So, I have never conducted an interview before and am scared to speak to new people as I know that I am bound to stammer.

“Hey, this is Soham here from Awestrich,” I said trying my best not to stammer.
“Yeah yeah yeah, Soham tell me.”

“Firstly, I stammer a bit, hope that’s not a problem.” I manage to say after stammering for a couple of seconds.
“No no no no, it’s perfectly fine, go ahead.”

And thus, began my interview with Chintamani Pai, one of the founding members and the brains behind Space Geeks.

“As we are collaborating for the event Astrophile, can you give me a basic introduction to what Space Geeks is?”
“We all are research students, Ankush, Virendra and me. Ankush is working right now at NASA in solar physics. Virendra just finished his PhD in Space science and I am working towards my PhD in Nanomaterials. We have worked professionally in the field of space science and have published papers as well. We always wanted to have an outreach activity. The idea struck us last year and we started conducting such activities.”

“How did you guys meet?”
“We started various activities when pursuing our masters but we have been in contact even before that. Our very first project was in 2010-11 when there was an annular solar eclipse and we wanted to measure the radiation coming from space – cosmic rays. Ankush took the initiative and I joined in later and thus we started then. In the past we have conducted 2 scientific expeditions, to observe total solar eclipse in China and the annular one at Rameswaram and have also published a scientific paper on it.”

“You are one busy bunch!”
“Yes yes! Some of our other major interest was in meteor showers for which we even made a portable system through which we could observe the showers.”

Astrophile

“Is that the image that I saw on your Facebook?”
“Yeah yeah”

“That’s impressive work. Space Geeks and Awestrich are conducting the event Astrophile on the 16th of December, would you tell me a little more about this event? What’s so special on the 16th that the event is scheduled on that day?”
“Basically, we plan to observe the meteor shower called as the Geminids’ meteor shower. It is called so because the meteors appear to be emerging radially outwards from the constellation Gemini. There is this institute IMO, International Meteor Organisation that tracks and predicts when such showers occur and this year the shower is predicted to occur around the 2nd week of December.
These are slightly slow-moving bodies, travelling at the speed of 35 km per sec hence making them visible for a longer time. Also, being larger in size they sometimes form a fireball while entering the atmosphere.”

“It is pretty evident from this conversation that you are very fascinated by the sky and space above. How did this fascination begin?”
“The fascination is… I mean how to put is, most of the people around are so involved in their daily lives that you hardly look up at the sky, the infinite cosmo; and we forget that, as Carl Sagan said, we are ultimately stardust.
We hardly give time to think about such questions. How stars shine, is the cosmos finite? What’s at its border? These questions have been coming to me since my childhood days and that’s where my fascination begins.
And these are interesting topics to read about. You don’t require a background in science to pick it up and read about it.”

Yes, typically astronomy attracts everyone. Physics and biology may not be as attractive but space captures attention. People love attending events like AstrophileAlright Chintamani, it was a pleasure talking to you and getting to know more your efforts to educate people and share your knowledge. Wish you the very best in your research.”
“The pleasure was mine, thank you.”

And thus, ended my first real interview. Not as scary as I thought it would be.