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Emotional reunion of two space heroes
Bedika in New Delhi | February 08, 2008 16:52 IST
It was a long-awaited meeting of two space heroes after a gap of 24 years.
Delhi witnessed the emotional reunion of two friends -- Indian space man Rakesh Sharma and Soviet cosmonaut Anatoly Borozovoy -- who trained together for the historic launch of the 1984 Indo-Russian manned space mission.
"It is a very special feeling to meet Anatoly after all these years. We had lost touch in all these years but now as I met him today, it seems that time has passed so quickly but things between us remain the same," an emotional Sharma told PTI after the reunion.
"He was the commander of the back-up crew when my own crew was training for the space flight. Those were unforgettable moments," he said.
Sharing his happiness over the reunion, Borozovoy said, "It is one of the happiest days of my life in the last 24 years."
On his second visit to India, Borozovoy fondly recalled his meeting with the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi [Images] in 1984.
He said, "When she first met us, she told us, 'I have a toothache but you have left me no time to fix my tooth'. We were touched because I felt it was very human on her part. She was like a mother to us. This kind of care and attention is never forgotten," he said.
The duo will now reunite in a training programme. Borozovoy and Sharma will conduct space lessons for Indian children at the ongoing 18th New Delhi World Book Fair.
Sharma recalled his long association with Russia [Images] and the deep bonds which he formed with the people of that country during his training for the space mission.
"I have had the chance to work with many foreigners, but I feel that culturally, we are closest to the Russians. They are quite like us, very emotional, easy to cry and easy to laugh," Sharma said.
Borozovoy, who has conducted several workshops, is quite impressed by the attention he received from the Indian children. "The kids were really interested in what I told them, very talented. That's my impression of them," he said.
Borozovoy's advice to the young space aspirants who lined up to take his autograph was, "You must have a dream and the wish to realise the dream with skill and perseverance. As a kid, I was inspired by Yuri Gagarin, but it took me 21 years and a lot of hard work to finally realise my dream."
Sharma on his part has one more wish after the reunion, to visit Russia once again.
"I have told Borozovoy about my wish to come back to Russia for a nostalgic trip. In 1984, it was all work as the launch date was fixed and we had to work hard to realise it," Sharma said.