With a dream to visit space,city girl lands up at Antarticahttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/with-a-dream-to-visit-space-city-girl-lands-up-at-antartica/

With a dream to visit space,city girl lands up at Antartica

The team will be there till March 13.

“She always dreamt of travelling the entire world,and her biggest dream is to visit space someday. She is immensely inspired by Kalpana Chawla,” smiles Santosh Asgotra,the proud mother of Sonal Asgotra,25,who is part of the eight-member team of International Antarctic Expedition-2013 that has travelled to Antartica from February 28. The team will be there till March 13.

A business analyst at Infosys,Chandigarh,Sonal has made the city proud by being the only girl from Chandigarh who was selected to be a part of the 14-day expedition,‘Journey to the edge of the world’. The expedition was started by the British Polar explorer,Robert Swan,under a programme called Mission 2041,wherein a selected team is taken for the expedition every year.

“She had been planning to be a part of it for the last one year when one of her college batchmates,Paras Lumba,participated in the expedition. She applied and got selected on the basis of her work that she had done for environment preservation. She also used to write for an online youth magazine,” says Shaveta Gandhi,her friend for the last 13 years. “In school,she used to dream about being an astronaut,and we used to laugh it off.”

After pursuing her graduation in electronics and communication from Shaheed Bhagat Singh College,Faridkot,she joined Infosys,Chennai,and got transferred to Chandigarh two years later.

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“She has always been very ambitious ever since I knew her,and passionate about travelling to all parts of the world,though it was space that fascinated her the most,” says Kriti Kamboj,her friend-cum-colleague at Infosys. Sonal hails from Faridkot,Punjab.

Her mother,Santosh Asgotra,who is a school-teacher,says,“She has so many dreams. Her email ID ‘space-trekker’ itself speaks of her passion. She had a low fever before going for the expedition. I was quite concerned about her health,and at one point of time I also tried to stop her,but she was determined to go. She has filled me with so much pride.”

Sonal is scheduled to reach Delhi on March 15.

“Follow your dreams — that is the mantra of her life,” says her Shaveta,adding that Sonal plans to hold lectures on preservation of nature.