Davinder Singh a small farmer in Ratia, District Fatehabad used to always ponder at the fact the young boy born to him was always wide-eyed and gurgling with joy whenever he used to be in the open skies at night. Young Monty used to get hyper and excited when he saw the moon and the twinkling stars. Little did this rice farmer know that his Monty was destined for unraveling the mysteries of the other world?
A shy and quiet student, Montek performed brilliantly in his school exams and was always the pet of his teachers at Akal Academy, village Ajitsar Ratia. As he reached Class XII, he not only scored spectacularly in his boards but also cracked his way through SAT-I scoring an astonishing 2120/2400. Later in SAT-II he astounded a lot while smashing 750/800 in Maths, 730/800 in Chemistry, 5/5 in Physics & 5/5 in Calculus BC. Immediately, a hawk-eyed Professor noticed this hidden talent and invited Montek Singh to study at the University of Colorado Boulder’s CASA (Centre for Astrophysics & Space Astronomy) to pursue a specialised 5 year program on Astrophysical & Planetary Sciences.
Montek’s joy knew no bounds when he learnt that UoCB was offering him a scholarship of 60% of all his costs. This program is designed to meet student needs for training in space sciences, including astronomy, astrophysics, planetary sciences, and space physics. Students pursuing this major have the option of following one of two tracks: General Astronomy, housed in the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences (APS); or Astrophysics/ Physics, jointly supervised by APS and the Department of Physics.
To his father and Teachers, it seems that this will carve Montek’s path to enable him be a space scientist or an astronaut cruising space-ships, a career option that has a grown cult in India especially ever-since death of astronaut Kalpana Chawla, widely known as the first Indian American astronaut and the first Indian woman in space, who died in an accident while on a NASA space mission in 2003.
Montek’s success is being seen as contrastingly distinctive, especially for a rural student from village, belonging to an under-privileged family. It’s astonishing to notice that Montek Singh comes from a rural School where none of the students subscribe to tradition of attending tuitions beyond school hours! The Teachers themselves take up this responsibility of providing tuitions to their students within the school and school-hours.
Children at his village now know him as their super hero who is destined to fly into sky. As joy-filled tears well up, Davinder looks back to those days and realizes that there was a message for him, which he could not decipher.
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~ Ramandeep Singh, Student
~ New Delhi, 24th Aug 2013