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Video: Dubai girl meets UAE minister after writing tribute in Young Times

Nandini Sircar/Dubai
Filed on March 31, 2021 | Last updated on April 1, 2021 at 07.15 am
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Avid stargazer met the science head of UAE's Mars mission, Sarah Al Amiri.

Eleven-year-old Oindrila Majumdar, an avid stargazer, dreams of going to space someday — so she has followed the UAE’s missions into the cosmos, particularly the Hope Probe. And her space hero? Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Technology and one of the drivers of the Mars mission.

A few days ago — just a day after her birthday — Oindrila couldn’t help but thank her lucky stars as she was able to meet Al Amiri. The best part is that she got to discuss all things space with her.

“It was a truly special day for me. She is an idol not only to me but to children and women all around the world. She has really set an example for women empowerment for future generations. We will continue to keep connected,” said Oindrila, an aspiring astrophysicist who has been drawn to the stars since the tender age of five.

Her once-in-a-lifetime tête-à-tête with Al Amiri happened after her open letter in KT’s Young Times caught the attention of the minister.

The Hope-inspired meeting proved to be so stimulating that the legendary figure recently took to Twitter, reminiscing the rendezvous with her young fan.

Al Amiri tweeted on Wednesday, “I had the pleasure of meeting Oindrila Majumdar, an 11-year-old girl who is passionate about space and science. I had an intriguing conversation with Oindrila, stemming from space exploration, to sustainability and climate change.”

She may have been initially star-struck, but Oindrila sure didn’t forget what she came for. She asked her questions and carefully listened to the fascinating insight Al Amiri shared with her.

“Her Excellency Sarah Al Amiri is a very inspiring woman and during my meeting with her I learnt a lot about the process behind the UAE Hope Probe. I congratulated her on the success of the Emirates Mars Mission. I also shared some of my references and knowledge that I had about the Hope Probe,” Oindrila told Khaleej Times.

“She answered all my several questions to her on the mission, climate change and astrophysics. It was a very good discussion. She also talked about a lot of informative things on the future plans of the mission. She also showed me a picture of how Mars had a quake captured by the spacecraft. I learnt a lot from these conversations.”

Making sure the day would be unforgettable for the young Dubai resident, the office of the minister also surprised her with a cake.

“Since my birthday was on March 27 (a day before), it was very thoughtful of them to make my visit special by arranging a beautiful birthday cake,” she recalled.

Oindrila is also a budding writer, and Al Amiri agreed to help her out with her next big project.

“I am writing a book which should be published by the end of this year. Her Excellency has very kindly agreed to guide me in my interest in space science and the book that I am writing — it’s on astrophysics for kids,” she shared. “My goal is to motivate children to learn more about astronomy, general theory of relativity, or climate change which is simplified.”

In her free time, if she’s not reading about the universe, she plays basketball and draws. “I also look through my binoculars from my balcony.”

While Oindrila has been completely home schooling for a year now, the extra time in hand has allowed her to take her pursuits forward.

“I am not registered in any school for this year. Besides my self-study, I do many different online classes with teachers based out of India, Switzerland, the UAE and the UK, apart from my mum and dad teaching and guiding me. My dad is a Mathematician. My mother encouraged me to lean towards my goal and never give up. Then it was my dad who introduced me to different things that I sometimes understood and sometimes didn’t.”

She has always been a curious kid, searching for answers everywhere, including Google. When she turned 10, she got serious with her quantum mechanics and theory of relativity.

“I’m also quite interested in how quantum communication can be developed for interaction between planets but I have a lot to learn going forward,” said the girl.

nandini@khaleejtimes.com





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