Handing A Jr an encyclopaedia that was way too heavy for him to even hold in his tiny hands and taking him to the Nehru Planetorium, Worli when he was just about 3 years old was entirely my doing. While a reluctant A kept elbowing me unremittingly for burdening him with too much information, I went ahead abashedly since I had discovered how receptive he was even at that young age!
A Jr loved looking at pictures and the chapter on space in his encyclopaedia was his favourite. Understandably, he couldn’t remember names of many planets back then but he did ask intelligent questions like why is one bigger than the other, why does only one have rings or why do they have different colours, and I tried to answer them all as earnestly and simply as I could.
Hence, to say that A Jr was thrilled when I received the Colgate space adventure pack would be a serious understatement. Before I could even cut-out the images from the pack he had begun spinning one story after another, trying hard to keep Angel’s curious hands from tearing away his space muses. As expected, he featured prominently in his space odyssey and made Angel as old as him so he could take her along!
A Jr and Angel are both 8 years old and love to read from the ‘Space book’ that their mother got for them when they were younger. Angel’s friend Pony often joins them in exploring the space world. They look at pictures in the book and then stare longingly at the night sky from their balcony wondering how it would be like to travel to those celestial bodies and see them for real.
Their mother and teachers are encouraging of their dreams, but their classmates often pick on them for talking about ABJ Abdul Kalam, Indian astronauts, satellites, space shuttles, UFOs, befriending aliens, rovers or rocket launchers relentlessly. Yet, all three of them continue with their imaginary space journey, confident that some day their time will surely come.
One day, a scientist from ISRO comes to their school to talk about the emergency situation they are facing with a few naughty kid aliens and how they would like a few fearless earth kids to help control them. A Jr and his space junkies are the first to volunteer for this exciting space mission and are completely ecstatic as it feels like living the dream they’ve all been seeing for a long time.
They interact with real scientists who’re harried because of the destruction of their property on Mars by aliens. They train extensively in their custom-made space suits and learn to drive a space car (without a valid license). When they are armed and ready, they take off in the rocket to Mars! Once there, alien kids attack on them and they respond with their own guns. However, soon enough all of them get tired (as they are all kids) and decide to take a break.
They don’t know each other’s language, but in time they realise that they aren’t that much different from each other. While A Jr and team give alien kids their chocolates and teach them how to operate the rover, the alien kids help them in putting back their broken stuff together and promise to never harm it again. They also give A Jr and his friends a sophisticated inter-planetary phone to keep in touch with them!
While looking at earth from space, they suddenly get homesick and realise how tiny they are compared to the vastness of the universe. Beyond doubt, after this adventure A Jr, Angel and Pony are the undeniable heroes of their school and the country and are loved and adulated by everyone for their bravery!