There are people who always seem like distant stars, too big and far to touch and feel. But then you get star-crossed once in a while, right? And the monstrosity of that event dawns upon you much later. I have always known Dr APJ Abdul Kalam as our president and a great scientist. He’s been as far from my life as anyone could be; the way we read about presidents in our lives.
Cut to 2005, exactly ten years ago. I was in the last semester of my Master’s degree. There’s been a buzz before the Durga Puja holidays that the president Dr Kalam would be visiting the Calcutta University main campus for a lecture and tête-à-tête with selected students from all the departments and campuses. I don’t know how but I had been selected by the professors for this event, and I was shell-shocked to know that I had to attend it. Shocked, and not pleasantly surprised, because I was (and still am) a very shy person. I couldn’t imagine myself in the huge auditorium with a big audience and the president himself!