To me it seems like a few months ago. I was in Ohio, in the US state known for “round in the end, high in the middle, can you tell me my little riddle?”. I was living on a turkey farm populated by 180,000 birds who stretched their red necks and quacked whenever I walked among them.
The great event at the time was to defy the Russians and land the first American on the moon. I was only half an hour drive from WAPAKONETA, the home of Neil Armstrong. My host family was reluctant to visit the next county because of the high security around Neil’s house but on my suggestion, we took up the challenge.
Wapakoneta welcomed us with giant banderols which read “God speed Neil” planted along the corn fields. There was excitement everywhere. It was not hard to find our destination. Security personnel cordoned off the house and seeing people only stopping for a while, we understood that it was impossible to enter the premises.
I ventured outside the car and timidly approached the gate. Many rural Americans had not seen a chocolate coloured man speaking English. How could I be of Indian origin living in Mauritius without having any ties with Red Indians? Besides, where was Mauritius? No world map showed our dot.
My host family and I were ushered into the house of Neil’s childhood residence, welcomed by his grandparents, served iced tea and photographed with them. I got the opportunity to say a few words to the TV cameras present.
Ohio [only] declared the day of the lunar landing a public holiday and I continued watching history being made, glued to the TV; unfortunately, I have no record on pictures.