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1884 First roller coaster in America opens, 1738 Patriot printer publisher and postmistress Mary Katharine Goddard born, 1903 Ford Motor Company incorporated, 1862 Union thwarted at the Battle of Secessionville, 1961 Russian ballet star Nureyev defects, 1999 SLA member captured after more than 20 years, 1896 Tsunami ravages Japanese coast, 1958 Leader of Hungarian uprising executed, 1963 First woman in space, 1977 Brezhnev is Soviet president, 1943 Charlie Chaplin marries Oona ONeill, 1904 James Joyce meets his future wife Nora, 1965 Bob Dylan records Like A Rolling Stone, 1890 Alaskan explorer Fred Fickett leaves Army, 1858 Lincoln warns that America is becoming a house divided, 1968 Lee Trevino wins his first US Open, 1961 Kennedy agrees to send instructors to train troops, 1965 More troops to be sent to Vietnam, 1970 Communists isolate Phnom Penh, 1918 Battle of the Piave River, 1940 Marshal Petain becomes premier of occupied France,

Stories

My Space Encounter

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When we are small, we are told by elders to be with them whenever we go out in crowded places. But we think that we have grown up and nothing would happen to us. We don’t heed to our elders’ advice. It happened with me once when I was small and I had got lost. I want to share with you the entire incident.

Long time ago, I went to a place called ‘THE SPACE VALLEY’, which was a place where you could see everything related to our Universe and space. I went along with my six cousins, my parents, uncles and aunts. We went to the Space Valley on a Sunday. There was a film shooting going on in the Space Valley. When we entered the place we were surprised to see the way they had decorated the entrance with stars, planets and rockets. But as we went on seeing the place, we children felt bored. The parents were still enjoying the planets and slides about how the Earth and other planets were formed. But we had already seen all of this in our school on the Edurite system.

Then we went to a theatre where they showed us some movie on how the Earth was formed. As I said earlier we were bored and so we asked our parents whether we could go out and see something else. But we were not allowed and so we decided to go out secretly and not let our parents know. We were successful in our plan and we escaped quietly from the hall. When we came out in the corridor we saw many doors with many names written on them. We decided to go to the hall with the name ‘Free Entry to Space’. We all were very much interested to go into space and so we were surprised to see a corner where it was written ‘Buy Tickets before entering’. We had no money and so all of us were very sad. But suddenly we heard a voice that said, “Here are your tickets children.” We saw there were seven tickets fallen on the floor. We were surprised and thought that we were being fooled by someone. But just as were dropping the tickets in the ticket box a door opened and we saw a rocket that was big enough to carry all of us. We all started to run towards the rocket’s door but then my cousin interrupted us and reminded us that what we were doing was not right and we should go back to our parents. But the rest of us were strongly against him and we all decided to go and check inside the rocket.

As we entered the rocket, a song was being played. It said, “We will reach the moon, the big ball of ice.” There were many buttons on the front desk of the rocket and there were many words written on it. I read a button on which was written “Fateto”. To me this word seemed to be written in Spanish. Curiously I pressed it and one of the small doors inside the rocket opened, revealing space suits and oxygen cylinders. We all thought that we were very lucky. All my cousins were proud of my decision to get into the rocket and told me that they would give me a treat after we returned home. Soon, we were all wearing our space suits. We all looked weird but I was the only one who did not feel so. I tried to read what was written on all the buttons on the desk and finally found a button that said ‘Launch’. I told my cousins to get ready, sit on their seats and tighten their seat belts All of them dutifully did so.

Then we all together started the countdown, “10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0”, and pressed the Launch button.

Suddenly the rocket started to move. First it was slow but each second seemed to add on to the speed of the rocket, until finally, it became so fast that all my cousins started to shout and cry loudly. I told them to be quiet, close their eyes and sit in a calm position.

Moments later, the speed of the rocket started to decrease and so all my cousins opened their eyes to look delightfully at the sight outside the window. None of us could believe that the beauty of the spectacular sight witnessed by us was true. We saw infinite stars and meteors all around us. My cousins asked me about our whereabouts and I answered them back, “We are in space!”

All of us were happy and excited but then suddenly we started feeling weightless. We felt light and airy. We realised that we were flying! It was our first experience of this kind and so we all were very excited. It was the first time that we were flying and we would never forget it. Then I noticed a big meteor crashing into our rocket. I panicked and hit a random button. Suddenly the speed of our rocket increased; it did not crash into the meteor but crashed into a red planet called Mars. Our rocket broke into pieces but we were unhurt as we were flying at that time. All my cousins got worried and started to cry but I put on a brave face and tried to console them, though in reality I myself was scared too. Soon I too joined them in the crying session. All of a sudden we saw some eyes looking at us. The ‘eyes’ were all around us. We were sure that these were some aliens. We thought that we were doomed and were destined to die. Sudden noises of laughter surprised us and then we saw a big ball of fire coming towards us. It was yellow in colour and was very hot. When we realised that it was the Sun, we were frightened to death and we all fainted. We got up a few minutes later when someone sprinkled water on us.

Then we realised what actually has happened. We felt foolish at that time because we were surrounded by so many people, all looking at us!

Actually we had reached the place where the film shooting was going on. Those people had recorded all these scenes on a tape. We also saw our parents standing amidst the crowd of the film makers. They were laughing at us and they also told us that they knew at the very beginning that we were going to sneak out and so they had made this plan to teach us a lesson. The film crew told us that our recorded tape was going to be telecasted on TV.

All our friends saw the telecast and we kind of became popular. The experience was quite harrowing for us but in the end we learnt “All’s well that ends well.”

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