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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

whalesongs.

"The humpback whale which is Megaptera novaeangliae is a Baleen whale....................................................is found in all the major oceans, in a wide band running from the Antarctic ice edge to 65° N latitude..................... There are at least 80,000 humpback whales worldwide,............................" the zoology professor droned on.

Sasha fought the wave of drowsiness overwhelming her and tried to listen to the professor's monologue on humpbacks.

"Both male and female humpback whales can produce sounds, however only the males produce the long, loud, complex "songs" for which the species is famous. Each song consists of several sounds in a low register that vary in amplitude and frequency, and typically lasts from 10 to 20 minutes.
Songs may be repeated continuously for several hours; humpback whales have been observed to sing continuously for more than 24 hours at a time.
As cetaceans have no vocal cords, whales generate their song by forcing air through their massive nasal cavities........
Whales within an area sing the same song, for example all of the humpback whales of the North Atlantic sing the same song, and those of the North Pacific sing a different song. Each population's song changes slowly over a period of years —never returning to the same sequence of notes.........
male humpback whales have been described as, "inveterate composers," of songs, "'strikingly similar' to human musical traditions"
the last lines caught her attention,
wow,she thought,maybe they even have "rock bands".
the lecture ended,and the students started making way out of the classroom. since it was the last lecture of the day,everyone were keen to get out of the class.

Sasha packed her belongings,said her goodbyes and left the room.
as she made her way home,she thought of the humpbacks and their "songs". in the small coastal town where she lived with her family,humpback sightings were normal. she knew of a spot in the high rocks which randomly seeded the coastline,from where you could see miles out into the sea.
humpback sightings were common from there.
she decided to go there after completing her work for the day.maybe she could meet a few humpbacks and tell them that she had a lecture on them in class that day,she thought as she raced the steps to her front door.


it was evening by the time Sasha made her way up the precarious volcanic rocks leading to the spot.she reached it and made herself comfortable for the watch.she had brought along a thermos of coffee and few chocolate bars for company.she had told her mother about her intention to stay for a couple of hours on watch.she needed the break too,after hours of collegework and homework and paper presentations and exam preparations.life as an undergrad student was difficult,she thought.

a few stars were visible in the horizon. in the distance,she could see random twinkling of ship lights.farther out still,she could discern a subtle change in the colour of the ocean.it was in these mysterious depths that the humpbacks travelled,singing their "whale songs."

as she thought of them,they gave her their sighting.a few of them were making their way across the waters.their stocky bodies and humps were vaguely visible in the dark,but what was very obviously discernible was their singing.

Sasha could hear repetitive,low tones,but somehow she felt that they sounded sad and melancholy.
she sat down on the rock overlooking the sea.the whales disappeared and so did their songs,into the hidden,ocean depths.

why are you so sad,she asked,why do you sing,what do you sing?
do these songs inspire other whales as human songs inspire us?she mused.

she looked at the vast ocean spread in front of her. she knew she wanted to be an oceanographer and would be specialising in the same for her Masters.there was something about the vastness of the ocean,which soothed her.she smiled as thought,that the trait seemed to run in the family genetically. her father was an exobiologist,the vast expanses of the universe gave him a high. her brother was a geologist,and specialised in desert terrain.again the vastness and mystery of sandy plains attracted him. her mother was a mathematician,and what was more infinite than numbers.

she looked at the stars,now completely visible as night had fallen.
she wondered if there was life somewhere in the unreachable expanses of the universe.
her father had told her once,that up there,when you look at the earth from outer space,when you see your blue globe hanging in the black backdrop,in the utter silence up there,you can discern the low vibrations,a low tune,to which the universe in attuned.
the tune of life,of the cosmos.
she wondered if the vibrations of the universe reached other ears and souls too.she wondered whether if she connected and send across a message in the same vibration,would anyone out there pick up her message or understand it.
sometimes,when she looked at the microorganisms from under the microscope she wondered if those tiny,invisible beings communicated with each other.
the same way she felt when she looked at the stars through her father's telescope,she wondered if someone was observing her back.

she looked back at the ocean,
what were you singing to each other,she wondered again.
will we ever learn to communicate to other species?
picking up her thermos,she made her way back home,and the stars winked and twinkled above her.


light years away,in another galaxy,in a tiny planet made from volcanic rocks and gases two beings worked away in what was very much like a laboratory.



xenolinguistics:



90() ()() ^(((( ()()()() \)( )\\\\
()() ^(((( ()()()() )( )\\\\
)( )\\\\90() 90() 90() 90() 90() 90()



roughly translated into English:



"what do you feel about them?" asked one being to another.

"i dont know,we have been observing them for so long now,i sometimes wonder what they say to each other...whether we will ever learn to communicate with them."said another as it continued observing a blue sphere,called "Earth".





(reference: for whalesongs and humpbacks,the reference used is wikipedia)

8 comments:

sam said...

u have a superb mind.....n contrary to what u believe.....i think u have amazing control over it. keep up the good work. :)

u really want to study oceanography, dont u? :)

iceprincess said...

:)
!()())()))||||||@

heehee
that is xenolingual for "thanks a ton"
yes,the ocean is something which tempts me frm time to time..heehee

DPhatsez said...

"I speak whale, I really do!"(Dory from Finding Nemo)

The alien[can i use xenomorph? :)] angle was cool.

There was once a time when my entire conversation was with them. I believed ET was real and he was my best friend.

p.s my First time: So hi!! do drop by my blog.

I must say you have one 'Scholarly' Family.
I'm reminded of 'BIONIC SIX' cartoons :)

arshat.chaudhary said...

xenolinguistics..such an informative and imaginative post.. I love the ocean too. One day I would like to have a small abode near the shore, or up on a mountain frm where the ocean is visible... we cancerians are something, arent we! :P

iceprincess said...

@DPatsez..thank u for appreciating the "xenomorph" angle....
am sure,someone out there listened to u,when u conversed with them...
just hope that they dont decide to annihilate our race or something....
as 4 d family.....it is a short story..FICTION..
i did drop by thy blog..u will see me again ....

iceprincess said...

@arshat...
u bet man...will visit u in ur seaside cottage..
after all we crabs do love the ocean....it beckons us...
:)
thank u..4 d appreciation...

Chronicwriter said...

you took me on a ride.. humpback whale fart?

www.chronicwriter.com

iceprincess said...

@chriz
:)
i guess,humpbacks are more artistically and literally advanced than us and prefer to call their verbal farts...whalesongs....
or maybe..we wish to call them whalesongs and glorify sounds that seem like farts.....
:P