Dad always says, “Murda-parasto ki duniya” (the world only appreciates the dead).
India mourned a very significant loss this week, that of Dr. Abdul Kalaam Azad (APJ), scientist, former president and a great teacher. I read the news while I was scrolling through my phone in a movie (I do that, escape the boring part of the movie by scrolling my Facebook timeline). I read the news, whispered about it to the person sitting next to me and went back to the movie; it had just gotten interesting again.
Next morning, I came to work and like any good employee, turned on my computer and logged onto Facebook. My timeline was choked with famous quotes of APJ, his pictures, his lessons, his emails, his articles. Basically APJ, in his death had hijacked my timeline.
This is not a unique occurrence though. Remember Robin Williams last year? Or Oscar, my darling Oscar, who was persecuted in his last years, only to go on to become a literary hero in his death.
It’s not like APJ wasn’t great. He was, all his life. The missile man of India! Why, then why is it that the people of India (NRIs included) have suddenly woken up to this, now?
In the last few days I have seen:
- Facebook status of people suddenly starting to read “Wings of fire”
- Petition to rename Madras Institute of Technology after APJ
- A national holiday being declared by our dear Prime Minister (who truly has nothing better to do than get P.R mileage out of every possible issue)
- United Nations also jumped on the band wagon and declared APJ’s birthday as ‘World Students Day”
In my mind’s eye I can see roads and bridges and school taking on a new hero in their christening.
I don’t say, everyone who expressed their sorrow was jumping to be part of the latest trend, I know of people who have for years idolized the great Indian scientist, who brought character to politics. Those people though are very few, the ones that realised his greatness while he was still around.
This week also saw the death of my professor, Mr. Nitin Mukadam, and while I have only heard about APJ, Nitin Sir, stood in front of us, all life and joy, teaching us nuances of marketing few could have known. He was a pleasure to watch. Rarely have I seen a man who gets that excited at the idea of marketing.
The world may mourn APJ, for a week, for a year, or until something new and status worthy comes along, but this week while I feel a sense of loss at the death of APJ, I truly mourn the death of my beloved professor Mr. Nitin Mukaddam.
Love Always, Z