The recent achievement of two Canadian teenagers, Mathew Ho and Asad Muhammad has not just captivated the minds of the Canadians but the entire world.
They designed a unit in a shoe string budget of four hundred dollars with inbuilt camera and a GPS sensor kit, gave it a passenger, a Lego man, a launch vessel in form of a hot air balloon, a safe return vessel in form of a home stitched parachute and after calculating its exact location of return, to ensure that the same is in the boundaries which the powers to be allow them to tread, launched it on its journey to meet their spirit which was soaring beyond the skies.
And Lo! That rendezvous did happen 80,000 feet above, at the brink of outer space between the Lego man and the high rising spirits of these seventeen year old teenagers who came from diverse background, one born and brought up as a naturalised citizen of Canada and the other who arrived here from Pakistan a few years back and adapted the country, its language in which he was not fluent at all when he arrived here, its people and its ethos as his own. Mathew in middle school, reached out to Asad who had joined his school and was fighting the ghosts of the new environment and became his first friend. At the start, one accepted and over the years the other adapted.
Many thoughts come out of this heart warming story of these kids who did not do this as a part of any school project or career aspiration but just for “fun”.
That this is what true learning is about when knowledge is gained ‘by’ experience and ‘for’ experiencing new things and ideas and not for acquiring degrees and certificates.
That there are no limitations of age, resources or any other perceivable obstacles which cannot be conquered when a human mind sets out to achieve its goals.
That our future generations understand the importance of technologies far more than us and have the capabilities of mastering it to propel their dreams which should reassure us, if any reassurance was needed at all, that mankind is moving in the right direction.
That the friendship of teenagers had crossed the distances which existed due to their names, cultures, languages and mindsets and gave them the biggest support system when they set out on their dreams of achieving something beyond their high school persona.
That in the world of today when I, me and mine is the biggest religion of individuals and corporations especially in the capitalistic domain in which we live, these children came from a greater level and did not have their photographs or names fluttering along with the Lego man but the symbol of what gave them their combined identity and pride, the Canadian flag.
That perhaps stories like this may make societies accept ‘different’, read ‘crazy’ ideas and also look up upon ‘crazies’ of the world and let them do their things and not ridicule them or throw them in some walls of confinement because of their thought process. It is time we accept that it is the ‘crazies’ and their different thinking which has led us away from the stone age existence in which we lived, who have made us see this world as round and who, one day, would make us see this earth, nay this universe, as just one of the places where we lived.
And while the Air traffic controllers and other powers to be will start creating their own obstacles to control, such freaks incidences, no one can stop the human mind from coming out with something new and breaking all boundaries again.
Maybe one day, in our life time we would see each other as one of the travellers who can reach beyond the skies in just about an hour and live to tell the story.
And if any Mohammad or Mathew out there, needs 200 pound of living flesh as a passenger for any such journey wearing some crazy space suit or even in the birth suit and not the Lego man who I envy so much today, then please let me know and I am ready to take that stairway to heaven or hell or beyond, TODAY.
Let’s raise this one for the fellow crazies!
Appeared in Guelph Mercury -1st February 2012 and also in Times of India
Link below for TOI- 2nd February 2012-