Monday, September 9, 2013

Book Review: My Journey by APJ Abdul Kalam

On the jacket:

From a small boy growing up in Rameswaram, to becoming the country's eleventh President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam's life has been a tale of extraordinary determination, courage, perseverance and the desire to excel. In this series of anecdotes and profiles, Dr Kalam looks back on key moments in his past?some small and some momentous?and tells the reader how each of them inspired him profoundly. With warmth and affection, he talks about the people who left a deep impression on him as he was growing up and as an adult, and the lessons he drew from his interactions with them. He describes those who have been the closest to him?his father with his deep love of God, his mother and her great kindness, his mentors who helped shape his thoughts and outlook. There are heart-warming accounts here of his childhood years spent in a small town by the Bay of Bengal and the many struggles and sacrifices made on the path to becoming a scientist and then the President of India. Dr Kalam also writes about the times when failure and dejection nearly overtook him and how he prevailed over those obstacles by drawing strength from books and spirituality.

Nostalgic, honest, and deeply personal, My Journey is the story of a life as rich as it is unusual and the beautiful lessons to be learnt from it.


When I received this book, I was already reading another book. I set it aside and started reading My Journey. I am glad I did so, because this was one spectacular read.

My Journey, as a read, is exactly like it's author is. Simple, with a lot of depth, there is something to learn from each of the short stories and each will inspire the reader in the long way. One sees an achiever, a grownup and sees his/her achievements but to hear or read them talking about significant stories from their childhood, incidents which made them what they are now or indicated what they will be when they grow up.

If you are going to read this book, I suggest you don't rush through it. Read it when you are at peace, with an open imagination. When I read My Journey, I found myself, going about my day with a baby Kalam, in the 1930s. Every chapter opens with a spectacular sketch, my favourite being the sketch of an eight-year-old Kalam before chapter six. It somehow gave me a face to the little boy, the stories were connecting me to.

An eight-year-old Kalam had noticed that the food in his mother's plate was decreasing day by day, during the world war. An average child of that age wouldn't do that. But Kalam took to delivering newspapers at such a tender age, contributing his share to the dinner table. An inquisitive child, who grew up in the small child of Rameswaram - one wonders, how did he get the ambition to be so learned and so accomplished? You read about his parents, his siblings, rest of the family and friends and know - how they were all instrumental in making the person we all know today as the very learned, charming, ex-President of our country, Dr Kalam.

I can go on and on about this book, but the best you can do, is read this book. Doesn't matter if you are a reader or not, as a human, you should.

Rating: 5/5

[This review is for Rupa Publications. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.] 

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