Kalam was born in 1931, the son of a little-educated boat owner in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu. His father was also the imam of the small mosque in Rameswaram. He had an unparalleled career as a defence scientist, culminating the highest civilian award of India, Bharat Ratna. As a chief of the country's defence research and development programmer, Kalam demonstrated a great potential for dynamics and innovations that existed in seemingly moribund research establishment. This is the story of Kalam's own rise from obscurity and his personal and professional struggles, as well as the story of AGNI, TRISHUL and NAG missiles that have become household names in India and that have raised the nation to the level of a missile power of international reckoning. Since independence, India has sought in various ways, to self-realization, and to adulation and success.
The book begins with the childhood of Kalam's life. In the beginning, he introduces us to his family and tries to familiarize us with his birthplace Rameswaram. In the childhood, he was a great admirer of his father, Jainulabdeen. He was a man of great wisdom and kindness, and Pakshi Lakshmana Sastry, a close friend of his father and the head priest of the Rameswaram Temple. He had an ideal helpmate in his mother, Ashiamma. He was also influenced by his close friend, Ahmed Jallaluddin; he was about 15 years older than Kalam. With his friend, he talked about spiritual matters. This shows that he believed in spirituality and also believed in God or Khudah. He always went to Lord Shiva's temple with his friends. The latter part of the opening chapters, he introduces his cousin Samsuddin, his school teachers and all the people who were felt any difference amongst them. Here he expresses one event, which happened in his school days,
"Rameswaram Sastry, a new teacher of his school he could not stomach a Hindu Priest's son sitting with a Muslim boy. In accordance with our social ranking as the new teacher saw it, I was asked to go and sit on the back bench. I felt very sad, and so did my parents about the incident. Lakshmana Sastry summoned the teacher, and in our presence, told the teacher that he should not spread the poison of social inequality and communal intolerance in the minds of innocent children".
He completed his school education in the Rameswaram Elementary School and Schwartz High School, Rameswaram. In 1950, he joined St. Joseph's College Trichi, to study for the B. Sc degree course when he realized that physics was not his subject. Then, at last, he applied in Madras Institute of Technology, [MIT]. He or his family could not afford to spend that much of money for the course at MIT. Zohara, his sister stood with him. When he had in a specific branch of aeronautical engineering, the goal was very clear in his mind at that time. And he tried to communicate with different kinds of people. At MIT, their teachers shaped his thoughts, Prof. Sponder, Prof. Kal Pandalai and Prof. Narasingalu Rao. Each of them had carried distinct personalities. Last year MIT was a year of transition and had a great impact on his later life. From MIT, he went out to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, [HAL], at Bangalore as a trainer. There he worked on engine overhauling as part of a team. He had trained in radial engine-cum- drum operations.
After the completion of engineering, he had applied for the Air Force and Directorate of Technical Development and Production –DTP and PC (Air) of the Ministry of Defence. But he was not selected in Air Force because he failed to pass the physical fitness standards. Later, he was appointed in DTP and PC (Air) as senior scientific Assistant on basic salary only of Rs. 250 per month, in 1950. He had to create opportunities on his own. At the stage, he covered 32 eventful years of his life when he was just on the threshold of his career after graduation.
Top 5 books about traveling.
1. Matthew Fort «Sweet Honey, Bitter Lemons: Travels in Sicily on a Vespa».
Matthew Fort traveled Sicilia being hungry and desirous to know the myth of the island. We can call this book «gastronomical diary». The author paid much attention to Sicilian cuisine, especially its features and the differences from Italian cuisine. This novel represents the travel notes made by ordinary person in the most beautiful, quiet and intriguing place.
2. Elizabeth Gilbert «Eat, Pray, Love».
The main character, Elizabeth Gilbert, set off a trip around the world after her painful nodivorce. She has changed her place three times: Italy, India and Bali. In Italy she discovered the world of the simple and sensual pleasures such as delicious food, walking alone and the happiness to know something new about the history, language and architecture. In India Elizabeth has made good friends. She described her life in Ashram where she had to wake up early, followed the vow and prayed every morning. The last place Bali helped her to find the harmony but at the same time she found her love.
3. Heinrich Harrer «Seven Years in Tibet».
Heinrich Harrer leaved his wife and went to Himalaya to reach the Nanga Parbat top. He had not achieved it because of avalanche so the group had to come back to the camp. Heinrich decided to go through Tibet with his friend and soon they came to Lhasu. There the main character met Dalai-Lama who was just ten years. They became friends and suddenly found out the news about occupation of China. In the end Heinrich came back to Austria and reached an understanding with his son. The boy was already 12 at that moment. He forgived his father and they made a decision to go to the mountains together.
4. Peter Mayle «A Year in Provence».
The characters of this book have done so many things which are just dreamt by many of us: they had bought an old house in Provence and started their new life in it. The first year was full of gastronomical pleasures, unexpected discoveries and funny adventures. They learned the game «boules», visited the goat`s run and experienced the pleasure of being in the south French provinces.
5. Gregory David Roberts «Shantaram».
The main character is a former drug seller and robber. He escaped from the prison where he has been staying during nineteen years. After some time spent in Australia he decided to go to Bombay. Due to the personal characteristics he made friends very quickly. He worked as a mediator in the small illegal transactions and lived in the slum where he provided medical care. Lindsay was engaged in illegal trade in currency. In a short period of time two his friends had died and he had gone to Afghanistan where the war was going. The novel is based on a true story although all characters are fictional.