He merely wanted to win an i-pod and that was his sole reason to participate in Bingo Bindass Go To Space Contest. But Ahmedabad’s 21-year-old Hardik Gajjar was in for a pleasant shock when he was declared the winner of this contest. As a result, Hardik has now become India’s first space tourist.I screamed on the top of my voice when I heard the result. I was shell-shocked and in complete disbelief so I couldn’t’ even utter a word. It was only after a while that I briefed my parents on the actual happenings,” says an ecstatic Hardik.
The 21-year-old TY.BSC student wasn’t taking this contest seriously. He confesses that it was the lure of an i-pod and the other gifts that attracted him to this contest. As one who enjoys dancing, mimicry and anchoring, how did Hardik fit the bill to win this contest?
“Though, my principal interests are dancing, mimicry, I’ve always been fascinated by the outer world. Though, such knowledge was only restricted to books. I’m glad that after Rakesh Sharma, I’ll be the first Indian to go to space,” said Hardik.
Judge Roshan Abbas states, “We were not looking for an intellect but a Bindaas personality. This kid has that in him. After all, he needn’t fly the plane. This contest was about finding someone with the ‘fun’ personality and Hardik outshone others in this aspect. What really appealed to me about him was that right from day one he never aspired to win but was merely here to entertain. He was also open to taking any challenge.”
Though he’s won the contest, Hardik isn’t heading to space straightaway. He would first undergo training at the Oklahoma space station before his actually trip that is scheduled for 2009/ 2010.
“I’ll be trained by John Harrington, who is associated with Nasa and has the experience of spending 330 hours in space. Often, people boast about how they’ve been to London, Paris or New York. Well, I can now boast of travelling outside the earth. When it comes to achieving goals, the sky is the limit for most but I now say that one should look beyond the skies” says a cocky Hardik.
Reporter: Mayur Lookhar