Dear APJ, The words of condolences and grief that follows your untimely and sudden death are now converging as streams flows into rivers and they now reached the ocean to make waves! My words will also be just another drop in that ocean; yet, I will still say the words, for your life and my admiration for you compels me. My utterances are just lame RIPs and some words like, ” O’ what a great man you were!” They are lame for I didn’t get to meet you in FMS Delhi since you had visited us long after we had left campus; nor was I in Shillong yesterday or in IIMS where I was once fortunate to get the opportunity to inspire the brilliant minds to join egovernance/ eMobile Governance mTECHKNOWLOGIZ as a life mission. Though yesterday talk at IIM shillong was the last speech, I believe you must have completed your task of inspiring the youths and igniting a few minds even with your incomplete speech!
My conception of you being great is formed from what I heard about you on TV or read about you or of what I saw of you as the Rashtrapati of India. Vajpayeeji saw in you more than just a ‘missile man’ which the next dispensation/ Madamji, somehow, safely decided to overlook or ignore it without appreciation. Maybe, your role outside was to shape destinies and fire that India we all aspire to see in the next 20 years. You ignited enough minds to drive the Indian dream bus for the the next 100 years. You were a nationalist who happens to be a man of different faith from the majority. Yet, your belief in the the possibility called a Superpower India in India 2020 ( I read this one masterpiece written by you) touch my heart and inspire even the the most Aam among the Aam Aadmis (not meaning AAP) to believe in India and most importantly their ability to change and mould India into the India of their dreams and that of Bapu. Your unorthodox style, silver locks and unusual charm, scientific temperament, humble roots, a devout man of faith and a man who follows his conviction no matter what provides an very interesting recipe for writers to pen away their days; but, your credentials were hardly the stuff conventional wisdom demands of a man who should be at the Top post. Until you came, every President was expected to atleast come close to Dr. Mukherjee in terms of background and knowledge quotient. He was and is expected to be well conversant about the Constitution, the law and a little shrewd when brilliant lawyers plays with their words and interpretations are at best meant to confuse. Still, you showed them that a scientist can also be a statesmen and that knowledge of any field can be acquired and mastered, if need be. By being humble and choosing to be simple makes you no less important and honored! And of course, I must candidly tell you that those rare combinations must be hardly tolerable for huge mindless bigots and snobs of Lutyen Delhi and even among those whose party made you the President, if there ever was any!
I know all these lines I have forced upon my readers are just cliches! But of the many things you did, I think the most wild and one ACT that has made you a living legend among the pantheon of heroes is your Visit to a nondescript / unsung/ small Village in Manipur on an invitation by a private citizen who happens to fortunately walk the hallowed halls of Rashtrapati Bhavan. (This I heard from a common friend and chose to reproduce without asking Gin Gangte who is a friend and your host in that village you paid a visit a few years back). There in lies your big bigheartedness and greatness. If you can travelled all the way to a village in Manipur, I think, I can say with reasonable amount of confidence, Rameswaram must be proud and well looked after by this noble son of India. And today, we mourn your loss as a nation and me for having never met you when I could have easily done so when I used to walk the Corridors of North block for a consultancy assignment. Wish I had the gumption and the thought of barging into Rashtrapati Bhavan to meet you that point in my life. For I am told all Indians were welcomed when you lived there!
Now, I don’t know if the sprawling Mughal gardens ever saw children and common Indians anymore!
Take your well deserved rest after all your kalam (pen) has left enough gyan (knowledge) for us, Indians, to read , ponder and work on.
Kalamji, Smile as always from above,
RIP! You will live on in our hearts and the smiles of our children childrens !!!