Kalpana Chawla was the first Indian-American astronaut and the first Indian-born woman in space. She was killed with her crew members in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster on February 1, 2003. Four years later, in 2007 a four year old girl claimed that she was Kalpana Chawla and she had died up in the sky. About 35 kms away from Khurja is a small village Nar Mohammadpur in Uttar Pradesh, India. In 2007, little Upasana was 4 years old when she visited her relatives. There, she saw a photograph of Kalpana Chawla with Sunita Williams published in a newspaper. Immediately she pointed to Kalpana Chawla’s photo and went around telling everybody that it was her photograph. The family and the village residents were shocked. Upasana’s parents then told their experiences with her, which made everyone believe that Upasana could be Kalpana Chawla reborn.
Upasana was born in Pata village from Etawah district in India to an illiterate couple who worked as daily wage laborers. She was born in March 2003, exactly 2 months after the death of Kalpana Chawla. When Upasana started talking she would point to the sky and say that the planes were coming to kill her. Then, she said that her name was Kalpana Chawla and she lived in America. She told everyone that she had a big house and big money in the banks in America. Upasana’s illiterate parents did not know who Kalpana Chawla was. They thought that Upasana had probably heard somewhere and was making up stories.
Later, after a few months she started telling her parents that her father’s name was Banarsi Das Chawla and mother was Rekha or Rakhi. She said that she wanted to go to Chandigarh where her house was. Her parents ignored her talks. When Upasana pointed to Kalpana Chawla’s photograph, everything seemed to relate. The family then tested her again. They showed a number of photographs with a few of Kalpana Chawla. Upasana picked up all Kalpana Chawla’s pictures and said this was her.
Upasana also told the story of her death. She said that a huge ball of ice had hit her spacecraft which then crashed and killed her. Along with the names of Kalpana Chawla’s parents, Upasana also recalled the names of her mentors and professors.
Another story of reincarnation. It is very difficult to believe. But then the question arises how would a four year old from an illiterate family who had never owned a TV, know about an astronaut, her name, her parents and her mentors in NASA?