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18th January 2001 - Page 2

The Incident

Samar's blood curdling scream rent the air and she ran down the stairs to the safety of her bedroom. The single bed in a plain room painted in white, provided her the security that she wanted after that traumatic incident. The incident that had cost her everything in her life. She was still fighting to come to terms with what happened so long ago. Sinking on her bed, she shut her eyes to stop from crying. This had to stop. She would not let her past dictate her future, she wasn't like this. 
The fun loving, starry-eyed child of the yesteryear was hidden somewhere inside her. She needed an outlet, to bloom and fell the simple pleasures that life could provide. And today she has decided to give her that opportunity. To give her what one man had so ruthlessly and relentlessly taken away from her, her childhood, her innocence, her laughter and everything else that mattered. She will not shut her out from the world; she will let her tell her story. 
The June afternoon is still clearly etched into her memory, the still air, the fragrance from the guava tree and the dull motion of the swing under the tree. She was wandering around the garden, her flighty eight-year old imagination taking her into her own special world - the world where her dead mother was, where she herself mothered little children.
Her ayah was expecting her father today and had made her wear her best frock. She really did feel quite important that day - like a little princess that no one ever tampered with or ill-treated. 
Suddenly she raised her head, as if some sixth sense had warned her - as if some ill omen had presented itself to her. There was a car coming up the drive - the guard rushed to open the gate. 
She saw no reason to emerge from her dreamworld, because she often preferred it to other people's company. But - what was this! Who was this long long man; on closer observation, she saw that he had a dark, gaunt face. Finally recognition dawned - but he had been away - far-far away, the ayah had said. He was her father. They greeted each other with reserve, almost like strangers. Each was expressionless - and each was fraught with nervousness. But there was another man with her father - HE.
He said he was her father's friend. He had a gentle caring look on her face but she was afraid. Children can be more perceptive, more observant, at times, and this was a man that petrified her - she stood rooted on the spot and almost stopped breathing in fear. The man offered her a toffee, he'd got it from abroad he said, but she threw it away when he was out of sight. They went indoors for lunch, a meal that had been prepared with a lot of care but she did not eat. She could feel the man's eyes on her all the time….
Her father carried her to her bedroom as usual for her afternoon nap. This was something her father did when he was not away- just a routine he followed. When alone in the room she stared around the room - at all her dolls, the drawn curtains and a faintly musty smell. Then the door opened……
She lay still in her bed, giving way to the tears that threatened to choke her. It was her father's friend. He had ruined her life, he had robbed her of her childhood, her future and her right to dream happily.

Sadhvi Khanna 
XI - B

Did man really walk on the Moon???

Did man really walk on the Moon or was it the ultimate camera trick, asks David Milne?
The greater lunar lie. In the early hours of May 16, 1990, after a week spent watching old video footage of man on the Moon, a thought was turning into an obsession in the mind of Ralph Rene. "How can the flag be fluttering," the 47-year old American kept asking himself, "when there's no wind on the atmosphere free Moon?"
That moment was to be the beginning of an incredible Space odyssey for the self- taught engineer from New Jersey. He started investigating the Apollo Moon landings, scouring every NASA film, photo and report with a growing sense of wonder, until finally reaching an awesome conclusion: America had never put a man on the Moon. The giant leap for mankind was fake.
It is of course the conspiracy theory to end all conspiracy theories. But Rene has now put all his findings into a startling book entitled NASA Mooned America. The story lifts off in 1961 with Russia firing Yuri Gagarin into space, leaving a panicked America trailing in the space race. At an emergency meeting of Congress, President Kennedy proposed the ultimate face-saver, put a man on the Moon. With an impassioned speech he secured the plan an unbelievable 40 billion dollars. And so, says Rene (and a growing number of astro-physicists are beginning to agree with him), the great Moon hoax was born.
Between 1969 and 1972,Seven Apollo ships headed to the Moon. Six claim to have made it, with the ill-fated Apollo 13 - whose oxygen tanks apparently exploded halfway - being the only casualties. But with the exception of the known rocks, which could have been easily mocked up in a lab, the photographs and film footage are the only proof that the Eagle ever landed. And Rene believes they're fake.

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