debameeta bhattacharya reports on a veritable journey of self-discovery
 
WHAT would you say about a girl in the Soviet Union who was petrified of heights, idolised Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, overcame her phobia and, in 1963 at the age of 27, became the first woman to make a space flight? For Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova, grit was rewarded with induction into the Soviet Air Force so she could qualify for the Cosmonaut Corps.
The rest is history and to celebrate the golden jubilee of the first space flight by a woman cosmonaut, the Russian Centre of Science and Culture in Kolkata and the Birla Industrial and Technological Museum jointly organised an exhibition on 17 June.
Inaugurated by Irina K Bashkirova, Consul General of the Russian Federation, Kolkata, the exhibition features 54 rare photographs of Tereshkova&’s early life, her training period and remarkable achievements. Open to school students, faculties and the general public, it would be in the fitness of things for teachers/parents to do some research on the subject and inform their wards about Tereshkova&’s background to appreciate what&’s on view. This because some students were overheard mumbling, “Boring.” And why so? “We have never heard about her and couldn’t understand anything.” They were busy scribbling down points from the photographs on display and when asked why, they said, “Our teachers instructed us to do so!”
Apart from the photographs, there is a 50-minute documentary featuring Tereshkova&’s journey from average girl to first woman cosmonaut and rare fame. That said, one wonders if Kolkata will throw up the next Tereshkova.
Open till 28 June from 10 am to 5.30 pm, the exhibition is a veritable journey of self-discovery.