I Disappointed APJ Abdul Kalam at Hyderabad

APJ Kalam was then the Director of DRDO-Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), Hyderabad¾long before he became Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister and subsequently President of India. On way to Bangalore I thought I would meet, after a very long gap, my friend Mahipat Singh Himayat Singh Jhala (Jhala), who was then holding an important position the office of DRDL. Earlier Jhala and I served DRDO-Defence Electronics Research Laboratory (DLRL), a sister lab of DRDL, together and we both were posted at the Field Research Station of DLRL in INS-Valsura, Jamngagar (which was hometown of Jhala).

I thought I would make a surprise visit to Jhala’s residence without letting Jhala know beforehand. Jhala was not at his residence when I reached there. It was Sunday and though it was holiday Jhala was in his office. There he was supposed to report to the Lab Director APJ. His wife knew me only through my photograph and hence he could identify me. He informed Jhala through telephone of my visit and Jhala within no time came from his office at DRDL to his nearby residence (Lab quarter). Before coming home from the office he took leave from APJ for Monday, too, so that he could spend time with me. During that period, DRDL was very busy in its ballistic missile programme.  APJ requested Jhala to take me to his office so that he could see me before we went out for local sightseeing. I was very much interested to meet the legendary.  Jhala however did not take me to his office since he was apprehending that APJ would convince me to curtail our programme so that Jhala could be brought back to his office work as soon as possible. However, I was supposed to leave Hyderabad the next day by early morning flight for Bangalore to attend an official programme. So, to some extent I was relieved that I did not take Jhala from his office for a long period.

Even then I am sorry that I disappointed the great man APJ by taking Jhala off from his office though for a short while!