“Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.”-Kalam
Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen( APJ) Abdul Kalam was born in a small village to a boat owner and his wife. At an early age he was selling newspapers to help his family sustain themselves. His first dream to become a fighter pilot was crushed as he placed 9th in the qualifiers for IAF and there were only 8 positions available. A crushed dream would have spelled the end of ambitions for many but for him it just ignited his desire to prove himself and thus began what can only be described as a fairy tale journey. But that would be doing a disservice to the incredible hard work and determination that made him an inspirational figure.
He began his career with DRDO but then it was at ISRO that he found his true home. He achieved extraordinary things in Satellite Launch Vehicles and then later on in Missile development. Over the years, working on various ISRO and DRDO projects, he made a name for himself as one of the foremost space and nuclear scientists in India. He earned the title of the Missile man of India for his extraordinary contribution to improving India’s defense capabilities in this arena. He was also the Co-Chief Project Coordinator for the Pokhran -2 nuclear tests.
A little known fact is that along with Cardiologist Soma Raju he also developed a low cost coronary stent called Kalam-Raju Stent.
His scientific achievements notwithstanding his term as President is the platform from where he truly touched the nation of a Billion people. His messages of inspiration crossed all divides of religion, age, caste and creed. His simple eloquence; the beatific smile; and the utter conviction with which he delivered his messages inspired people from all walks of life, people with different socio economic backgrounds, with or without science backgrounds and made them all believe that nothing is truly impossible. He symbolized the fact that hard work pays and sanity still prevails in what may seem at times to be a chaotic world.
His desire to be remembered as a teacher manifested itself in his enthusiastic interactions with students across the nation. He was an incredible project manager, a gifted scientist and a brilliant writer but his true calling was being a teacher. His lectures and speeches were simple and succinct ;and with his own personal example he showed that your birth, your circumstances, your religion and your failures do not stop you or define you in any way. That life is a journey of a thousand steps and even if you stumble at a few you can pick yourself up and reach the very top. That if you are passionate enough about your vocation then age wouldn’t stop you from thoroughly enjoying the twilight of your career or life for that matter. And that a life well lived makes you immortal and inspirational for generations to come.
There are countless inspirational quotes and anecdotes about APJ Abdul Kalam or as he came to be known, the People’s President; but for me what truly makes him extraordinary is his humility and humanity. The kind of stature accorded to him by virtue of his achievements could have made him inaccessible or arrogant. But he cared for his fellow human in a way few truly can. He was always a humble gentleman who wanted to teach and try and inspire the next generations to aspire for something extraordinary. With the essence of a true teacher he used his examples and experience to show the various facets of life and arouse through truth and simple messages the latent or; in times of despair; seemingly impossible ambitions amongst generations of not only Indian students but across the world wherever his story and words reached.
There are legends and true stories that awe and inspire us. And then there are the best teachers like APJ Abdul Kalam who make it all seem simple and reduce the complexity of life and ambitions to simple maxims. Who define what it takes to be extraordinary and that the seemingly impossible is within our grasp if we do not give up and work hard every step of the way. He may have passed on but he has ignited a billion minds. His messages will live on in the memories of a nation and his amazing life would continue to fuel the imagination and dreams of students in the remotest of villages to the biggest of metropolitan cities.

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Some people truly transcend barriers and make an indelible mark on the psyche’s of all those they directly or indirectly touch. You, most venerable sir, were one of them. May the fires you lit burn brightly and make the future a brighter and happier place for Humanity.

By- Shipra Goel and Aseem Mahajan


Happy Birthday Dad

Posted: 13th August 2015 by aseem.ace in Thoughts
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Father quote

I have found the one. We are getting married. She is perfect. But hey dad do you know something?  I miss you. God damn it I will always miss you. You were serenity. You were smiles. You always calmed the turmoil within me with your infinite patience and selfless love. But hey you had to leave abruptly didn’t you. Without even meeting her. Leaving my life story with a hole nobody and nothing can ever fill. A void where warm sunshine and tranquility was always mine to tap into.

How did you do it?  How did you day after day absorb all our tantrums and complaints and shit out rainbows. What were you made of?  I don’t even need to colour your memory with the bright colors of nostalgia to appreciate how truly incredible you were. I wanted to repay you in some little way. But you didn’t even allow that. Damn you. I never could repay you. But I wanted to give you small joys. The joy of knowing Shipra for instance. Imagining that moment when you two would have met for the first time is a secret obsession of mine. The way you would have beamed at her and she would have known a selfless love akin to her own parents. The way you would have laid all and every fear of her to rest. I try my best dad. But I am not you. You would have helped her overcome any and all obstacles with your wisdom and bottomless reserves of selfless love.

The extent to which mom would have been happy and content rather than bereft without you. You left a gaping hole in all our lives but none more so than mom’s. We all try hard to fill that void but again we are not you. Everything would have been infinitely better with you in our lives.

I can just imagine the way you would have looked at Ady. The way only you could have loved all of us. Equally yet infinitely. What were you? I didn’t deserve you but I didn’t deserve to lose you either. Without you life is like a rudderless boat. You were the best father anybody in the world could have had. And you were my father. And you left me so abruptly and with such finality. Do you know how much it hurts knowing that Shipra will never meet you? That one day when I am a father my child will never meet you. If you still exist somewhere know this. I am very cross with you. But even as an atheist sometimes I strongly suspect that Shipra happened for a reason. And that was the blessings you left with me. Thank you for having existed. If nothing else you made me nearly good enough to be worthy of someone as amazing as Shipra. But I will always be angry that you didn’t stick around for knowing her and interacting with her which would have been the greatest joy of my life.

You were my best friend. Guide. Philosopher. I love you dad. Always will.

By- Aseem Mahajan

Comments Off on How to Assign Meaning to a Meaningless World

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First step is to make sure that he who dies, dies not in vain, 
Second to make sure that he who screams, screams not in pain, 
Third that the tears which come unbidden are those of joy and sorrow casts not a shade on our ephemeral existence, 
Fourth that we laugh honestly at least once a day and do something that makes  at least one person grateful for our existence, 
Fifth that we empathize with those who have a sorrow darkening their skies, 
Sixth we make memories to cherish with friends and family as time on silent wings flies, 

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Seventh that we imagine, read and do things that open our minds to the wonders of this glorious world we share, 
Eighth we do not develop walls confining and constricting our emotions and show to everyone who matters that we honestly care, 
Ninth life is short and we may be gone by the morrow but let’s be fireflies on the darkest of nights, 
Tenth let the world shine brighter with our glowing selves and on the moonlit sky let’s cast our lights, 
Eleventh we shall see suffering but not let that define us for the worst, 
Twelfth let’s not settle for the average and let’s shoot for the stars even if it be in the shortest burst,

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Thirteenth let’s make our living matter as we are privileged to be the spectators to the glory of the universe, 
Fourteenth let us feed our souls by creating and consuming music, art, poetry and verse, 
Fifteenth the music shall linger even when the smiles fade if we find a way to express the inexpressible poetry inherent in the apparently mundane, 
Sixteenth let’s all shed our circumscribed selves and cast off the chains that make us definably sane, 
Seventeenth the mind is a minefield or a valley of flowers and the choice is always ours to make,
Eighteenth the world is enough to absorb, absolve and forgive all our errors, and the greatest joy of being alive is Ours to define and take,

Meaning may ultimately be found or not in a person, feeling, a cause or a thousand random things,

But at least the  search for meaning keeps us going on this journey despite all the twists and turns which time brings.


By – Aseem Mahajan


An Ode to Mom

Posted: 10th May 2015 by aseem.ace in Thoughts
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mothers-dayAs I tend to frequently remind her she was the inspiration for my first ever creative effort. Of all the muses I have flirted with the most enduring one. What can one say about a mother that’s not been said or expressed in the choicest of words or in gestures and expressions that are over and beyond the power of scribbled sentences? I will try anyways.

From the fogs of my earliest memories I can recall the times I was up to no good (and to the utter horror and grief of my parents those times were many) and all she did was scold or chide me. Never has she hit me in exasperation. Amazing patience and fortitude must have been required considering all the little and big things I have done as a child ( I like to think I don’t do such things anymore, but who am I really kidding 😛 ) .

When I fell sick the tender care with which she nursed me back to health made her seem like a Florence nightingale and a personal angel rolled into one.  The frequent prayers and her wishing to take my sickness upon herself to alleviate my misery. 1.5 years ago I had a dose of the same tender care as I felt like a child again looking up at my big beautiful angel as she fussed about me.

The hard commute to work to earn for giving us a semblance of the good life. Working long hours and commuting through ways which were pretty tiring and harsh; yet returning home with the widest of smiles. Pushing me to achieve more, be more . To realize and fulfill my potential.

The journeys where I kept my head in her lap and slept blissfully. Unaware of the heat, humidity and the discomfort it would have been for her on umpteen occasions.

The harsh suffering that came our way 5.5 years ago taking away the best imaginable father and husband and our journey after that has brought us closer.  I had an opportunity to be by her side through the biggest turmoil of our life and she showered me with love and blessings far beyond anything I ever did for her. Leaving her alone with naught but my faithful dog for company is a harsh reality that makes me feel guilty every day.

Seeing her face light up when she plays with my nephew is an indescribable joy.


Her innocence, charity and benevolence makes me want to protect and cherish her. Everything good in me comes from the exemplary conduct I have witnessed her and dad presenting an example of every single day I spent with them.

Through my triumphs and failures she has stood by me. The person who would celebrate my joys and console me on my losses without fail. We may have our misunderstandings , fights and skirmishes but we fight freely only with the people who we know will always forgive us. So forgive me mom for all my harsh words.

Bringing a new person into my life as my partner for the rest of my journey was made so much easier by her warm acceptance. The bond that is nascent yet stronger every day between my mom and my Wife to be makes me happy and proud to have these two beautiful ladies in my life.

I may be far mom but my thoughts are always with you. You are the rainbow after a thunderstorm and my true home would always be incomplete without you. With dad gone and no way to even start repaying my tremendous debt to him; plus the place you hold in my heart, all I will ever do for you will be but insufficient. May you have a happy, healthy and wonderful life ahead. All of us love you and cherish you so much. Happy Mothers’ Day mom.

By- Aseem Mahajan




Posted: 28th April 2015 by aseem.ace in Thoughts
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They do not envy your loss, they only envy your gain,
They envy your happiness, they do not envy your pain,
They envy your wandering, they do not envy that you are hopelessly lost,
They envy your enjoyment of the snowfall not the pain you endure with the frost,
They envy your winter sunshine and the summer breeze caressing you with its calming essence,

They do not envy the ones you lost and the ones you ache for even if for an ephemeral presence,

They envy your togetherness and do not envy the long periods of longing,

They envy your interesting life and not your sense of not belonging,

They envy the sane and happy people in your life who bring you joy,

They do not envy the ones who leech your spirit of all hope and with your feelings irascibly toy,

They envy your hope and optimism in the face of defeat,

They do not envy the stress and anxiety you feel as with trepidation you try to your demons beat,

They envy your wings and your flight into the clear open skies,

They do not envy your crashes and the moments when your spirit a slow death dies,


They envy your possessions material and otherwise,

They don’t envy your fading into oblivion in failure’s vice,

They envy what they perceive as an achievement or happiness,

They do not acknowledge or envy your mind numbing pain and duress,

They envy everything positive in your life and turn a blind eye to your struggle,

You cry in anguish and they turn a deaf ear and along with your sadness this wanton apathy too you juggle.

By Aseem Mahajan


“When a small child, I thought that success spelled happiness. I was wrong, happiness is like a butterfly which appears and delights us for one brief moment, but soon flits away.” -Anna Pavlova


It peeks at us from around the corner. Smiling invitingly. Singing the siren’s song to mesmerize us. And as we rush towards it the damn thing vanishes into thin air mocking us to the very end.

It shows a glimpse of itself in shadows on sunny days. On a rainy day we catch its scent as petrichor or  get drenched with it as we dance under a rainy sky with a loved one. It rises as a vapor from that hot cup of your favorite beverage on a cold day. Like the whiff of a bonfire amidst the glorious mountains it tugs at our heartstrings. But like a mirage taunting a dying person lost in a desert it promises us the safety line of an oasis and then fades away leaving naught but emptiness in its stead.


Why do we declare that our intention is to be happy and then we do everything that makes us unhappy? Obsess about things that aren’t as important as we build them into. Know what would make our lives easier, less stressful and happier and then in our laziness and apathy ignore those very actions. Misunderstand, mistrust and derive negative meanings out of statements made by people who obviously care so much about us that they couldn’t have possibly meant it that way. Insulting and pushing away those who love us. Letting the negative people enter our mind space and sow seeds of doubt. Do jobs that make every day a task rather than an exciting journey towards a particular goal. Let egos get the better of our rationality and empathy. Know our reactions are irrational and not apologize anyways. Take people who care the most for our success and happiness for granted.


The beast slips away due to one or the other reason. We gasp, grasp at straws and blame the world and everyone else but we are responsible for our own happiness or unhappiness. To catch and tame the beast what we need is empathy; trust; hard work; taking responsibility for our own actions and their consequences; and a little slice of luck. But damn it one or the other is mostly lacking. And amidst plenty there is a drought. The beast is not scarce but very wily. So if you catch it do share it with the rest of us. Let’s have a hearty meal of happiness sprinkled with positivity and maybe, just maybe, a significant number amongst us may not feel famished anymore.

For me there are little islands where the beast finds it difficult to hide from me. As I stare into those smiling eyes of hers and hold those beautiful delicate hands, as if they were a life vest and I were drowning in this merciless ocean that existence is, I catch more than a glimpse of this elusive beast. And I know I have to hold on with all my might to those moments; for happiness is the most precious treasure of all and the one who can take me to it the most important person in my time on this ball of blue floating amidst the stars.

By – Aseem Mahajan



Shipra and Me


With thoughts of you my words spontaneously bleed,
On our happiness and love they flourish and feed,

happy page -US



You fit so snugly in the nook of my arm,

With you by my side the greatest challenges seem benign hurdles and the world’s blows seem to do no harm,




That crazy twinkle in your eyes as I look upon that angelic face makes me swoon inside with joy and gratefulness at discovering you,
Staring into your eyes I lose myself and all that I ever was before you waltzed into my life when I was down and blue,

My name sounds like a beautiful song when you utter it with that loving inflection in your voice,

I feel incredibly lucky that of all the men in the world who would have been lucky to be your partner you advertently or inadvertently made me your choice,




I re-emerged new born and happier with a spring in my step and hope brimming over the rim of the shallow cup of my full heart,
Life began anew and my soul was refreshed as a wonderful journey with you I began to start,

Airports have become the terminals where we find and lose each other all over again,

Just being at an airport now makes me nostalgic and fills me up with a bittersweet pain,

Happy page airport


It’s been a while now but the love is as alive as ever and scaling new heights every day,
Just as I think this is the peak of my affection to make me grow fonder you somehow find a way,

Sleeping with you by my side or cuddling with you is going to be an incredible joy,

Every time I wake up I want to look at that beautiful face and with those impish hair toy,

happiness page waking up



The happiness of finding you is an unprecedented joy that gave purpose to my meandering soul,
Your unanticipated  but extremely welcome smiles and love filled the void within me and your existence made my hollow universe seem for the first time to be an entity whole,

Your voice even when talking about the most trivial things is a haunting melody mesmerizing me,

I smile noticing your quirks, your excitement, your joy and the happiness in your voice and how with each other we can say anything and everything being totally free,

happy page listening to you


Your kisses and caresses are sure to send waves of ecstasy running through my previously tattered mortal shell,
With you in it my life changed its course to a heavenly interlude from what seemed like an inevitable downward spiral to hell,

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You excite me and make me feel so alive,

Into a new sea of happiness with you I have been allowed to dive,

You sleeping with your head in my lap or me keeping my head in yours,

There is indescribable joy coursing through my body in those moments wherein I could stay happily lost for hours,

Happy page falling asleep


Loving you comes naturally to me and every day I strive to be more worthy of being loved in return,
For despite logic you love me immensely as I scratch my head to figure out why?, while basking in the warmth of your love which I somehow did earn,

Listening to you before I fall asleep has become as essential as air for my continued existence or so it seems,

With your random spurts of affection and childish expressions of love I smile broadly and the very essence of my being with a radiant joy beams,

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Witnessing your silly moments and that occasional ridiculous laugh is such a joy to behold,

There are just so many things about you that make me happy that you are almost too precious to me truth be told,

Happy page laugh



I may not be a great or even a passable dancer but for you I will try as your exuberance while dancing warms my heart,

To be your dance partner this idiot with 2 left feet will efforts to find some sort of rhythm start,

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We may have our share of misunderstandings and we may over the most ridiculous things fight,

But at the end of the most heated arguments but a word of love sets everything right,

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You are my soul mate, my best friend and my lover all rolled into one incredible human being who has become my most precious and vital thing,

We may be far in terms of distance and the fights may seem to make the distances more biting but at the end of the day I will always come back to you as true joy to my existence only you can bring,

happy page best friend


I am in love with you and with us and the very essence of happiness for me is being with you or knowing that you are happy and in love with me somewhere,

In physical forms we may be apart but in spirits we are together forever in the future and in the here,happy page forever


Happy Valentine’s day my love and thanks for being there in my life,

Can’t wait for the day we are together formally too as man and wife.

happy page you in my life


By- Aseem Mahajan.

Images Courtesy the Happy Page.