There are not many living people I consider my role models. Since the day Kalam became India's President, I've looked up to him as my source of inspiration, of strength when I needed it, as the man to learn from when I first formed my principles. The image of India and the image of the man who dedicated all his living days to a better India and Science has always intersected for me. Days I feel I cannot keep with the world I think of him, the young boy who sold newspaper to make a living yet climbed the ladder to greatness with sheer determination.
When I was ten I wanted to be a pilot and when I read he wanted to be one too, I thought 'I'll become a pilot for you.' My ambitions changed along the way, but never what I learnt from his story. There was a day few years back when I lost an opportunity I had pitted all my dreams on. And the first person I thought of was him and I mailed him a letter. I never got a reply but knowing he was on the other side was enough to gather myself up. I loved him. I love him.
Things Kalam had done in his life time. He is India's proud proud son. He loved children and he went out of his way to assist the young minds. He even died when he was giving a speech to students. That is how dedicated he was - a man with a singular vision of development.
His soft voice is in my ear as I write this and I realize my dream of meeting him, of finally having the day when I bow down to touch his feet as a student does to her teacher in Indian tradition, is never going to happen. I want to cry, to fight the truth he is dead. He always seemed like a man death will be scared of. It makes us aware that time is not always enough and that we need to make each moment count.
I love you, sir. Nothing can make you less alive for me. No even death.