Cosmonaut in Hergé’s Rocket
In his blog post, Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma fondly recollects
stumbling across a copy of “Destination Moon” in his father’s library,
mulling over the rocket’s red and white squares as HMT watches pushed
the nation, its million prejudices glued with Fevicol, toward
another era of fiascos. Reading between his lines, a portrait emerges--
not of the stoical hero of the Soviet Union, but just a commoner
whose honesty must navigate bad breath. In an excerpt from his fan
fiction based on the boy reporter’s adventures, the dog Snowy is renamed
the dog Sorry in what seems an ambitious attempt to address the feelings
of the majority, its mangy grievances. And this leads me to speculate
about his broadcast from space, flooding out of radios with patriotic fervor,
concealing how “Sorry” first became “ Saare", then “Jahan se Achcha”.
Poet's Note: "Saare Jahan se Achcha" refers to a patriotic song; it effectively means, “the loveliest country on earth” -it was also the cosmonaut’s response to then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who asked him how India looked from space.
Arjun Rajendran's first collection of poems Snake Wine was published by Les Editions du Zaporogue in February, 2014. He is currently working on the official biography of Baba Yaga.