As we scroll through the numerous posts hitting all the various social platforms about the loss of our former president, one tends to think of how a memory of someone is influenced by not only their actions and deeds but also by the influence of him in our actions and deeds. In the present economy where everything is identified with a monetary aspect attached to it, we tend to look past the principles that a man stands for and instead try to attain a symbiotic relationship with his memory. This simply justifies our own deeds incorporated with the selection of principles. Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam – We remember him as a scientist, writer, missile man, the man behind the idea of India 2020 or the president of India but little do we know that when he was asked the very question as to what he would want himself to be remembered as by Mr. Srijan Pal Singh, an author, activist and a leader, who had the chance to spend a day with him right before the tragedy, Dr. Kalam had replied saying, “Teacher”.
We all recollect the short story which was narrated by Dr. Kalam about a young boy and a barber. If you don’t then here is a quick recap,
A young boy enters a barber shop and the barber whispers to his customer, “This is the dumbest kid in the world. Watch while I prove it to you.”
The barber puts a dollar bill in one hand and two quarters in the other, then calls the boy over and asks, “Which do you want, son?” The boy takes the quarters and leaves.
“What did I tell you?” said the barber. “That kid never learns!”
Later, when the customer leaves, he sees the same young boy coming out of the ice cream store.
“Hey, son! May I ask you a question?
Why did you take the quarters instead of the dollar bill?”
The boy licked his cone and replied,
“Because the day I take the dollar, the game is over!”
He showed us that winning the game gives us temporary solace where as being in the game is a constant rush. He left the game in our hands. The game is not over! His ideas need to be transcended into our ideas. His thoughts need to be incepted into our dreams.
Dr. Kalam’s last tweet was,
“Going to Shillong.. to take course on Livable Planet earth at IIM. With @srijanpalsingh and Sharma.”
They say, you judge a person according to their shoes. Dr. Kalam did not have any exceptional shoes, but his ideology didn’t need shoes. When a person’s last words represent a liveable planet, it does not matter that even the word ‘livable’ had been spelled incorrectly by him, leave apart his shoes. Note that Dr. Kalam did not specify a liveable India but a liveable planet. When the value of human life and growth is dependent on each individual existing on this planet, it would be unfair to limit it to a country or an institution. Dr. Kalam made this evident by making time to visit as many institutions and schools as he could in his life-time. A flap of a butterfly’s wing can give rise to a tornado. He intended to create as many butterflies as possible all over the world.
“Excellence is a continuous process and not an accident.”
It is our hands to now remember him as a brilliant man who will be all over the social media for a week longer or to take it forward and continue to build what he started.
“We should not give up and we should not allow the problem to defeat us… Life is a difficult game. You can win it only by retaining your birthright to be a person… The bird is powered by its own life and by its motivation… We will be remembered only if we give to our younger generation a prosperous and safe India, resulting out of economic prosperity coupled with civilizational heritage.”
The message is clear. The principles are clear. The future isn’t clear. Let us continue to flap our wings in the light of the candle that he lit keeping in mind that the wind should not blow out the candle.
In loving memory of Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam,