news Tuesday, July 28, 2015 - 05:30
  As narrated by Y Jayaprakash, a senior video-journalist with a prominent English news channel. It was the year 2002. He had not been declared a Presidential candidate just yet. He was still a humble professor and scientist, living in a small, near-dilapidated room in Anna University in Chennai. It is not clear if he had already heard rumors of his name doing the rounds that morning, but he certainly did not know it was public knowledge. When reporters in Chennai got wind of his possible nomination, they landed up at his tiny Anna University room at about 5:30am. This video-journalist and his reporter were working for Zee News then. Kalam was a humble man, and nobody knew him well enough to recognize him right away, leave alone in casual attire. As reporters and cameramen waited outside his room, they saw a small human figure - dressed in a blue-checked lungi and khaddar banian - returning from his morning walk towards them. As he approached them, someone in the reporters group alerted everyone that it was him, that the man was Kalam. Reporters clamoured with their mics and cameras and approached him. With the sun just rising and camera lights flashing at him, Kalam - in his casual attire - was taken aback. He literally ran away from the cameras and towards his room, not knowing what was happening. He didn't speak to anyone. Then a university peon came around. Reporters told him what they were there for, and the peon conveyed it to Kalam. This video-journalist cannot forget the image of a short, lungi-banian-dressed Kalam scampering away into the room. After a while, a confused Kalam stepped out and asked the reporters, why they were following him, and if they were sure it is him who they wanted to speak to? When he was told that his name was being considered as a Presidential candidate, he said he did not know about that and that he was hearing about it for the first time from them. He still seemed confused. Through that day and the one after, it became clear that he was indeed a contender. He spoke to the media in Chennai before heading off to Delhi to officially address the media there.  Rest, as they say, is history. Image courtesy: www.annauniv.edu

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