If given a chance, we all would certainly discard the chaotic city life and lose ourselves in the wilderness of a jungle or in the mountain trails of the mighty Himalayas, where we will be solely in the company of a million stars to guide us in our journey.
“I have been very curious about the night sky since childhood and always wanted to explore it. So I had given up opportunities of a more settled life without any regrets, just to stay close to what I love,” says this 29-year-old guy from Delhi.
In a candid conversation with Life Beyond Numbers, the founder of AstroWanderer, Abhinav Dubey tells us about his dreams, hopes, his self-funded initiative and why bringing back astronomy in people’s lives is important.
The idea behind AstroWanderer was to form a community of people who are willing to travel, seek the darkest skies and make considerable effort to preserve it from the ever-increasing light pollution.
Started in October 2017, AstroWanderer is an initiative by Abhinav, who is determined to bring astronomy back into the lives of people as he believes that it is an important aspect of the human civilization.
Curious about the night sky?
“I took the initiative to more structured level and turned it into a venture. Later, two of my friends Shagun and Mohseen joined me and together we have done wonderful projects till date,” says elated Abhinav.
Recalling his childhood memories, Abhinav says, “The best and the most hilarious incident, I can think of is getting caught by my father as I was sneaking out to the terrace in the middle of the night to observe a meteor shower and everyone later thought that I am under the spell of some ghost.”
Awareness about Astronomy
“Turn the pages of history and you will see astronomy has always been an integral part of human civilization. Our festivals, agricultural events, navigation, pretty much everything is linked to astronomical observations. But with the passage of time as the society developed and we lost our clear starry skies to artificial lights, the significance of astronomical observation slowly faded away,” says Abhinav.
Initially, to generate awareness about the night sky, the team has been organizing Astronomy-themed tours for the last two years.
“While teaching astronomy to school kids, we have realized that how the subject broadens their horizon of knowledge. It impacts a child’s mind in a positive manner and inspires them to do better. With our curated educational programs, we are partnering with numerous schools pan India to deliver them the knowledge through practical experiences.”
Currently, the initiative focuses on two domains – Travel and Education. Apart from this initiative, Astrophotography, trekking, cycling, and wildlife keeps Abhinav busy.
Even though Abhinav was born in Bhagwanpur in Varanasi, he now stays with his family in Delhi’s Janakpuri.
“I come from a family background where I have seen people killing their dreams and passions to earn a living. So, it was very clear what I wanted to do with my life. I have often given up opportunities of more settled life to stay close to my interest and I don’t regret it.”
Under the blanket of starry skies
The team currently focusses on weekend stargazing excursions and has come up with longer astronomy workshops and Astrophotography training soon. All our events have got participations exceeding our expectations, so we are lucky on that part of it’s just that everyone loves to be under the blanket of starry skies.
The team conducted a tour related to the observation of Geminids Meteor Shower from 14-15 December 2018 which turned out to be a huge success. Starting from February this year, they are looking forward to stargazing weekend excursions from Delhi.
On asking what motivates him to keep moving forward, Abhinav says, “I am lucky enough to be surrounded by parents and friends who strongly believe in me and my ideas. This gave me enough motivation to initiate something like AstroWanderer. And the amazing response and feedback that our team got in our last event will keep us motivated to drive it further.”
To youngsters, Abhinav says, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life” and we should never give up our passions, rather we should invest and strive hard with whatever we have to keep our dreams alive.
So what’s next on the list? “This year is of great importance to us and we have planned numerous tours for 2019 and are planning to replicate the weekend stargazing tours in Mumbai, Pune, and Bangalore by the end of this year,” concludes Abhinav.
Coldplay’s “Look at the stars, how they shine for you..”- a suggestion for your playlist when you are on your stargazing tour.