From Outer Space by Purnima Sharma
School: Gyan Mandir Public School
An astronaut Sunita Williams visits India, she talks about her space sojourn and life back on earth.
She had a long sojourn in space, but couldn’t have enough of it. “The six and a half month I spent up there went by so quickly … there was incredible, but before we knew it we wee doing our space walks, then the crew changed and we were getting ready for the shuttle, “ says Astronaut Sunita Williams.
Although well-prepared for her stay in space, “the practical side of it all confronts you when Sunita actually get there,” says Sunita.
“It was good functionally. And I didn’t mind floating there all the time. It felt very natural, very normal,” she laughs. And no time was she homesick is earth wick.
“Once in a while when I’d gaze down at the earth, I’d wonder what it’d be like to go down and touch it, but that was it. I didn’t want to get back because pace is such a great place “ she says.
However, the first thing Sunita wanted to do when she landed in California was to take a shower and go to swim. “The first few hours were spent very wobbly. And hour by our the body got used to the earth’s gravity, things improved.” And what she actually did was “to keep asking for lots of fluids because I was feeling completely dehydrated.”
Asked if she was apprehensive when the crew discovered the gap in the outer covering of the space shuttle she says, “Once we settled it, there was nothing to worry about.”
Talking about how the earth looks like from up there, she says, “when you look down at it from the space station, it look so different. And the one thought that keeps coming back to your mind is that borders don’t matter, they are jut, here on the map. They shouldn’t exist at all.”
Ask Sunita if becoming an astronaut was a childhood dream come true, she laughs, “I had once toyed with the idea of becoming a vet, then followed my brothers into the US Navel Academy because he’d told me about the kind of possibilities that existed there, “she laughs. The ideas of becoming an astronaut hit her when, soon after she was flying helicopters, she met astronaut John Young.
“He told me he once flew helicopters too. That’s when I wandered, if I should give it a shot too. “ Of course, her friend Kalpana Chawla had also encouraged her. “She was always a wonderful friend, an amazing friend, she was one of those who really took big steps to follow her dreams and become an astronaut.
And today, he fact that Sunita has become a hero for so many people surprises her, “I don’t think of myself as a hero. I just think I was at the right place at the right time, getting wonderful opportunities and the support of my parents.”
What is her message for the youngsters today? “Dream. Infact, all of us astronaut should go and talk to children, and tell them that if they want to, they can also do the things we have done.” And that’s what she’d like to do while she is India.
“I’m really looking forward to it all.” After all, being an Indian is a part of who I am.