Uncertainty is the way of life. Life has strange ways of testing you and relieving you. One moment you are enlightening students on "Creating a livable Planet Earth" and the other you fall off and die. Sounds so unreal! Sadly this is how life ended for our revered and always inspiring Dr. Kalam. I was travelling to Delhi in a train when I got the news update on my phone about his sad demise. I was aghast. This was the last news I had expected. I just couldn't believe it. I googled for it and there it was, the bitter truth in front of my eyes. Dr. Kalam had collapsed on the stage while giving a speech at IIM Shillong.
As far as I know and remember, he has been one of the most popular presidents in India. The missile man as he was aptly called, had a very deep influence on the citizens of India, children and elders alike. He was widely respected in the country and beyond. His death is such a shock from which at least I haven't recovered yet. I am sure many people across the country share my state of mind. It’s not that I knew him personally or was an acquaintance of him, it is just the kind of impact he had on our minds, our thinking.
I still remember my parents gifting me his autobiography “Wings of fire" when I was in 8th grade. It was such an inspiring and motivational read. A man from humble origins, who went on to become the missile man and eventually the president, Dr. Kalam became an icon one could always look up to.
Secular people have their own significance in this country. What I mean by "secular people" here is one whose lifestyle is a certain mix of various religions. Dr. Kalam was a Muslim by birth, he played veena(which is associated with Hindu religion, even musical instruments have religion!). He was also a vegetarian again believed to be a Hindu attribute. He was widely read and also a keen reader of major religious books, being equally comfortable with Gita as he was with Quran.
I remember once seeing him in school. He was then the president of India. My school had been celebrating its 50th anniversary. Dr. Kalam was the chief guest for our founder's day. Usually children were hardly concerned about the chief guests. But this time on the school's 50th year, and Dr. Kalam being the chief guest, there was an unusual sense of excitement. Everyone seemed high on energy. And then he came in his cavalcade along with our Principal and other dignitaries. There was silence all over the open auditorium. Everyone wanted to get a glimpse of him. From a certain distance I could see his calm demeanor and his gentleness. He replied in a very calm and detailed manner about all the questions that were asked of him.
Dr. Kalam always believed that children are capable of doing anything. That is why he was usually seen in various schools and colleges, inspiring them in any or every way he can. And in the end, as is being widely quoted everywhere, he died among them, motivating them in his own way. He is an inspiration for everyone who ever want to get inspired in life. His death is a huge loss for the country and has left a void which is impossible to fill.