I was six when I saw this benevolent man on television. He had floppy hair with a silver lining gracing his much talked about locks. He had an infectious smile and to a six year old fascinated child he was nothing less than royal. I remember telling my father proudly that the President of India is APJ Abdul Kalam. I was beaming with joy as if I were repeating the name of my own grand-father. Such was the aura of Kalam that even a child of six could be enamored. Now that I am sixteen, almost eleven years later I looked at the news of Abdul Kalam passing away and my first thought was ‘my childhood icon cannot die!’. It was then that I realized that more than a President I had looked at him all these years as a role model, an icon.
APJ Abdul Kalam was more than a scientist, a professor, a writer, a former President; he was a man of venerable status from humble roots. My admiration for him does not stem due to his grounded roots in the temple city of Rameshwaram, it is from his grounded roots even as the President of India. A unique politician; the man was the perfect blend of diplomacy, humility and pride. The legacy a Muslim man from a poor fisherman family in a village unknown is unparalleled. For you can never find a President standing outside Rashtrapati Bhawan after his tenure is over with his two suitcases in his hand looking for a taxi.
APJ Abdul Kalam was a child amongst old politicians who were notorious couch potatoes of the Parliament. Kalam would never cease to work; more than a workaholic he was a visionary and most of all an ignited mind.