news Tuesday, July 28, 2015 - 05:30
  For most of us who went to school through the 2000s, former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam was synonymous with one word – dream. As the entire nation mourns his death, tributes are pouring in, and that word is being used repeatedly. From formal government announcements to Facebook posts, the word ‘dream’ is thrown around liberally, dominating our mind space. In the cacophony, we are perhaps missing the relevance, importance and gravity of his ‘dream’ narrative. As I grew up, except the venerable Dr Kalam, everyone else around asked me to be practical, to ‘get real’. Life is tough, they said. “If you do not study hard now, you will suffer later. Don’t waste time dreaming” was a common refrain. In fact, at school, teachers' most common way to insult an inattentive student was to tell him or her, “What are you doing, day-dreaming?” In a system which sucked the imagination out of children’s minds condemning them to the rut of mindless learning, in came Dr Kalam, telling us to be bold and dream. Dream. It was no mean achievement for a scientist to inspire an entire generation by encouraging us to do what the rest of the world was asking us not to. And in spite of that, he was admired by one and all. He was not controversial, the entire nation found him congenial. And till his last breathe, he stood on-stage and inspired students. As the nation mourns his sudden death, we celebrate his life. Read our special stories on Dr Kalam. His speech listing out his “three visions of India” delivered at IIT Hyderabad is considered one of his best speeches. Here are 5 inspiring stories about Kalam which showed how humble, pleasant and modest he was. Before he was announced as a Presidential nominee in 2002, Kalam was living in a small, near-dilapidated room in Chennai’s Anna University. Here is a hilarious story about his first ‘celebrity-encounter’ with the media. In 2007, Kalam’s question on Yahoo! snowballed into a national debate when he asked, “What should we do to free our planet of terrorism?” Here are some of the best answers he got. Last but not the least, here is a moving tribute from Dr Srijan Pal Singh, who recounts how even in his last hours, Dr Kalam managed to inspire human beings with his humility. RIP, Dr Kalam.     Images: Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Facebook page