Arthur C Clarke

I was about to enter the FOSSSL Conference on Friday to listen to Bruce's presentation, when Sanjiva stopped me asking if I can take David and Sam to see Arthur C Clarke (`Dr Clarke', as we normally call him here in Sri Lanka). I had seen him many times, but had never `met', so I jumped at this and said `yes!'. Four of us, David, Sam, my brother Sanjaya and myself, managed to pack ourselves into my little Jimny, and headed towards Dr Clarke's residence. It wasn't difficult to find the place, and apparently we were expected. The office was in the 1st floor (if one start counting from 0, or `ground floor'), and there was an interesting 'road sign' in the middle of the staircase which had an arrow pointing upwords: `Mars, 30,000,000 miles'. Prof Sam and Danese had already arrived. Dr Clarke was very cheerful in his ways, although he was affected by post-polio syndrome. He looked at the `GNU/Linux' sign on my T shirt while shaking hands, and commented `so you are one of the Linux guys' (or something to that effect). He also came up with a funny joke popular in the FOSS circles. We spent about an hour with Dr Clarke and the discussion was diverse. David took pictures of almost everything in the room. When Danese asked Dr Clarke if he believes in god, he was quick to reply `No, but I hope she believes in me'. We all got copies of a reprint of Dr Clarke's famous 1945 article on Wireless World which led to the invention of satellite communication. He asked us to bring along the copies to his table to be autographed, and while doing that, he said in a perfect street-salesman tone `ten rupees, ten rupees!'. At the age of (around) 85, he is still active and cheerful, and is looking forward to dive again.

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