It was their maiden meeting. But rocket scientist APJ Abdul Kalam and Nobel Laureate John Forbes Nash hit it off like long lost friends; the President holding his globally admired guest in thrall by his "grace and hospitality".
"It was a gup-shup in a perfect ambience between two extraordinary minds," an official present at the 45-minute interaction between Nash and Kalam told the Hindustan Times. The 1994 Nobel Prize winner later termed it as a "memorable" experience.
Nash's wife Alicia and son John Charles Martin Nash accompanied him to Rashtrapati Bhawan. Kalam impressed them no end by his hospitality and his understanding of Nash Equilibrium; the Nobel Laureate's seminal contribution to Game Theory used for studying human behaviour.
They discussed the relevance of Nash Equilibrium in spheres other than economics, the President's vision of Indian and the need to measure prosperity in terms of the happiness quotient, not merely GDP growth. The murky weather cleared for a while as Kalam escorted them to the Mughal Gardens where peacocks pranced amid blooming roses and mandarin orange trees.
Kalam presented Nash a set of "personally autographed" books. His gift for Alicia was a collection of his poems. The guests relished as much the lavish spread of snacks, especially the coconut-chutney served with south Indian delicacies.
Proper to the hilt, Kalam was careful not to recall Nash's troubled past, the schizophrenia and the delusions he fought back to earn the Nobel.