People often judge by age. Well, personally I think age is just a number and many biases do not stand their ground because there are examples set by individuals to prove it. There is nothing like you are too young or too old for this, that exists. Today we have with us someone who defied this age barrier.
Mangala Mani is the first ISRO female scientist to spend more than a year in Antarctica. She was the only woman among the 23 member researchers to have been chosen for this feat. And yes, she did this at the age of 56 when she was an integral part of an expedition in November 2016 to Bharati, which is India’s research station in Antarctica. She was not only the single in India station but there were no women from Russia and China contingent in the year 2016-17! She is referred to as the first polar woman of ISRO. She was taking care of the ground station’s operation and maintenance.
She was the eldest of the six children and her parents encouraged us to study well and also to participate in extra-curricular activities. She had strong support back at home.
After going through a newspaper advertisement she did her model Diploma for Technicians – Radio Apparatus (MDT-RA) from Government Polytechnic in Masab Tank, Hyderabad being the only woman in a batch of 80 students. She came to know that most of our seniors are sought after by different organizations like ECIL, HAL, ISRO, etc even before the completion of the project work. This rekindled her hopes and dream of joining ISRO. She was selected in ISRO after a brief stint at HAL. But her parents were initially reluctant to send their daughter to a distant place. But one of her uncles persuaded and then they allowed her to pursue her dreams.
Since that day, she has never looked back. She went through elaborate medical check-ups at AIIMS, Delhi for a week, including a psychological assessment. Then along with the team, she was taken to Auli for snow/ice acclimatization at 9000 feet altitude and to Badrinath at 10000 feet altitude. Here she endured long treks with increasing distances and with loads to build physical endurance. We are also taught about the safety and rescue tips in cold and snow/ice conditions; mountaineering and snow/ice equipment. All these were conducted by NCAOR. National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR), under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, is the nodal point for Antarctic expeditions taken up by our country.
Today, Mangala Mani is a name that many know and who has shown what courage and determination can help one achieve. And let me tell you, before this expedition, she had personally never experienced snowfall herself.
My one-line takeaway- People who judge one by age, by saying you are too young to be this or you are too old for this ) need to see such examples to clear their biases.
PS: I have planned to take up non-fiction this year as my theme for the A2Z challenge, where every day in the month of April ( except Sundays) I will be writing about women in the stream of science and their contributions. Disclaimer -The information collected is from different sources available online.
The main objective is to draw inspiration and share information about such great lives who did it, despite all difficulties in their life.
I’m participating in #BlogchatterA2Z