Monday, September 04, 2006

Lives of great men …

I’m not done with Gulzar Sa’ab yet. He introduced me to President Kalam recently.

Dr Kalam’s Wings of Fire has adorned my shelves for years. But space scientists and presidents are extraordinary people. I have little to identify with them. But Gulzar Sa’ab had other plans.

One afternoon he started speaking as we drove to town. He recreated Dr Kalam’s life in colors of hope, aspiration, distress, frustration and love for simple things. We cried, we laughed and most importantly we learnt - so much about life that when the CD got over we sat in the dark basement yearning for more and stepped out, I hope, humbler.

But for Gulzar Sa’ab I would never have known Dr Kalam. He would have remained a great man who sadly, could never touch my life. But he did.

The President of the nation became a simple human being, dedicated to his parents and family, attached to his small town and its people, determined to follow his dreams. I felt his pain when he lost his parents and friends and mentors, his longing for the peace of Rameshwaram, I laughed on his comments on the paan-chewing imitations of Wajid Ali Shah in Kanpur and the dog-walking sahibs in Bangalore. But what stood out were his inspirational words, specially the power of positive thinking, and perseverance.

He quotes the words of Swami Shivananda (to Dr Kalam) after his unsuccessful attempt to join the IAF:

Desire, when it stems from the heart and spirit, when it is pure and intense, possesses awesome electromagnetic energy. This energy is released into the ether each night, as the mind falls into sleep state. Each morning it returns to the conscious state reinforced with the cosmic currents. That which has been imagined will surely and certainly be manifested...

Accept your destiny and go ahead with your life…. What you are destined to become is not revealed now but it is predetermined. Forget this failure as it is essential to lead you to your destined path. Search, instead, for the true purpose of your existence. Become one with yourself, my son! Surrender yourself to the wish of God.

The Hindustani version is called Parwaaz and comes with an audio CD, compellingly rendered by Gulzar Sa’ab.