Sunita Williams' mobile phone screen is sure to mesmerise any denizen of India's commercial hub. "What a nice, nice place you have here. I actually saw it from space, this morning," the 47-year old astronaut told a group of school children here.
"You might say, how did I see it from space. Last night, when I went to sleep, I wanted to make sure I got plenty of sleep before I came here (for the interaction). Around midnight, I got a call from one of my space mates, Chris Hadfield who is the commander of the space station.
"He is a Canadian. He said, "Sunny, you sound sleepy. Where are you?" I said I am in India. He thought I was in the US. When I told him I was in Mumbai, he actually sent me a picture of Mumbai that he took when I had gone to sleep. "In a couple of orbits, he was able to pick out Mumbai and I was showing the photo this morning to the people at the hotel. You should see what your city looks like at night from space," she said.
Later, Williams, who was greeted by a municipal school student from Byculla, was asked who were her role models. "My parents are on the top of the list of my role models," she said, adding, "I also know a lot about Mahatma Gandhi and also heard about Mother Teresa". Williams appeared enthusiastic about the "space tourism" concept, saying it would provide more people the chance to experience the thrills of space. She also advised students to shun drugs and alcohol.