Tag Archives: Abdul Kalam

Photo Diaries #7: IIM Shillong night life

Of late, due to work, I have had to stay awake for nights together to get things done. But it wasn’t (hasn’t been) tiring. In fact, I’ve been loving it, burning the late night oil, relishing the calm of the night. It’s a great time to work; or do anything for that matter.

This whole thing made me recollect/relive my days in IIM Shillong, where the day (for many of us) started after dinner. It was a great feeling, working with friends, bonding over business cases or a cup of room-made tea. In fact in the last term when things were light, more often than not, we hit the bed only after breaking fast in the Nongthymmai Poori shop which used to open at 6 am.

This pic was taken on the night before our presentation to Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, who was a visiting Professor at our Institute.

Those were the days

Those were the days

I cannot forget those moments (20 odd minutes) when we were presenting to Dr. APJ. Great feeling. 83 then, he was still as curious as a front bencher in School, taking notes eagerly. That thirst to learn had never faded.

Those were the days.

Humans of India #1: Thatha

Why look outside when you have inspiration within your house!

My Thatha (Grandfather) has had one of the most positive influences on me, all these 24 years, and still continues to.

He, in more ways than one, reminds me of all the traits Professor APJ Abdul Kalam stood for; loved by all, down to earth, treats everyone with an equal eye and extremely dedicated (to work, self and family).

In his prime, he can make even the most serious person in the room laugh out loud, with his funny one liners and jokes. Some of them make me laugh even now, after having heard them like a 1000 times.

He gifted me my first bicycle when I was in Class III (or IV).

He likes to see people around him happy and derives his own happiness out of it. For example, he would always keep a handful of chocolates in his front pocket. Whenever the newspaper boy, milkman, maid, kid from the opposite house or any guest comes, he would give them a chocolate to see their faces beaming with a smile from ear to ear. A man of few words, he uses such small gestures to show his love.

With an elephant-esque memory, he manages to remember every little detail possible. Some day, he’d come up to me and say, “Today is A’s brother’s friend’s husband’s birthday.”

Till a few years ago, he used to have a very rigorous and busy daily schedule, even in his retirement life. He would cut newspaper clippings of interesting tidbits and compile them in a book, read journals and books, call his friends and relatives or just sit and write “Sriramajayam” endlessly.

When I was a kid, I would wait for him to reach home at 6.45 pm sharp, to get hold of something he’d have bought for me that day.

These days, I don’t get to talk to him often, but when I go home after a hiatus of three months, nothing would have changed between us. He would jokingly ask me, “What have you bought for me this time?”, kiss my hand and then we’d chat our way to glory!


If you’re new to my Photo Diaries Series, you could start here.

MSD P49 – Meeting with the Missile Man!

Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam came here to IIM Shillong to teach a non-credit course, “Societal Transformation through Technology and Innovation”.  In May 2013, we were all elated to open our inbox and find a mail from the man himself. He had given us directions and suggested readings for the presentations which we were to make when he comes to campus.

When he finally came here and took classes, I understood why he was popularly called “People’s President”. He is so very approachable. He likes answering questions more than giving lectures. With Kalam, it’s always a two way learning process.

When a student complimented him by saying, “You are very young Sir”, he replied “Friend, I am on my 82nd Orbit around the sun.”

There is a mokkamaniac living inside this man, I thought to myself.

I got the opportunity to ask him a question.


I asked, “Sir, when I told my Grandmother that you were coming to campus to teach a subject, she immediately referred me to an article about you in “Kalki”, a popular tamil weekly magazine. I was surprised to see that you keep yourself active for 19 hours a day. Sir, you have contributed so much to the field of science and to our nation as a whole. What still keeps you up and going even at this age?”

His reply was simple.

“I want to see a billion people smile!”

Apparently, he reads through each and every mail that reaches his inbox, and even replies to most of them.

He never thinks twice to appreciate anyone. When he saw a 60+ old photographer clicking a picture of him, he said, “You are a good photographer! Photographer should smile, then only people in photo will smile.”