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SATs, stars and...stuff

I nearly starved to death during my SAT exam. But let me start at the beginning.

After weeks of waiting, the SAT is finally over. And no, it did not go off well, because since I am not gifted with mathematics-related superpowers, I failed to complete both papers. We had a very strange invigilator, who could barely count (or maybe he needed new glasses), making me wait ten minutes before he decided that the number and my name on my admission ticket matched exactly with the list in his hand, and I wasn't some impostor (like anyone would want to be an imposter to an SAT exam). Then he wrote some details on the distant blackboard and stationed himself in front of it. And had the audacity to scream at us when we asked him to move. He also gave us the promised breaks in between the papers, oh yes. They were for one minute. He actually timed them.

So by the end of the whole thing, I stepped gladly out of the "hall" with an aching back and parched throat, into the swelteringly hot sun (44 degrees) and cursed the day I fell into that "do-you-have-it-in-you-to-give-the-SATs" trap.

Later that day, we went to the planetarium for a "Solar System Marathon" -- basically a night of star-gazing (planet-gazing, more appropriately) from 5 p.m to 5 a.m. We were actually pretty excited about it, but owing to my exhaustion, we missed two programmes: Safe Sun Gazing (which I don't give a damn about; I see the sun everyday) and the indoor stadium programme which is supposed to be really cool. When we did reach, we were being shown how to make craters on the moon (by throwing marbles) and a Solar System Walk. Now that may sound awesome, but trust me, it isn't. The Solar System Walk involved little kids counting their steps from the Sun to Neptune at the top of their voices (o-ne, two-oo, three-ee.......five-hundred ninety ni-ine) and us following dejectedly all around the Teen Murti Bhavan Lawns, and Neptune ending up where the sun had originally been. We also had a mini lesson on the size of the planets: Jupiter is like a lemon, we were told. So on being asked the size of Saturn, we settled for something smaller (channa! marble!) but were informed that is was the size of a small lemon. We'd never have guessed.

But it wasn't all boring, no, far from it. At twilight, we settled into chairs and were told that we would soon be looking at Venus, the Evening Star. We were also told that people from space would be joining us. Before we could get excited about that, however, we realised they meant S.P.A.C.E (Science Popularisation Association of Communicators and Educators). So much for that. Anyway, through the course of the evening we proceeded to see Mercury, Venus, Jupiter (and its four moons: Io, Ganymede, Europa and Callisto), Saturn (Lord of the Rings. I never knew it was called that) and the largest asteroid, Vesta through a telescope, which was pretty cool. We were also informed that our sun-signs according to the newspapers are all wrong, and that astrology is rubbish. There was a huge argument about that which I really enjoyed listening to. After Venus, when everyone was a little tired of standing in lines in front of telescopes, there was a diversion in the form of the commentator excitedly saying that history was repeating itself and a comet had appeared. Tired as we were, Sahil and I jumped to our feet and scanned the sky along with a dozen others, before dad roared with laughter and showed us the "comet": a guy wearing something shiny on his head with a trail behind him, racing around the lawns. I glared at the commentator and settled myself back on the two chairs I was occupying. We left at midnight.