'So, what do you know about missiles!' It was a question asked with a directness that disarmed me completely. We were travelling with President Kalam to Bihar and I was attempting to profile India's new president. As a student of economics and law, I knew very little about missiles, a fact which I readily confessed to the president. 'Don't worry, I will teach you!' he said with typical enthusiasm.
One of the best-known faces on television news says he is neither, as he talks about the state of India and the controversies surrounding him.
Like millions across the world, the Wimbledon men's singles final had me transfixed with rising emotional fervour. It's been a bit of a ritual stretching back to the late 1970s: watching the finals with family and friends. Remember those glorious Borg vs McEnroe finals in black and white on Doordarshan where suddenly in the middle of a tense moment the TV signal would go on blink with a 'rukavat ke liye khed hai' plastered on your screen? We are now in the age of 60 inch mega screen TVs with HD sound and much more. They even take you into the players' locker rooms (well, almost) and the camera is able to catch every grin and grimace in close-up.
Aligarh Muslim university: the name conjures up images of another age.
Prime minister Narendra Modi attracts strong, polarised responses: you either love him or hate hi
A few years ago, we invited a public vote to decide on the greatest Indian after Mahatma Gandhi for the History tv channel. The winner, by some distance, was Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. The architect of the Indian constitution is that rare individual: ignored in life, venerated in death. Ironically, we see the opposite with Jawaharlal Nehru: hero-worshipped as India's first prime minister, now targeted years later.
I interviewed General VK Singh before he became a minister. This was soon after he had retired amidst swirling rumours that he was planning to join politics after his rather controversial exit as army chief. He struck me as a fine man (as most soldiers are) but also a rather angry man who seemed to believe that the entire world was conspiring against him. He spoke with bitterness, over his conflicts with the government, with his fellow senior officers and with the political class.