this a grand success!