Jupiter: The teacher


Surprised to see me back so soon?

Well, so am I!

Guess I thought it was best to make hay while my flair for writing still shone bright, after all!

Anyways, today I am presenting to you a short story which I had been pondering over for quite some time. Because for some reason, the plot didn’t seem to gather enough steam to establish itself as a post on it’s own.

In fact, I am still wondering whether the content is adequate enough.

Regardless, however, I have decided to go ahead with publishing it.

So now it’s up to you guys to decide that for me and let me know whether the story qualifies as a standalone or whether it needed more material to make it so.

Jupiter: The teacher

“What is the name of that star?”

A chilling breeze blew past our faces, deepening the hue of our already rosy cheeks as we stood all alone on the deck of the now deserted observatory, taking in the breathtaking view all around us whilst gratefully sipping from a mug of warm coffee, which was our only source of warmth at the godforsaken hour.

“And that one?” she childishly asked for the umpteenth time as I solemnly named numerous stars in the sky for her entertainment.

“Which one?” I asked, my eyes twinkling only slightly.

“See? There. The one which is shining the most” she said, pointing towards a heavenly body burning brightly all by itself.

“That, my dear, is not a star.” I replied, as my amusement finally made itself evident on my lips.

“Really? But it’s shining so brightly!” she exclaimed, not quite believing it.

“Yes, it does. In fact, it’s actually the 4th most bright object in the sky.”

Intrigued, she tore her gaze away from the said object and turned to look at me, her eyebrow raised inquisitively.

“Which are the 1st 3?”

“Oh, let me see. There’s obviously you…” I began in a serious tone, placing the tip of my thumb atop the little finger as if counting manually.

“Shut up!” she exclaimed, playfully punching me on the shoulder as she laughed in good humour.

“I mean, everyone knows about the sun and the moon. Who comes 3rd?” she asked, as she took yet another sip from her mug.

“Venus.” I answered.

“Seriously? A planet?!” she exclaimed, her voice incredulous.


“Huh” she said, her eyes gaining a glassy appearance as if lost in thought.

“What?” I asked, perplexed.

“Well… don’t you think it’s a bit weird that a planet can shine brighter than all the gazillion stars in this goddamned universe!” she replied

“Not really. It’s all about relative distance, dear. The reason Venus shines so bright is because it’s a hell of a lot closer to us than any of the stars we see around us.” I explained, my gaze locking on to the object she had pointed at only minutes ago.

“I know, but still…” she trailed as her eyes followed suit.

For a while not a word was exchanged as we allowed the absolute silence of our surroundings to take over.

This was exactly why I loved coming to this place over and over again. For only on arriving at this deserted countryside, faraway from noise of all kinds could one truly appreciate how insignificant they really were in this infinitely vast universe. After all, despite their gigantic size, the stars could all but twinkle like tiny grains of sand, rendered powerless by the expanse that separated them from us. And it’s precisely this what one should remind themselves of whenever they shone a little too bright for their own good.

“You still haven’t told me what that object is, by the way.” she said, her voice cutting through the air like a whip.

Snapping out of my reverie, I gulped whatever remained of the now lukewarm coffee before replying,

“Well, we have pretty much covered the base of what it is in the conversation we just had.”

“What do you mean? Is it another planet?” she asked, turning to face me yet again.

“Yes. The object which we have been gazing at is none other than Jupiter, the largest of all the planets in our solar system.” I replied, returning her earnest gaze with a smile.

“Interesting.” she said.

“What’s even more interesting, however, is that not only does Jupiter shine brighter than any of the stars in the night sky, but that it’s also called by a few astronomers as ‘The failed star'” I continued.

“Oh. Let me guess. Because it shines brighter than any star?” she eagerly asked.

“No. Because, if it had been more massive, it could have been a brown dwarf, which is the smallest of all stars.”

Well, that sucks.” she replied, sounding bummed out.

“Yeah, it does.” I said, bemused.

“But I don’t get it. Why call it a failed star just because it doesn’t have enough mass?” she asked again.

“It’s not just that, actually. It also because it’s composition is almost identical to that of a star, and yet it lacks the mass necessary to make it burn like one.” I explained.

“But why call it a failed star when it so obviously isn’t one?” she asked, her curious voice now underlined by a tone of annoyance.

Surprised at her persistence, I attempted to elaborate the concept yet again.

“As I said, it’s just because of the composition and size of the planet, that’s all! If it had been more massive..”

“How much ‘more’?” she said, interrupting my monologue.

“Well… at least 13 times more…” I said, sounding sheepish for the first time since the start of our conversation.

“But the point is…” I began, before she cut through my explanation yet again.

“No. See? Don’t you get it?! This is exactly what is wrong with calling Jupiter a failed star!” she exclaimed with a fervor that seemed completely out of place with the scientific dialogue we had been having.

“I mean, not only does Jupiter revolve around a star that is much more massive than itself, but it’s also not even close to have enough mass to be a star! It’s not a matter of science. It’s a matter of human perception!” she said.

“Why call something a failed star when it could be called as the largest planet? Why criticise something for what it was never meant to be and fail to appreciate the magnificence of the qualities it does possess?

The way I see it not only is Jupiter the largest planet in our solar system, but it also is the brightest star* in the night sky of our planet, at least.”

Now I got it. She hadn’t been debating about the scientific explanation after all. Rather, she had been presenting a psychological/philosophical argument to me all along. An argument which wasn’t just pondered upon by a handful of astronomers but the one which we always faced in our daily lives.

The argument of whether a glass was half full or half empty.

“Anyways, wasn’t it you who told me that a star, no matter how bright, would cease to be visible at some point or another, in space as well as in time?” she asked

“I did, yes.” I replied in a small voice, my mind conflicted with the contradictory feelings of shame for myself and immense pride for her.

“It’s sorted then. Jupiter is the brightest star as well as the largest planet. It never failed. We did.” she said, sounding jubilant.

“Actually, not all of us did.” I said as I suddenly remembered something.

“What do you mean?” she asked, confused.

“Do you know what the Hindus call the planet Jupiter?” I asked.

“No.” she replied, nonplussed.

“They call it ‘Guru’, meaning teacher or guide. Guess they know there’s a lot they could learn from it after all.” I said.

“Yeah. Guess they did.” she replied as our eyes met and our lips spread into a smile that we reserved only for the other.

And then, just like that I had yet another reason to keep visiting the place for years to come, a place which I could no longer call my solitude.

For now it was hers too.

* * *

*since moon is well…. a moon and as Venus only appears at the break of dawn or at the beginning of twilight, Jupiter can technically still be the brightest star for a layman.

P.S. :- My Lunar zodiac sign happens to be Sagittarius whose ruling planet, conincidentally, happens to Jupiter 🙂

35 Comments Add yours

  1. Wikipedia says : Sirius and Orion are brightest stars and constellations. I can see Orion everynight in this month in night from my roof. The light coming from these stars was transmitted gazillion years ago. Its a nice read.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. The Pensieve says:

      Well, Sirius and Orion are both constellations and not stars. So they don’t count as a single object which is what the post was about. So Jupiter is still the 4th most bright object in the sky, and 2nd most in the night sky.

      Thank you for your valuable feedback. Stay tuned! 😊

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I knew that. No contest on fourth. I see winter triangle everyday.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The Pensieve says:

          Oh. Cool then! I am not that well versed with star gazing and astronomy to be honest, but I have always been fascinated by them regardless.

          Good to read a review from someone more knowledgeable than me about this aspect.

          Stay tuned! 😊


  2. Ola G says:

    Lovely story! And educational as well 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The Pensieve says:

      Thanks a lot, Ola! Stay safe and stay tuned! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A well written tale!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Pensieve says:

      Thank you so much! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are welcome, Soumitra. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The Pensieve says:

          😅…. I am a bit surprised to hear that you know my name since I have rarely mentioned this on this site. Do we know each other personally? I’m sorry ‘cuz I don’t recollect your name in that case😅. Would be nice to know, if you don’t mind!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Lol Soumitra! No, we don’t know each other personally.
            I know your name because I am slightly most observant than others!😂
            Your name is right under your blog name.
            I am Punam. Nice to meet you. 😊

            Liked by 1 person

          2. The Pensieve says:

            Okay…. Well, that was embarrassing. ‘Cuz even I haven’t been that observant 🙈😂

            Nice to meet you too, Punam! 😊

            Liked by 1 person

          3. No worries…we often miss the most obvious! 😅

            Hope to read you more often.

            Liked by 1 person

          4. The Pensieve says:

            Very true indeed!

            Thank you for saying that. I’ll try writing more frequently 😅✌

            Liked by 1 person

  4. asthaisha says:

    Lovely 💖 beautifully written ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Pensieve says:

      Thanks a lot Astha! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Geri Lawhon says:

    Wonderful story and a splendid phot of Jupiter.


  6. Interesting read.
    What Jupiter says for 2021?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! 😊

      I’m sorry I didn’t get your question… What is that supposed to mean? 😅

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you.I am a lay man to figure it out.
        I did digress.
        Since Jupitor is GURUDEV, I thought whether he can guide us, in advance in 2021

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh… I see 😅

          Well, I am a layman when it comes to zodiacs and astrology, but I can tell you this:-

          On 21st December of this year, Jupiter and Saturn are going to be the closest they’ll be in about 800 years.

          Now, if you are aware, there’s a concept called ‘Sade sati’ meaning, 7&1/2 years of Saturn wherein Saturn shadows your ruling house for that period (It has a revolution time of 30 years, of which it spends 2&1/2 in each of 12 zodiac signs, thereby impacting their lives. )

          Currently, it’s Sagittarius (the sign ruled by Jupiter) which is coming out of Sadesati, while Capricorn is in the worst phase and Aquarius is in the entering phase of Sadesati. Both Capricorn and Aquarius are ruled by Saturn.

          So, astrologically speaking, people ruled by either Jupiter or Saturn now need to be more disciplined and focused on their actions. Because Saturn is a God of patience and discipline and punishes those who do wrong in this phase and rewards those who do right.

          Jupiter on the other hand governs healing, growth and prosperity. So people ruled by Saturn might have a brighter future coming their way as apposed to people ruled by itself as they will now be tested by Saturn worse than ever.

          Jupiter entering your zodiac sign is always a good chance for you to grow and achieve new heights. I am not really sure which zodiac sign it’s entering in 2021 though.

          But Jupiter would always advice you to move ahead in life, to grow and prosper and it will personally assist you in making a brighter future for yourself.

          Anyways, this all holds true only when you believe in astrology! Otherwise, just chill! 😅😂

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you doc for your detalied explanation.

    Appreciate for being kind and helpful

    So those people who are saggitarians are sure to have a wonderful time, now that Lord Saturn is leaving them after 7½ yrs.

    I hope this is correct if one were to believe in astrology.

    And now time to chill😄😄😄😂😂😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, it was totally my pleasure! 😁

      Yeah, as such Sagittarians do have better days coming their way, but it’s not until Jan 2023 that they will be completely free from the influence of Saturn.

      So, yeah, we have got a long way to go… 😔

      So yes, better just chill instead! 😂😂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are right.
        Just chill out and carry on…….

        Liked by 1 person

  8. AnuRijo says:

    Well articulated post..👍🏻

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks a lot Anu! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. AnuRijo says:

        Pleasure is all mine..Happy to stay connected 🙂😊

        Liked by 1 person

  9. masercot says:

    Seeing Jupiter’s moons was the clue Galileo needed to come up with his theory of a heliocentric solar system…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Sara James says:

    Nicely written, and glad to know that Jupiter is called Guru:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks a lot for your kind feedback Sara! 😊✌️

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Sheena says:

    Lovely story, very well told.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks a lot Sheena! 😊


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