I love living in the city. The greens of the village and the clear air of the rural country can never tempt me away from living in the filth and chaos of a thriving metropolis. To stand in the center of the city and watching people, animals and vehicles conduct their business is to feel the pulse of humanity.
Ever since the invention of light bulb, night in the cities are more livelier, less dangerous and a little less romantic. One of the nasty byproducts of city lights is the wretched "skyglow"; a poison curtain of light which obscures the most dramatic happenings in the night sky. To walk in the city in the evenings and looking up just randomly, seeing the ink-black darkness is the most hollow feeling one can ever have. Sky-watching is one of my favorite hobbies but year by year its becoming an almost impossible task to observe celestial phenomenon due to light pollution.
Some 7 years ago when I was traveling by bus to Nagarjuna sagar dam, the driver made a routine stop at a dimly-lit highway dhaba in the middle of the night. I saw some of the passengers get off the bus, after a few minutes the travellers were pointing fingers at the sky, some of them gasping looking up. Curious, I got off the bus and joined them and I can never forget the sight above me. Spread across the dark cloudless sky was the gentle curve of the milky way, like jewels spread across the black satin cloth. There I was face-to-face with millions and billions of stars and galaxies, the light from which were emitted some billion years ago. So right there besides the dhaba at night in my shorts and a tiny t-shirt, I had my "at-one-with-the-universe" moment. Magical.
LIGHT POLLUTION AND HOW TO TACKLE IT:
We are rapidly losing our view of the night sky due to unnecessary and inefficient lighting systems. Fortunately, light pollution is one of the easiest pollution problem to tackle. Using droplights wherever necessary reduces the light pollution and increases the lighting efficiency.
Dark skies are a precious asset and should be preserved for our future generations. There is nothing more tragic than a frustrated stargazer. We tend to lose our perspective about our place in cosmos. The constellation of Orion on a clear night sky with no light pollution looks magnificent whereas the picture taken of the same constellation in a typical metro looks like a pale imitation.
"I have long thought that anyone who does not regularly--or ever-- gaze up and see the wonder and glory of a dark night sky filled with countless stars loses a sense of their fundamental connectedness to the universe."
-Dr. Brian Greene, physicist and author of the best selling book, "The Elegant Universe."