Everyone has something to say about him, share their memories about him. So do I. One in many! He has impacted and inspired such many lives. I have my childhood memories of fondly calling him “Tata” (grandfather), save money in my piggy bank to buy his books (the happiness of buying “Wings of Fire” with this money was boundless), collecting every news paper clips which covered him and making a scrap book, and filling the walls of my room with his pictures. As a child, I was in a great habit of writing letters. It was almost a usual habit to me to write letters to Tata, sometimes even describing about happenings at school, my dance shows etc. I remember crying when I heard that Tata had written a response to someone, only because that someone was not me. The habit of writing letters (later emails), not expecting any reply continued even till last year, when I wrote an email to find out about his health as I read a random news article that he was not well. The child in me still expected to receive at least one response from him. I should say that my wish was partly fulfilled. It was when I received a letter from the office of the President, when he was in office that they received my letter requesting for an opportunity to dance in front of Tata and they will let me know in the due course of time. Unfortunately, that time never came and my wish to perform in front of him will forever remain an unfulfilled dream.
One memorable day of my life is August 20, 2005. This was the day, I met him personally, called him Tata and took his blessings. I was in Mount Carmel College, Bangalore when my professor’s father (who was Dr. Kalam’s colleague) had a chance to meet him at the Indian Institute of Sciences. He knew about my admiration towards Dr. Kalam and told me that he was meeting him. My excitement knew no bounds and I did not want to miss this chance to meet him. But unfortunately the entry to the meeting was only on invitation and he did not have an extra invite. I just requested my professor’s father to give me the cover of the invitation card and told him that I will try my best to get in, come what may! AND I DID IT 🙂 I saw him, I met him (Yes! My professor introduced me to him), called him Tata, told him that I am waiting to perform in front of him! His smile will always remain in my eyes 🙂
From being a newspaper seller to holding the highest office in the country, for being the most loved president of India and a highly respected world citizen, for being the missile man of India, for being the embodiment of simplicity, humanity and patriotism, for being the art lover, for being the poet, for being the teacher loved by all, he lived for what he was born for till his last minute.
He is the hero/leader of our generation and will be the first leader, I will introduce my kids to. His teachings, his life, his smile and him, will forever live in every ignited mind! Rest In Peace Tata!!