Back in school, I managed to get a tattered old copy of Carl Sagan’s novel, Contact from our reasonably stocked school library. There were missing pages. I never got to the part where the book posits that the prime mover of the universe may have hidden (or placed) something within the digits of π that even a civilisation capable of traversing wormholes could not find.
I later bought my own copy which, thanks to my lax lending policies in college, managed to lose. A couple of years later, I received a copy as a birthday present from a friend. That copy is somewhere in a musty old shelf in India. Contact was the defining book of my childhood. It might be slightly facetious to suggest that a single book can have profound effect on the way one thinks today, but really, it’s not that far from the truth.
In 1996, Robert Zemeckis gave it the big-budget Hollywood treatment and was for most part, able to capture the essence of the book. Having just re-watched the film, I’m once again nostalgic for that sense of wonder, optimism and curiosity that books and films once instilled in an impressionable and easily amused thirteen year-old.
Watching the film again, weirdly, felt like revisiting my own origin story. It’s a nice origin story to have.