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Names and Stories

Am in Naddi, a village in upper Dharamsala and the night skies are beautiful out here. After some research on how to shoot stars at night, I came across this app called Stellarium, which allows you to see the sky through your phone and see what star or planet you are looking at. I’ve never bothered much about understanding what those stars are called as I felt somehow it would be good to just enjoy its beauty and not go on a naming, identifying spree. But yesterday it was quite a joy to look and see what am looking at more deeply.

I realized that having a name to something gives you two things. One is to identify it specifically and the other is to have the possibility of a story behind it. Nameless things might be profoundly beautiful but are also easy to be ignored and passable. A Magpie is more interesting than a bird with a big tail, the bright little dot in the sky is more interesting when you know it is Venus and the wild flowers that line the forest roads have more of an intrigue when you know they are wild Geraniums. There is also the danger of generalizing overly, that can avoid one from seeing the thing for what it is and focus more on the language, but having a name is that sort of a give and take.

There is a small restaurant here in the village which doesn’t yet have a name and its hard to get its story across, its passable even though the food they serve is good.

We named a little bird with a punk like crest and a red throat as ‘Frankie’. We didn’t know what it was called and we weren’t that interested to know exactly the name it was entrusted by the masses. That too is an option.


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