Mr. Raj the class teacher had opened the window letting the cold breeze into the hotel room. Riya pulled over her blanket as it sent a jolt of shiver to her spine. In his typical croaky voice he announced that the vehicle will arrive by 10 and delivered his mandatory speech on punctuality and the punishments that followed if failed to be on time.
Riya, who was fortunate to get a chance to visit the United States with twenty other students jumped out of bed with sheer excitement. Her face beamed when the schedule of the day popped in her head. The renowned space organisation NASA! Riya who was fascinated by the space was always eager to grasp any knowledge available about the it. She took a quick shower and wore the best outfit she had ever purchased. Grabbing her diary she ran towards the lobby to meet Mr. Raj.
Slowly the bus pulled over in front of the huge board named NASA. A herd of journalists were swarming around the place and that’s when Mr.Raj briefed the students about the Apollo 11 which was to take off to the moon the next day. Riya thought how special she was to witness the revolutionary moment of human history. After an hour of procedures and formalities, finally the small excited bunch set off to see the space organisation. Mr. Raj in utmost serious tone instructed the students to not wander on their own. The tour began with a guide explaining the different telescopes in display. However, Riya’s thoughts wandered only about the satellite Apollo 11. Deliberately, she asked the guide if they can see the satellite. The guide disagreed but promised to show them the mission operation room from where the commands are sent.
Just then all of a sudden Riya managed to catch a glimpse of the Apollo satellite, keenly she detached from the crew and walked sneakingly into the door. She looked around and tip toed her way into the satellite room. There she noticed a couple of men checking a list on their note pads. One of them turned towards Riya, before he could catch a glimpse of her, she crawled under the desk and hid. The voices faded and eventually there was only silence except for Riya’s heavy breathing. Slowly she came out of her hideout and wandered into the room. In awe, she admired the satellite. The curiosity drove her to sneak into the little opening of the satellite and found that all machines and wires were nothing fascinating as she imagined.
Just then she heard the same few voices, Riya heard few words which sounded “Ready – for – launch- hydrogen check done”. The small hole was shut and her heart skipped a beat. She was not aware of how the next few hours passed. A muffled crowd’s sound reverberated inside the spacecraft as Riya woke up from her exhausted nap.
Time ticked and she could hear her own heart beat along with. It was followed by a sequence of events which caught her awestruck as the face in all newspapers- Neil Armstrong followed by fellow astronauts entered. A special seat was designed for four of them and a spare set of clothes and seat was in the corner just were Riya was seated. She keenly watched each of the astronaut perform their pre travel ritual. Riya wore the extra astronaut suit and saw herself beaming with pride and excitement on the shiny inner wall of the spacecraft. She copied all the activities of Neil Armstrong to prep herself for the travel. Before she could realise the count down started 5……..4……..3…….2…….. Riya went numb and could barely breathe………..1.
She held tight to the seat and just that moment another astronaut caught her redhanded and let out a scream. Riya was then among the crew reciting her whole story of adventure. Immediately one of the operator called to the station on earth and informed the situation and also assured to take care of her.
In one weeks time Riya settled. Her favourite pass time was to play “catch my almond” with Neil and hear stories from him about the spectacular happenings in space. Soon the day everyone dreamt neared. They were approaching the moon and the whole crew was busy preparing for the great day. Now this is the part where history was not aware of.
As Apollo landed on the moon, Neil was set to go first. Riya went to the entrance to see the moon. It looked like a plain grey land while she imagined it to be a silver platter. She peaked down to see how the Apollo had landed but tripped and was free falling towards the moon. Riya fell on the moon!
There was an anguished shout from Neil who followed her. Riya got up dusted herself and ran in sheer excitement. Riya was not only the first female but also the first human being to step foot on the moon.
History has forgotten this little adventure of Riya!