India: The People’s President…


Last week I had a unique opportunity to watch Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam speak. Dr. Kalam was regarded in India as the People’s President and served in office from 2002-2007. He is known, interestingly enough, to play a key role in India’s space race and nuclear development, quite odd combination for such a humble man. It was not only amazing to see the former President but to also have a lecture, as his roots are truly academic. This put icing on the cake. Now I will preface this, however, that I am not deeply connected to India’s politics and thus my thoughts are from my initial impression.

I had the privilege to join about a hundred of Cambridge’s top Indian professors and researchers to fill an intimate sized lecture room. There is no doubt that Cambridge has been home for many Indian nationals including some of my close friends here. Some of the most famous alums include- the cricketer Prince Ranjitsinhji (1872-1933), India’s Prime Ministers, Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964) and Rajiv Gandhi (1944-1989); and Amartya Sen (born 1933), foremost economist and Nobel Prize winner.


What I wanted to write about was not necessarily about the topic that Dr. Kalam spoke about- Creative Leadership. Although the lecture was great in of it self as Dr. Kalam highlighted different personal experiences tying them  to leadership.  What I would like to highlight are some of my initial thoughts about the talk and my impressions of a leader from one of the world’s most powerful countries.

Dr. Kalam spoke beautifully, and clearly demonstrated a unique passion for education, especially for the youth. When asked by a Chinese professor about the future relationship of India and China, Dr. Kalam’s response was simple. “I believe they are naturally allies,” and this begins with righteousness in the heart, he ended. The point Dr. Kalam stressed  was that these two natural allies must be taught to work together from three key influential players in a child’s life- the mother, the father, and (this was the best part because all the Indian’s in the room said it in unison) the teacher. This comes to show how much Indians have continuously valued education, which has been reinforced through my own personal friendships.


A question that completely was expected but the response caught me off guard was when Dr. Kalam was asked by a Physics Post-Doc student (when she mentioned that, Dr. Kalam asked what her dissertation was on), what do you recommend for all the Indians who have left India and have settled down? Dr. Kalam’s response was straight forward and honest- do your best for yourself and your country (that you live in). I was honestly expecting a response such as – don’t forget India. Yet, Dr. Kalam showed realism in that many Indians who have immigrated to other countries have already settled down and are raising their children. To these people, India becomes a second home that is never forgotten and always remembered.

The best moment was at the end when a professor of business was giving a closing thank you, Dr. Kalam interrupted him and clearly made the point that he can be emailed through his website and he will ensure a response within 24 hours.

(This reminded me of a side thought- are people successful because they response within 24 hours or because people responded within 24 hours they are successful? This was a question that was proposed as major companies such as Amazon and Ebay were booming.)

Just some thoughts…

| if I knew all the words I would write myself out of here. |

A Snowday in Cambridge…

A day in my eyes…

P.S. not really a fan of putting my name on pictures, so if you really like them let me know and I can email original to you. Just don’t forget who took it :-).

| if I knew all the words I would write myself out of here. |

800 Years of Scholarship…

The reason I have failed to update the blog has been based on multiple reasons. Mainly because of the transition of moving from the US to the UK. It has taken sometime to get adjusted and I still feel like I am in vacation mode. I have now officially started my master’s program at the University of Cambridge studying a very amazing multidisciplinary program. My day started with entrepreneurship and ended with microeconomics. Trust me, Game Theory is ‘tizzite’. The rest of the week I get to study Treatment of Cancer, Viral Infectious Diseases, Cardiovascular Disease in the mornings and Decision Theory and Commercializing Sciences in the evenings.

As a member of Downing College (Cambridge is organized much like Hogwats in Harry Potter), the view outside my window looks a bit like this:

What does 800 years encompass?

-    83 Nobel Prizes
-    15 British Prime Ministers
-    3 Prime Ministers of India
-    2 Prime Ministers of Singapore
-    1  Prime Minister of Australia
-    Sir Isaac Newton (The laws of motion)
-    Charles Darwin (Evolution by natural selection)
-    J. J. Thomson (discovered the electron)
-    Ernest Rutherford (orbital theory of an atom)
-    Niels Bohr (understanding atomic structure)
-    Howard Florey (involved in the discovery of penicillin)
-    Hans Krebs (discovering the citric acid cycle)
-    Max Born (fundamental research into quantum mechanics)
-    James Watson &  Francis Crick (determining the structure of DNA)
-    Roger Y. Tsien (2008 Nobel Prize Winner, discovery and development of the green fluorescent protein)
-    King Edward VII, King George VI and Prince Charles did their undergraduate degree
-    Apparently one of the first places football (soccer) rules were established
-    Endowment of almost $8 billion

+ many other things that I may have not heard about or found through the Cambridge Website/Wikipedia.
In the mean time, I have purchased a nice dandy squash racket and plan to indulge myself into this really great sport. Apparently you can burn up to 1000 calories per hour!!!

As I slowly get back in the habit of trying to write some of my thoughts, I leave you with my last picture on US soil with my dear “mum”.

Obama ’08

| if I knew all the words I would write myself out of here. |