A Guiding Soul: Remembering Dr APJ Abdul Kalam


A Guiding Soul called Dr APJ Abdul Kalam

“Who would read his idealistic views these days?” said the bookseller, dismissing the book ‘Guiding Souls’ from his view. It was my third futile attempt to sell the book. The only difference being that this bookseller was kind enough to explain the reason why this book would not sell.

“But he is a great man, people would learn a great deal from him. He held the highest office in India. He is Dr APJ Abdul Kalam,” I implored.

“Why don’t you keep it yourself rather than selling it.” he retorted. He had a point.

Disappointed, I left the shop, not before sharing my number with him so that he could contact me, just in case he tends to change his mind. Even insignificant events like these tend to affect you deeply when you are going through a rough patch in personal life.

Going back home, I had to go through a sermon pertaining to my inability to sell old books. Dejected, I picked up the same book (Guiding Souls) to re-read. On the first page Dr Kalam articulated, ‘As there are laws governing the outer world, there are laws governing the inner world. All the chaos and confusion is caused by the ignorance of those laws’.

I was not reading the above line for the first time. Yet, it made sense to me for the first time. It blew my mind for the first time. I slept peacefully for a long time.  The human mind is most peaceful amidst hopelessness, dejection. That stillness helps you meet focus, which helps things to fall into context.

Five days later

On 30th July 2015- post Dr Kalam’s demise on 27th July 2015-my phone rang.

“Sir, you came to me five days ago with the purpose of selling the book Guiding Souls. Have you found a buyer?”

Since I did not answer in affirmative, it got him elated.

“Please don’t sell it. Dr Kalam’s books are in great demand after his death. I won’t buy it for a price of fewer than 100 rupees,” he continued in an ecstatic tone.

However, I was exasperated at the opportunistic nature of people, who are like vultures, which feed on the dead. But, I kept my thoughts to myself and replied in a caustic tone, “Even 1000 rupees won’t suffice. It’s priceless! ”


Those were the days when second-hand books were the norm.

Also Read: Remembering Dr Richard Feynman

Prasad Kulkarni is a Data and Analytics professional. At work, he analyses historical data and ponders over historical events otherwise.

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