Packing list

– 62 pairs of underwear (no chance to do laundry)

-2 bras (might as well enjoy the zero-gravity)

-Cotton trousers, t-shirts, shorts

– One treadmill (zero-gravity great for elevation, not good for muscle-tone)

-One pair of shoes for the treadmill

-Spacesuit, (just in case I have to do any after-launch repairs)

-Space helmet (see above)

-Space boots (ditto)

-124 packets of dehydrated food (make sure it’s heavy on the butter chicken), 62 bottles of water

– Dry soap, dry shampoo

– Toothbrush, toothpaste (although, in space no-one can hear you scream… with toothache)

– ‘A Suitable Boy’ by Vikram Seth (should finally have time to finish it)

– Ravi Shankar’s ‘Passages’ for me, Norah Jones’s ‘Little Broken Hearts’ for Roopa

-Internet-enabled camera (those coronal storms are meant to be unforgettable)

– Red sari, for the descent

– Roopa’s ashes

-Internet-enabled laptop, to send the Last Message to my family of crowd-funders and the well-wishers and the morbidly curious and the delighted trolls

To do:

– add the course map plotted by the engineering team to the memorial website, remembering the Venus gravity-assist

– talk to the Gen X space team, make sure the Paypal transfer went through (19, 188, 600 rupees is a lot to process), and that Roopa’s modifications to the carbon-fibre reinforced carbon were properly made

– Practice talking to their doctor at the medical, explain again that even the Gods of Technology need to be appeased sometimes and a two-month journey alone is not much after 5 years. Do not mention you’ve spent those 5 years plotting your own death -Finish the speech for the Last Message: thanks to all who contributed to the first crowd-funded human sacrifice, no robot-driven probe could give the world this description of the heat, the sweat, the taste, the fear of the sun. Roopa, you were my life and my light.

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