‘For the last one year, N. Valarmathi used to have only four to five hours for herself in a day, and kept monitoring various aspects of satellite'

Happiness permeated Ariyalur district as the ‘daughter of soil' N. Valarmathi turned cynosure of all eyes at Sriharikota on Thursday as Project Director of the successfully launched India's first indigenously-developed Radar Imaging Satellite RISAT-I.

The pride of students of Nirmala Girls' Higher Secondary School in Ariyalur town, the alma mater of Ms. Valarmathi, knew no bounds. Teachers lost no time in congratulating Ms. Valarmathi for the feat while for the students, the impatient wait began to meet and interact with their role model in person. Their dream is likely to be fulfilled in a month, according to her husband, Vasudevan, Assistant General Manager, Vijaya Bank, head office, Bangalore, sharing the students' view that Ms. Valarmathi now symbolises assured success for believing in the attributes of hard work and determination.

For the last one year, she used to have only four to five hours for herself in a day, and kept monitoring various aspects of the satellite. The next fortnight is crucial for satellite positioning and image-tracking, Mr. Vasudevan said, expressing eagerness to visit Ariyalur at the earliest.

After her schooling in Tamil medium, Ms. Valarmathi went on to complete her pre-university course at the Government Arts College, Ariyalur, before moving on to the Government College of Technology, Coimbatore, and from there to the Anna University's Guindy campus.

“My sister had offers from both DRDO and ISRO, and she opted for the latter,” recalls Ms. Valarmathi's brother Sampath, who teaches Physics at Government Girls' Higher Secondary School at Orthanadu in neighbouring Thanjavur district.

Mr. Sampath reminisced: “Even while teaching me while at school, my sister's used to focus strongly on the concepts. Though a student herself, she also used to handle classes for academically weak students,” adding: “Her power of concentration was remarkable. No matter the noise of the blaring radio, my sister's concentration on studies was total.”

Ms. Valarmathi's hard work had many admirers. No sooner did the news of the successful space mission trickle in than sections of the public began streaming into Ms. Valarmathy's house to congratulate her parents Natarajan, retired Block Development Officer, and Ramaseetha with shawls. Public organisations have planned to organise grand felicitations for Ms. Valarmathi when she visits her home town.