Dr APJ Abdul Kalam- Apple of children's eyes!
At a time when the whole nation is mourning the death of our former president Dr Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, children too joined in grieving the demise of their beloved friend and mentor.
Lovingly called the 'People's President', he was the first scientist and the first bachelor to occupy Rashtrapati Bhawan as president.
Born into a poor Muslim family in Tamil Nadu, Dr Kalam was considered a cult figure of science.
Popularly known as the 'Missile Man of India' for his work on the development of ballistic missile and launch vehicle technology, he simplified science in such a way that it gets connected to the common people, particularly, the youth.
Although, he rose to become the top scientist in the country later in his life, he had had a very ordinary life as a child as he used to sell newspapers to support his family financially.
Kalam, who always wore a cordial smile, led an exemplary life inspiring every Indian across the country. Apart from his scientific achievements and other meritorious deeds, he was also popularly known for his love and affection for children.
Indeed, his deep bonding with children made him the apple of their eyes. His adoration for kids was so strong that during his interaction with youngsters, Kalam not only obliged and gave them his precious time and magnificent speeches but, he also listened to their ideas intently.
It was obvious that Dr Kalam had a profound love for children, as per an account that has been published. Once the late president even surprised one of his subordinate at DRDO by taking the children to an exhibition when the latter couldn't do it due to work pressure.
It is estimated that after becoming the president of India, Kalam had talked to over four million school and college children.
After, leaving the Rashtrapati Bhawan, he returned to academics and continued to reach out to the young minds with his scientific lectures. This indicates that he had a lot of faith and hope from the youth.
In May 2012, Dr Kalam launched a programme for the youth of India called 'What Can I Give Movement', with a central theme of defeating corruption.
A great transformer, who brought tremendous changes and innovations in science and technology, Dr Kalam also played a pivotal technical and political role in India's Pokhran-II nuclear tests in 1998, the first, since the original nuclear test by India in 1974.
A man who loved teaching, writing and always wanted to give something to the society, Kalam was one of the few outstanding scientists who made a trade mark in India and all over the world with his thoughts. He was one distinct and honest person with exceptional qualities that India has ever produced.
Coincidentally, the 'People's President' aged 83, died doing what he loved - he breathed his last giving a lecture to the students. On Monday, July 27, Dr Kalam collapsed while delivering a lecture at the Rajiv Gandhi Indian Institute of Management (RG-IIM) in Shillong and was declared dead on arrival by doctors at the Bethany hospital.
His sudden death has left a big hole in the science community and the country at large.
And while, the entire nation has been shaken by Dr Kalam's death, it is the children who will most miss his ever smiling face and his twinkling eyes.