Published on March 7th, 2012 | by drkkr
Waving at the Skies and Dreaming about SPACE
29 Feb 2012 : Today is a day that comes only with a leap year … and this year begins with a leap into outer space!
18.25 : My heart was pounding …. 3000 students filled the auditorium with the energy of expectation. All eyes riveted at one point. The technical team was, as NASA puts it, ‘all systems go’. When I turned towards the host of the evening, Alvin Saldanha (who I think is a bit like a walking encyclopaedia and taking dictionary), I was shocked to see his eyes welling up with tears. I just shook him and said “Al!!!” and he mumbled: “Ram, this is huge”.
We were all waiting for the Guest of Honour of the latest episode of Face to Face. This is an event I designed 13 years back purely to educate students in an interesting way, and give them a live experience of extraordinary people. Over the years this event has featured people from far and wide … some of India’s leading lights have arrived to grace it, and we recently celebrated our 150th Face to Face with Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.
This evening, the U.S.Consulate of America, in association with GRD School of Commerce and International Business, took Face to Face to another level …. the Guest of Honor was Sunita Williams, the famous NASA Astronaut, who holds the record of the longest spaceflight for women space travelers. Very few really accomplished women are better known than her worldwide. With disarming humility, she prefers to percieve herself as ‘just another person involved in the space business’, she holds an iconic status in the minds of millions. Sunita was here to share her views with our students in a live video appearance. All of us packed ourselves into the giant stadium to listen to this amazing woman who proved that one can have the rarest of achievements just by pursuing the passion to explore.
18.30: Sunita Williams appears on our screens, dressed in regulation NASA flight uniform, and her image fills multiple screens.The entire auditorium was thrilled and amidst deafening applause erupts, this illustrious lady first reaction, a cheerful, warm: “Hi, everybody…”
Even though I have been blogging all these years, I have decided not to show case the Sunita Williams Face to Face through my words, rather just showcase this event as it is: Here is the video link of the electifying and inspiring Face2Face ever …. live streamed from Moscow, for those who missed it, and those who want to relive it. I have uploaded it on my blog. But that night i could not sleep out of pure joy and excitement. Thank you Team U.S.Consulate of America and all officers at DC,NASA and Moscow for making this happen. Thanks is not sufficient for those lovely students and faculty for being there when it mattered the most.
Watch the Entire Episode live on http://conx.state.gov/media/face-to-face-with-astronaut-sunita-williams/