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May 25: Towel Day

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May 25 is home to a lot of festivals. Key amongst them is Geek Pride Day, celebrating the premiere of the first Star Wars

But this time on May 25, please carry a towel around in honor of the rather famous Douglas Adams. Any kind of towel would do, but a towel it is. It is why this day was created. We carry a towel, and take photographs of ourselves and send them to other Adams fans, put them on the web. And hope that it transforms into a festival that transcends cultures and gender, bound by only a common devotion to Douglas Adams. Does a mortal deserve such honor? If you ever came across any of his writings, or talked to a fan of his, this question would have never crossed your mind

For the uninitiated, Douglas Noel Adams (DNA) was one of the greatest satirists of our generation. He was a writer and dramatist who authored The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (hg2g), amongst many other books and radio scripts. He was a brilliant comic writer, and his writing was a perfect amalgamation of science and comedy. As a writer, he brought brilliant freshness to the field with his technophilic ramblings and a perceptive view of the world. Since then he has had an asteroid named after him, as well as after a character of his. Babelfish, the software translator tool, is named after a fictional fish created by the author in the series The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

An environmental activist, a staunch atheist, an amateur scientist, and a cult favorite amongst geeks for many decades now, he died on May 11, 2001. Towel Day, first held two weeks later, was a commemoration of a creative genius by his devoted fans. It started off as a post in a forum in some obscure corner of the internet but is now threatening to become a regular annual event, and with good reason.

Why a towel? The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy extols the usefulness of the towel and fans of the classic book will concede that the towel is the most useful object to carry if you ever need to hitch a ride around the galaxy.

So carry a towel on May 25 every year, if you are a DNA fan. Hopefully other fans will be doing the same. Isn't this how great festivals are made: when people come together to honor a human who has touched their lives in some way, brought a smile to the faces of many, and all-in-all given back something positive to the world?

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About P Chandra

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    DNA lives.