'A wrinkle in the dress,' is what the Himalayas looked like for Indian-American astronaut Sunita Williams as she looked down on Earth during her six-month-long stay in the International Space Station.
Williams shared her maiden space flight experience with journalists in Delhi on Monday after a meeting with Union Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal, who said, India held such a special significance for the astronaut that she flew out of America on her birthday on September 19 for the week-long India trip.
"For ordinary people like us looking at the Himalayas is an enormous moment, but for Sunita viewing the same object from space is like a wrinkle in the dress," Sibal said adding, "we are very proud of you. Every Indian is proud of you and you are a source of inspiration for all Indians."
"When I looked at earth from space I did not think of the Earth as divided by boundaries or territories, but as an entity in itself where all human beings are one," said Williams who is the second woman of Indian origin after Kalpana Chawla to be in space.
"The entire thought process takes on a different dimension in space," Williams said adding, "when you are in space, you do things differently, there are no boundaries so you have a different stance for the same things."
"We create boundaries for ourselves when we need to be doing things together. We must realise that we need each others much more," Williams said.
When Sibal joked that he knew that she liked the Boston Red Sox who were the opponents of New York Yankees, who were his favourites, Sunita laughed and said, "Yes. I hope that the differences remain just so."
The astronaut suggested that it was not necessary to go into space to have a different level of thought.
"There are a lot of astute and smart people who were able to do so without going to space. Mahatma Gandhi whom I admire and respect was one such great leader that India has produced," she said.
Commenting on the new generation space exploration programmes, Williams said, "I am looking forward to the new generation of explorers to the Moon and Mars," she said.
"If you have determination, will and a dream, you can achieve what you want. You will perhaps reach a point where it would be difficult, but that will be temporary and you can soon get ahead," Williams said adding, she was impressed by her visit to the country and especially liked the talent and determination among children in India.