Now is a time when the entire nation will feel a sense of loss that is almost personal. Death, ironically has a way of awakening us, in bringing us to recollect and take note of things that we otherwise take for granted.
Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam passed away on the evening of 27th of July, 2015, aged 83. His loss, many a citizen will agree, is irreplaceable for the country. Minutes after the news of his death came out, social media came alive with countless people recalling anecdotes regarding him, many of them personal. What is striking in each story is the way the scientist reached out to every person, common or elite, in a way that will stay with them forever.
What you do of the time between when you are born, and when you die, is what makes up your life, they say, and if that is anything to go by, Dr. Kalam’s life is a shining epitome of a life well lived.
I had previously mentioned meeting Dr. Kalam during his talk on ‘World Vision 2030 – empowering the 3 billion‘ in IIT-B. I consider myself fortunate enough to have been witness to hear him talk of his visionary ideas for the youth. What made his messages find an eager audience was that he spoke from his heart, and more importantly, he believed us to be capable of doing what we set out to do. It was more than most of us could ask for.
His ideas were simple. Nothing grandiose. Think good, think big, work hard to achieve your dreams.
“Great is a relative term. You must have a dream, continuously acquire knowledge, work hard, persevere, and be unafraid of problems. Then, you get success.”
“Repeat after me – I must have a dream. I will continuously acquire knowledge. Work hard. I will persevere, and be unafraid of problems”, were his concluding words that day during his talk.
A passion so genuine, it will be impossible not to miss your presence, sir. RIP.
By all means, he was a global scientist. Yet, he’ll always be known as ‘the boy from Rameswaram’ or ‘people’s president’ or the ‘Missile Man of India’. Dr. Kalam collapsed while delivering a lecture at Shillong. A teacher by heart, he died doing what he loved to. If this does not inspire us to live fully, nothing probably will.