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Sunita Williams Honored

Sunita Williams Honored

Event: Sunita Williams Honored (w/video)
Report: Ruchi M

TV Asia

Sunita Williams receiving Padma Bhushan

Large number of Houstonians gathered at the Madras Pavilion on June 25, 2008 where the Consul General of India SM Gavai along with his wife Rina Gavai handed over the Padma Bhushan, (India’s second highest civilian award) to Indian American astronaut Sunita Williams.

{Video Courtesy – TV Asia}

Dressed in purple salwar kurta Sunita spoke with modesty and mingled well with the community who embraced her and her father Deepak Pandya with warm hearts. “I cannot believe Sunita has grown up. For me I still remember the day when she sat on my lap”, remembered Deepak.

Dinner with Sunita Williams

Daughter of Deepak Pandya, of Gujarati descent, and Slovenian mother, Williams feels it was an advantage as she got a little of both cultures. Her mother is a Catholic Christian and father a Hindu. “I think I grew up to appreciate and tolerate both religions. I went to the church and I always have my ganesha with me,” says Sunita.

Reflecting upon her recent space experience Williams feels that a lot needs to be done as she is still busily working at NASA in Houston, Texas. “It was just an amazing experience. While flying we could see how thin the atmosphere is and felt that it needs to be protected,” says Sunita. “It’s beautiful! My colleagues and I were awestruck with the view from on top. From there one sees no borders and we wondered how could someone argue on this beautiful planet, leave alone have any hatred,” she added.

What sets her apart? Her humbleness. She never missed thanking all her well wishers in India and United States who have prayed and loved her all the way.

Photos courtesy: Bijay Dixit.

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