One more thing ! ......

"Dr Kalaam- A Sthita Pragnya !! "

Dr Kalam - a Sthitha Pragnya !

A great man, a great Leader and a great Teacher !

For all those who were fortunate to interact with him every meeting with him will always be etched in a memory !

There will hardly be any who would not have heard of him. In that sense I also knew about him and read about him as I grew up. But my knowledge about him got multiplied several times when I was in Trivandrum. Mr. Seetharaman, the then Chairman of Keltron was a classmate of Dr. Kalam at MIT in Chromepet. As a Director of ER&DC Trivandrum, I was also a member of the Board at Keltron. So at the end of those Board meetings we would discuss about R&D and inevitably the discussions end up with talking about Kalam. So more admiration !.

Eventually I moved to Hyderabad to head ECIL. In my very first visit to ECIL at Hyderabad I wanted to meet two stalwarts both connected with ECIL. They are Dr. Kalam heading a DRDO lab in Hyderabad and Dr. AS Rao the founder of ECIL. Dr. Kalam was also on the board of ECIL at that time. My meetings were essentially to have their blessings before taking over at ECIL.

I met Dr. Kalam in his office. That was the first time I was meeting him. He asked me about ER&DC what we were working etc. He classified me as an R&D man and said he is happy that an R&D man will be heading ECIL. ECIL at that point was in a critical juncture and I told him that we will need his support. Looking straight back he told me " Chalapati you will always have my support". He would call me Kasarabada as well as Chalapati though there was no pattern about it . Immediately there after he moved to Delhi as the Scientific Adviser to Raksha Mantri. I was always able to meet him when ever I went to Delhi.

At that time ECIL was already doing couple of projects in the IGMDP program. We were wanting to get into bigger pieces of DRDO projects. Whether it was the initial seedlings of our Madhusudanrao with Kalam's successor at the DRDO labs in Hyderabad , or Kaul's indigenous effort with Bapat or the fair mindedness of Dr. Atre in giving ECIL a break , we got a piece of a major project worth a few hundred crores. Actually I suspect it is more because of Dr. Kalam's blessings.

All through this period I was able to regularly meet him just briefing about what we were doing at ECIL.

Then I moved away from ECIL. He also has travelled quite a distance on a different path in becoming the President of India. I was one of the many silent admirers. There after there have not been any occasions to meet him. Subsequently there was an IT event in Bangalore. Sitting in front row we all stood up when he walked in . As he walked past us he flashed a smile at me though I was not sure he recognized me. Then after relinquishing the office of President , he was addressing a life skills conference at Hyderabad ( Dec. 2010 ) five years ago. Myself along with another ex DRDO colleague Gen. Bagga were sitting in the audience in the front row ! During his speech he took both of our names 'Kasarabada and Gen. Bagga' .

That we were delighted is an understatement.

After his lecture we virtually ran after him and had a picture with him!

We were like school kids, delighted with a small pat from the teacher.

And he was the teacher !

||om tat sat||

||om tat sat||