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When the moon’s a balloon…

We’ve all been moonstruck - by Chinese weather balloons, and a bit of baloney.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Is it a bird? Is it a plane??  This query, uttered at an unidentified flying object, is now passe.

Now, thanks to China, it’s ‘Is it the moon? Is it a balloon??’

A mammoth round object wafting from the southwest corner of the Canadian skies towards the US would have easily passed off as the moon, had it not been for some media reports that identified it as a spy balloon.

It shows the depth of moral decay that a war machine has been made to look like the moon – which has been identified as an object of love and romanticism from time immemorial.

Our Bollywood and other regional movies were once replete – now on a waning phase though – with romantic scenes where lovers, waxing lyrical, serenade each other in the brushes, with a benign full moon watching over them. Of course, those brushes and the moon were all cardboard sets created by local craftsmen, some of them moonlighting.

Even decades later, I get goosebumps whenever I hear these  songs.  Who can forget ‘Chaudhavi ki chand ho’ or not have a wry smile while listening to ‘Mere saamne wali khidki mein ik chand ka tukda rehata hai.’ 

Still from Chaudhavi ka Chand (Source: Indiancinema)

We are not alone in this planet enthralled by the moon.

Long before Xi’s comrades thought of floating a spy balloon with a moon-like look,  the Harvard-educated poet EE Cummings (1894-1962), who worked as an ambulance driver in France during World War I, wrote famously in his poem:

“Who knows if the moon’s a balloon,

coming out of a keen cityin the sky—filled with pretty people ……..”

But there’s nothing pretty about Beijing’s big bellicose bubble.

Way back in 1971 British actor David Niven (1910- 83) stole a Long March over Mao’s mandarins by calling his famous book The Moon’s a Balloon describing his early days and happenings in Hollywood. A funny but tragic tale, it was one of the best-selling books in the ‘70s.

After passing along the American sky, coast to coast, Beijing’s balloon was busted, ending in a watery grave in the Atlantic.

Caught red handed, comrades from Red China claimed it was an innocent weather monitoring device that has been blown off course. The US military and political figures called it out as just baloney.  So did rest of the world.  It must have taken a lot of hot air to blow said bubble thousands of kilometers across the Pacific, caress the Canadian skies, and cross over to the US. If it was meant to monitor weather, should it not glide over swaths of farmland instead of snooping sensitive military sites? And if erroneously blown off course, shouldn’t China alert the countries on its flight path?

It is now revealed several such balloons have flown over many countries, including India in the past few years, and  recently over the Andaman Islands during India’s tri-service military exercise. So, all their weather balloons go adrift!

What bright spark in Beijing thought of floating a moon-like object close to an actual full moon. Two moons appearing at the same time is an event that doesn’t even happen in a blue moon.

True to its wolf warrior credo, PRC now threatens retaliatory measures to cover up its Preposterous Reckless Charade.

(Source: Canva)

Last week as my grandchild celebrated his birthday with his friends, one of the kids accidentally let his helium-filled balloon go up in the air. Amused by this, all the other children did the same.

So, President Xi, if you see a bunch of balloons flying your way, please don’t  shoot them  down.   Chand ke tukde, bus bachchon ke balloons hain.

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