I was just flipping through my 2009 High School year book, and the days of yore just came back in my head. I am posting this article which I had contributed when I was in my 9th. This article is about my experience when I had an opportunity to meet and greet the Former President of India DR.APJ ABDUL KALAM. Enjoy


    “Dreams are not what you see in sleep. Dreams are things that do not let you sleep.” These memorable words of Dr.A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has always been within me and along was a distant dream which hoped that I would meet the great man in person some day.


    And what a way matters unfurled in the afternoon of 25th February 2009 to make my dream a reality. At 1.05 P.M. that day, I and four other lucky lads of our school, Prajwal, Chirag, Adarsh and Raymond went to the school office to meet the Assistant Headmaster. He broke the news that we will be among the two hundred school children of Mangalore who were to attend the Interaction Meeting with Dr.A.P.J. Abdul Kalam at the Millennium Auditorium of Corporation Bank H.O. As we were sent off, our headmaster Rev.Fr.Melwin Pinto S.J. presented us the school tie and some smart tips to be at our best before the great man. I recollect that his tips did work as I and Prajwal were among the twelve children who got a chance to present our questions to Dr.Kalam.


    We were at the auditorium all eagerly awaiting the arrival of Dr.Kalam.At 7.35 P.M, the auditorium which was jam packed with school kids, college students and invitees suddenly became abuzz with excitement as our icon walked into our midst. Luck visited me again as I was positioned in the aisle in the front which got me a chance to present him my labour of love – the C.D. containing the first software I have programmed, “Knowledge Bank Management Suite”. I had carried the C.D with a distant hope that it would somehow reach his hands. When I handed it over to him, he shook hands with me and with a twinkle in his eyes, asked “Do you have your own e-mail I’d?” I replied “Yes sir and a website too in my name!” (www.bharathrao.googlepages.com). He then asked my name and followed it with the question that I’ll never forget in my life – “Are you a good person?” My reply was instant, “Yes of course!” But later I realized the depth in that question – I know I will have to answer this question throughout my life again and again.


Dr.Kalam in his brief address prior to the interactive session, spoke about his interaction with some Greek students on top of Acropolis, Athens. He had spoken to them on the importance of righteousness, which he considers is the primary resource for a peaceful world. He shared his Vision 2020 with us that is of a prosperous, secure, peaceful and happy India in 2020 and elaborated on steps we need to take to achieve that vision. He envisioned India as ‘one of the best places to live in’, by 2020. He urged the students to work with integrity and succeed with integrity, while stating small aim is a crime. He explained the qualities of a good leader and urged the students to repeat the oath for the youth to lead India for development. All of us were charmed by his sincerity, innocence and deep love for our country. We willingly and vocally repeated the oath that he administered to us:-


  1. I will have a goal and work hard to achieve the goal. I realize that small aim is a crime.
  2. I will always be righteous in the heart which leads to beauty in the character; beauty in the character brings harmony in the home, harmony in the home leads to order in the nation, order in the nation leads to peace in the world.
  3. I will work with success and integrity.
  4. I will be a good citizen of the country, a good member of the nation and a good member of the world


In the question answer session Prajwal asked the question, “Who is your role model?” to which he replied “Mr.Subramanya Iyer, Mr.Sivashankar Iyer, Professor Vikram Sarabhai and Mr.Sathish Dhawan”. Then came my big moment it was my turn to ask the question – “Many people have goals but their goals often remain as dreams. Can you tell us how to make our goals a reality?” Pat came his reply which I feel not only electrified me but all those in the audience. His simple and straight forward answer was, “Have a goal, pursue it with perseverance and hard work, perseverance comes by acquiring knowledge with a long time vision. Knowledge = Righteousness + Creativity + Courage”.


I am sure this simple formula would be the success mantra for the youth of India – The future hope of the country!


At the end of the session as the crowd surged ahead to greet and get his autograph, I was again proven lucky to be ahead of the rest. The book “Ignited Minds” by Dr.Kalam which I had carried to the meeting came to use. As I opened the title page and held it before him, he again smiled and put his autograph below his printed name.


Times may change, the sweet memories of the meeting may fade away but his thoughts will remain forever deeply etched in me and all others present that evening to ignite our minds and unleash the power within us.


B. BHARATH RAO, Class IX E 2008-09, St Aloysius College High School, Mangalore

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