It was this day, that I was waiting for almost a month now. Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam visiting the campus of National Institute of Technology Calicut, my college.
And, it was just yesternight and today’s morning, that I was so excited to get his one glimpse in front of my eyes. Everything in the campus seemed so good yesterday, with all the decorations, lightings and preparations in Open Air Theatre (OAT) and near Aryabhatta Hall.
I woke up early, inspite of having no classes today. Nobody in the hostel seemed to be excited about Abdul Kalam visiting the campus and almost everybody was sleeping even at 7:30. But I was not one of them. I got out of the hostel at around 7:30 and went on for taking some photographs of the decorated campus. I could see a lot of graduands in black gown and wearing that square-shaped graduation caps on their heads, and their relatives crowding near the MB (Main Building) and visualized myself with family visiting the same event after 4 years (of course, Dr. Kalam won’t be visiting anytime soon again). CC was closed as it fell in the way to OAT, which served as the Convocation Hall for today’s ceremony.
I started roaming around here and there to get some photographs (which I will try to publish tomorrow) and waiting for 8:30 AM as this was the time I had decided to go to outside of Aryabhatta where first years’ were supposed to be seated before 9 AM. I captured a good no. of photos. By this time, graduands had started to queue up. Their line started at OAT and ended in Rajpath.
Now I went to the place outside Aryabhatta where they had arranged for a projector and screen to show a live telecast of the Convocation ceremony. Some first year told me that the seniors are not allowing us inside Aryabhatta and I told him it doesn’t matter at all, as anyway Kalam was to visit only the OAT and not come there. However, they were allowing second and third years’ to go in and even telling them to go in if by mistake they sat outside. I just considered this as casual.
Then we sat there and heard Dr. Kalam speak about economic development, role and duties of engineers in national develoment and qualities of a leader. He even described one event from his engineering education years at Madras Institute of Technology (about which I knew already, as I have read his sutobiography - Wings of Fire). During the event, seniors were coming and taking row by row some first year girls and boys inside (mostly girls). Even at this, I didn’t understand that something was unusual. Some students tried to get along with them to go inside but were forced not to.
Then during the awarding of degrees I took a bold step in raising and going in for the washroom (bold as nobody seemed to dare to stand up even) which is on the same way as the stairs to Aryabhatta. When I came back a thought came into my mind: why shouldn’t I just take a look at what’s happening in Aryabhatta by climbing up the stairs as the security was looking away; but then another thought came that it’s not going to be of any benefit. Then, I came back and sat in the first row. but later moved to my original place where my roomy was sitting. Meanwhile, a group of 4 boys went like me inside and never came back.
After some time, seniors came again and took another row of students with them - unlucky me :(.
The ceremony reached to an end and they changed the view of the projected screen from OAT to Aryabhatta. It was at this time that everyone including me realized that Kalam was coming to address in Aryabhatta and inaugurate Tathva ‘09. Many students ran towards the stairs leading to Aryabhatta and some of them succeeded in reaching the hall. I didn’t run.
Here I was: again watching live telecast of Abdul Kalam present there just a few metres away from me. But now I was unable to grasp what he was saying in these words: “Knowledge = Creativity + Righteousness/something of Heart + Courage”. I was lost in my own thoughts during the whole scene. He gave three students the opportunity to ask a question each from him. I so much wanted to run right away into the hall as I had a big question I always wanted to ask Dr. Kalam, but I didn’t.
They had put white clothed walls to hide the main entry to Aryabhatta. When he was leaving the hall, many first years tore away the cloth to see him and later they told me that he waved his hand towards them with a smile. At that time, I ran in opposite direction towards the stairways in hope to take a look at him from Aryabhatta - of course, I didn’t succeed.
So, this is how, opportunities came and came, again and again, and I kept losing them. I missed a chance of a life time to see my ideal.
Today, I was thinking, after all this happened, why was I so excited - then I recalled why. It’s partly because of this person, I am what I am. When I was reading his books: Ignited Minds and Wings of Fire, I was seeing a change in me. Change in my dreams, my attitude, my outlook about the nation and people - a positive change. I was noticing that I was getting the courage to stand for the right and fight against wrong, and the vision to identify what’s right and what’s wrong. I was realizing I had that fire to change the world for a better one just inside me. It’s because of him that I have the confidence to stand up against ragging here at my college without fear.
But everything seemed futile today, when I failed to get even a glimpse of him through my naked eyes.
It’s quite strange how things are going in my life: my missing Shaastra Hackfest, my poor grades in Mechanical Engineering workshop (that, by God’s grace, is finally over, yesterday was the last time I got that 6 out of 10), my screwing up experiments in Chemistry Lab., my laughable nervousness on dais (as I demonstrated, yesterday, in CP class) and this today’s event.
Hope, things will get better in a few days…
EDIT (November 5, 2009): Photos uploaded and apologies as they were supposed to be uploaded on October 23.