Delhi: If there is one enduring aspect of former president APJ Abdul Kalam, who passed away in Shillong on Monday, that is his smile.
As tributes poured in for the man, who rose from humble beginnings to assume office as the 11th President on July 18, 2002, mostly everyone remembered his affable nature, his tremendous ability to connect with people of all ages and his captivating smile.
Whatever the occasion may be, he always had a smile on his face and that immediately put people who interacted with him at ease.
Countless photos of him bearing the charming smile, and his unmistakable flock of hair, can be seen on internet.
Popularly called the 'Missile Man of India', Dr Kalam earned the reputation of being the 'people's President'.
A devout Muslim and son of a boatowner, Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam was one amongst the most respected people of the country who contributed immensely both as a scientist and as a president.
Acknowledged as the driving force behind India's quest for cutting-edge defence technologies, Kalam's contributions to India's satellite programmes, guided and ballistic missiles project, nuclear weapons programme and the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) project made him a household name.
Born and raised in Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu on October 15, 1931, Kalam, joined the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) after studying physics and aerospace engineering after graduating from Madras Institute of Technology.
Mainly focusing on research in defence and space arena, he later involved himself in the India's missile programme.
His contribution to the ballistic missile and launch vehicle technology earned him the named as the "Missile Man of India".
Many would say that he passed away doing what he loved to do best - interacting with the people.
He suffered a massive cardiac arrest and collapsed during a lecture on 'Livable Planet' at IIM in Shillong.
His last tweet says it all:
Going to Shillong.. to take course on Livable Planet earth at iim.
With @srijanpalsingh and Sharma.
— APJ Abdul Kalam (@APJAbdulKalam) July 27, 2015
(With Agency inputs)