Today, India is upset - upset like a bird that lost its wings, all of a sudden.
Whenever I realize that these things happen in a ationn in which 78% of the people are Hindus, I am delighted because, it is the type of solidarity Indian thoughts envision and work for. Quite recently, I heard a similar touching story from Kerala. The heart of a clinically dead Hindu man from Trivandrum was transplanted successfully to a poor Christian auto driver in Kochi (another city in Kerala, away by some 200 kilometres).
Dr Kalam taught the nation to respect each other beyond caste and religion barriers. Without Dr Kalam somebody would have brewed up powerful satellites and rockets but nobody would have taught the nation how to dream; nobody could have written powerfully motivating books for the future.
Written by Srijan Pal Singh.
What I will be remembered for, my memory of the last day with the great Kalam sir.
Long, 2.5 hours of flying in the monsoon weather. I hate turbulence and he had mastered managing them. Whenever he would see me go cold in a shaking 'plane, he would just pull down the window pane and say, “Now you don’t see any fear!”.
That was followed by another 2.5 hours of a car drive to I. I. M Shillong. For this two-legged trip of five hours we talked, discussed, and debated. These were amongst hundreds of the long flights and longer drives we have been together on, over the last six years.
As each of them, this was as special too. Three incidents/discussions, in particular, will be among the “lasting memories of our last trip”.
First, Dr. Kalam was absolutely worried about the attacks in Punjab. The loss of innocent lives left him filled with sorrow. The topic of the lecture at IIM Shillong was 'Creating a Livable Planet Earth.' He related the incident to the topic and said, “it seems the man-made forces are as big a threat to the livability of the earth as pollution”. We discussed on how, if this trend of violence, pollution, and reckless human action continues, we will be forced to leave the earth in "thirty years, at this rate, maybe”, he said. “You guys must do something about it… it is going to be your future world”
Our second discussion was more national. For the past two days, Dr. Kalam was worried that time and again the Parliament, the supreme institution of democracy, was dysfunctional. He said, “I have seen two different governments in my tenure. I have seen more after that. This disruption just keeps happening. It is not right. I really need to find out a way to ensure that the parliament works on developmental politics.” He then asked me to prepare a surprise assignment question for the students at IIM Shillong, which he would give them only at the end of the lecture. He wanted them to suggest three innovative ways to make the Parliament more productive and vibrant. Then, after a while he returned to it. “But how can I ask them to give solutions if I don’t have any myself”. For the next one hour, we thwarted options after options, that come up with his recommendation over the issue. We wanted to include this discussion in our upcoming book, Advantage India.
After this, we went to the lecture hall. He did not want to be late for the lecture. “Students should never be made to wait,” he always said. I quickly set up his mike, briefed on the final lecture and took up a position at the computers. As I pinned his mike, he smiled and said, “Funny guy! Are you doing well?” ‘Funny guy’, when said by Kalam could mean a variety of things, depending on the tone and your own assessment. It could mean, you have done well, you have messed up something, you should listen to him or just that you have been plain naïve or he was just being jovial. Over six years I had learnt to interpret Funny Guy like the back of my palm. This time, it was the last case.
We picked him up. As the doctor rushed, we tried whatever we could. I will never forget the look in his three-quarter closed eyes and I held his head with one hand and tried reviving with whatever I could. His hands clenched, curled onto my finger. There was stillness on his face and those wise eyes were motionlessly radiating wisdom. He never said a word. He did not show pain, only purpose was visible.
Within five minutes, we were in the nearest hospital. In another few minutes the they indicated the missile man had flown away, forever. I touched his feet, one last time.
As I turned back, a closet of thoughts opened.
Then something he said two weeks back when we were discussing his missile - time friends. He said, “Children need to take care of their parents. It is sad that sometimes this is not happening”. He paused and said,
Will miss all the lunches and dinners we had together, will miss all the times you surprised me with your humility and startled me with your curiosity, will miss the lessons of life you taught, in action and words, will miss our struggles to race to make it to the flights, our trips, our long debates. You gave me dreams, you showed me dreams need to be impossible, for anything else is a compromise to my own ability.
Srijan Pal Singh
“All Birds find shelter during the rain. But the Eagle avoids the rain by flying above the clouds.”
“Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.”
“Man needs difficulties in life because they are necessary to enjoy the success.”
“If you want to shine like the sun, first burn like the sun.”
“It is very easy to defeat someone, but it is very hard to win someone.”
"All of us do not have equal talent, but all of us have an equal opportunity to develop our talents.”
" Be more dedicated to making solid achievements than in running after swift but synthetic happiness."
"Thinking should become your capital asset, no matter whatever ups and downs you come across in your life."
" Without your involvement you can't succeed. With your involvement, you can't fail."
English is necessary as at present original works of science are in English. I believe that in two decades times original works of science will start coming out in our languages. Then we can move over like the Japanese.
You have to dream before your dreams can come true."
From messages shared by Kaushal N. Shah, Anup Achuthan, andSubhas Rao.