RIP APJ Abdul Kalam

Last night, while casually scrolling through the twitter timeline, some tweets alerted me to the fact that our revered ex-President was no more. I donot use the word revered lightly, I never do. But he was revered, the spontaneous outpouring of grief on the twitter timeline was proof enough.

I have never met him, never interacted with him, unlike many who have memories to draw upon for their eulogies. But that doesn’t stop me from writing one, and why should it, after all, he was our ex-President, one of the few we claim for our own with pride, one we looked upon fondly for the sheer indomitable way he rose from the most underprivileged background to reach the position of President of our country.

There have been Presidents and there will be Presidents, but why did APJ inspire such a feeling of reverence. Was it his scientific achievements, which he carried lightly on his shoulders? Was it his charming affectation of a hairstyle, I must admit I admired for the sheer pizzazz with which he stuck grimly to it when a less brave person would have taken himself to a hairstylist and asked for it to be cropped to regular length and a more appropriate style. Was it his simplicity, that shone through everything he did, a child like glee about the world, which was apparent in all his interactions one saw, second hand, on the television?

Or was it something else, was it the sheer fact that he was living embodiment of the fact that no matter how humble the beginnings, hard work and determination could surmount everything. He was an icon for us to show our children–an icon they could look up to, aspire to be like, take inspiration from. In that, he did us a great service, he was a statesman to look up to in an era where all we do is take glee in bringing them down.

RIP APJ. You will be missed.


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