Shiva Ram's Blog


My chance to meet Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam

I always wanted to go to a talk of APJ. I have been a big fan of inspirational thoughts and his great vision. There are not many people out there to whom the youth can look upto and say,” I want to follow the words of this man and maybe someday I can be as inspiring as a man as he is.”

The lecture was organized as part of the Extra Mural Lectures( EML) of IIT, Madras, Centre of Innovation (CFI), the Vivekananda Study Circle and the Indo-German Centre for Collaboration. The talk was supposed to start at 2.30 and end by 3.15 . But APJ was late.

I was the first one to stand in the queue. Entry was allowed after 1pm and I was outside SAC by 12.25 itself. The traditional case of the wolf and the shepherd was visible in SAC. As APJ was late the students started clapping together in every 10 minutes faking his entry and escalating the hopes of ardent fans like me to catch a glimpse as soon as enters.

He did arrive though and the organizers were quick to start the function. APJ wanted to start with the talk directly as he didnt even care to sit down in the lonely chair on stage. Even more humorous was when there was an introduction about him to be made he signalled the guy to make it short. He later realized the intro wasnt going to be short, so he went upto the guy and stood besides him so that the uncomfortableness will make his speech shorter. This amused the crowd a lot.

He did start his speech with an apology for being late. He said he was stopped by a crowd..a very young crowd..and so he couldnt resist them.

I am not sure whether to give the whole speech here. So I am just going to give a short and crisp quotes of his speech.

Today, Everybody especially the youth wants to be unique in this world… They want to be the special you… But the world tries to its best to make the unique you just like everybody else

There are 4 things required to be unique :

  1. A goal that we drive towards to succeed
  2. A good and sound Knowledge
  3. Devotion and Hard work
  4. Perseverance

APJ also spoke about how yesterday’s success formula is not the same that is required for today and gave examples of the verticals in a lot of situations.

He asked the students to mail him about 2 things :

  1. To find out a person who works with integrity in the following areas
  • A Politician
  • A Business Personality
  • A Bureaucrat
  • A Social Scientist

2. To write on a piece of paper about the thing that today’s youth would like to be remembered for. This he told would inspire today’s youth to be unique.


Another notable part of his speech was the oaths.Again there were 2 oaths :

  1. I will work with integrity and succeed with integrity
  2. I will plant 5 trees and nurture them


Well at last there was a question time. Sadly because of loss of time only 3 questions were allowed. The first question was asked about Food Security and his opinion. He gave some vague answer by which time I was all excited on whether to ask a question myself and if then what should I ask. Well, I thought I will put his own question back to him on what he likes to be remembered for. His reply was

I would like to see one billion smiles

Even though the answer seems a bit vague I feel that the intention seems to be bull’s eye.It was always a dream for me that I attend a lecture by APJ. Though I must admit that this wasnt the most captivating and interesting one I diod feel satisfied. I thank the organizing team for giving me the experience.