Kalpana, daughter of Banarasi Lal Chawla was very much like her father.
Forced to flee his home (now in Pakistan) during the Partition, Banarasi Lal had seen the worst. When he came to India with his large family and settled in Karnal, Haryana, he worked hard to establish himself. It is evident that Kalpana acquired his attitude of never giving up and not knowing failure.
To the teachers of Tagore Bal Niketan, Karnal, Kalpana was a diligent student. Daljit Kaur, deputy director of the school, says, 'She did not want to be just another girl who would get married and settle down and that is why she was bit of a rebel'.
Kalpana dreamt big, her teachers recall. Once, for a geography project, she built a model of the universe with old newspapers, complete with stars and the moon.
Kalpana Chawla (centre, long hair) with classmates of Tagore Bal Niketan. Inset: Vimla Raheja (left), director of the school, with Deputy Director Daljit Madan. Both taught Kalpana Chawla at school.
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Photos: Sondeep Shankar/ Saab Press