E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: After the exciting launches of Chandrayaan I and II, the government quickly announced the dates for a manned spacecraft to land on the moon in the third Chandrayaan mission.
Along with space scientists, ISRO thought they should include the ‘Aam Admi’ for the historic mission. Applications were invited from various groups for possible selection. While some genuinely wanted to serve the cause of ISRO, others wanted to send their opponents thinking it may end up as a one-way ticket.
Since ISRO was planning to send a lunar vehicle, the all India truckers association chief Tractor Singh wanted a member of their association to be included in the team.
“Driving in the potholes of Grand Trunk road has given us the backbreaking experience of tackling any surface. Iske samne Chandrama kya chheez hain? We have enough experience of pushing our trucks even if the axle breaksdown in moon,” thundered Singh.
The Keraleeya Packet Lunch Sangham was the next to meet the ISRO chief.
“All we ever need is just a ladle and bandlee. With that we can whip up any food—Chinese, Punjabi, Mughalai, Chettinad, Udupi or any food which our astronauts want. If ISRO wants our scientists to come back safe and sound, better include our cooks as we can prepare food for any stomach to digest,” said their secretary.
Politicians, businessmen and sports stars too jumped into the fray.
The CPM chief Prakash Karat wanted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to be packed off with the 123 agreement neatly folded in his packet with a quicker countdown ‘321’ for blastoff. He offered to finance the project from the Leftists’ fund and raise more money from China if necessary.
The PM on the other hand wanted ISRO to send both Advaniji and Karat so that they could at least form a Progressive Party in moon.
Mamta Banerjee, having evicted the Tatas from Singur, thought Moon would be an ideal place for the Nano Project. But here too she wanted only 400 acres to be earmarked for Nano and not a square inch more.
Ratan Tata suggested they would bear all the costs, if the trigger-happy Ms Banerjee could be packed off to moon and beyond so that she could do as many dharnas as she wished to. They thought the lunar terrain somehow agreed with her mental makeup.
Each of the feuding Ambani brothers wanted the other sibling sent to moon. Looking at the tumbling share market, Dalal Street and Nifty wanted both of them to be sent to moon to start their new ventures there without troubling the courts ever so often.
Cricket too had its share of choices.
Former Chairman of selectors Dilip Vengsarkar, who originally wanted Sourav Ganguly to go to moon to practice fielding, has had a change of heart. Now he wants the new chairman of selectors dashing Kris Srikkanth be sent to sharpen his skill in logic and reasoning and practice running commentary in his spare time.
Closer home, H.D. Kumaraswamy, the former chief minister, thought B.S. Yediyurappa would be the ideal candidate for moon to maintain communal harmony in Karnataka.
The story doing the rounds in mining circles is that the CM, who talks only in terms of crores of rupees these days, has reportedly promised Rs 1,000 crore if the entire family of Deve Gowda migrates to Moon. When last reports came they were still negotiating the price and dates.
While ISRO is in a fix wondering whom to select from Aam Janata, they are also happy about the choices available to them for future lunar missions.
Do you have any candidate whom you wish to serve in moon?