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Happy Birthday A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

Dear Dr. Kalam

I have a confession to make and I am not very proud of it. I am not your most ardent follower. I know people who have read all your books cover to cover and take you as a “guiding light” for their lives, if I may say.

I am just not one of them.


I am, instead, a child brought up with anecdotes from “Wings on fire,” carefully woven into my bedtime stories which I now have verbatim because for the 5-year-old me you were Batman.

As a child, outer space was always a fantasy for me. I wanted to be an astronaut. I also knew that you are called the "Missile man of India". You were my hero. So when I was 10, I wrote you a grammatically horrifying—badly worded but heartfelt email from Ma’s account telling you how much I adored you.

I don’t know if you ever read it but on days which I feel lost and devoid of motivation, I read through that email and life gets just a tad bit easier.

Because if the ten-year-old me knew where she was headed the twenty-year-old version would know it too.

You may not have shaped me into what I am but you continue to ornate my being into a better version with every passing day, because just before putting my head to the pillow there is one quote I always go back to, “ Your best teacher is your last mistake,” and that, sir continues to make all the difference.

Happy Birthday.

Warm Regards

The little girl of 10 making up for the poorly worded email she once wrote.

By Arundhati

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