Video Conference With Sunnita Williams - Part 1 - How I ended up there...

Dec 27:

My phone rang. It said Prof. Mujumdar. This woman scares me, because she always teaches Design related subjects. I hate design. After debating on whether or not I ought to answer this, I answered, fearing the worst. I had to face her sooner or later. And what could happen at the worst?

Me: Hello, ma'am. This is Iyer.

People here call me by my Surname. I don't know why, but I do find it cool anyway.

Ma'am: Iyer, are you in college?

I was cutting class at that very moment and I was afraid that she might be inquiring about that. I had just hit bed for a nap after lunch. So I decided to lie.

Me: Yes, ma'am. I was even there this morning. (Remember, I came to the staff room searching for another crazy prof.)
Ma'am: Could you come and meet Prof. Nadgire?
Me: Er... (Oh my God! Was I in trouble? As the class representative I'd made my entire class cut more than a week right after the end of our vacation. I.e., I generously extended their vacation with the power of SMS. My classmates generally don't attend when I declare a common off. It's nice of them that way) Ma'am, do I have to come in uniform?

It was a Thursday. Mondays and Thursdays are uniform days. And right now, I'd changed back to my casual-wear.

Ma'am: It's alright. Just come.

I put on my jeans and rushed to college, afraid that I was going to be questioned. Not even fags could calm me down just then. No one was at the staff room. I checked the RAC lab right beside.

Me: Um... Prof. Nadgire? (I.e. who on earth is he?)
Sir: Yes, I'm Nadgire. You must be Iyer?
Me: Yes, sir.
Sir: Sunnita Williams is coming on Jan 3rd. And I would like you to suggest the names of 2 students to interact with her.
Me: Um... I would volunteer. But what is this all about?
Sir: Sunnita Williams! You don't know Sunnita Williams?
Me: Er... No. I think I missed the first time she was mentioned.
Sir: She's from NASA.
Me: Oh! I see. I'll volunteer, to begin with and...
Sir: The HOD has given me 2 names.
Me: Who are they, sir? (And why on earth did you ask me to suggest names?)
Sir: Suryawanshi and Khumbar. (Surnames again.)
Me: But sir, there are 2 Suryawanshi's in our class. Which one?
Prof #2: Komal!
Me: Ah alright.

Some profs probably believe that I'm a guy who gets things done in my class by virtue of being in contact with everyone. Prof. Mujumdar, although she doesn't like me that much, must have recommended my name for this.

Sir: Ask them if they're willing and if they are, get me their details.

I called Komal and she confirmed. But Arti Khumbar did not respond to my consistent attempts.

Me: Sir, Komal is ready to come. But Arti's not reachable. Has the HOD suggested any other names?

He made a call. And then...

Sir: I would like you to suggest me another student who could interact.
Me: I volunteer.
Sir: Alright.

But just to be fair...

Me: Sir, what if I do reach Arti later?
Sir: Alright, but I must send the details to the Principal by 4PM.

That wasn't going to happen. There was hardly an hour and 15 minutes left to 4 PM. Arti didn't respond until later in the evening.

Prof #3: You don't know Sunnita Williams?
Me: (Slightly embarrassed now) I think I've heard the name. But I just didn't make the connection.

Back home:

Me: Mom, I'm going to meet Sunnita Williams on Jan 3rd.
Mom: Wow! Get me her autograph! I'm a big fan of hers.

I narrated to her the conversation I had with Prof. Nadgire.

Mom: At least if you'd mistaken her with a Tennis player, I'd understand. But this is unacceptable.

Then she lectured me about how to do some research before I went to meet someone that great. And also told me how to take autographs.

That afternoon, I forgot my nap and looked her up on Wiki, and also some astronaut biography. Then I followed her on Twitter. Apparently, she's quite famous. Having read quite a bit now, I decided to show off. For the first time in my life, a guy and that to like me gt 30 likes on his status update.