Calling Mangalore a beautiful and vibrant city the former President told students that they had a greater role to play in making Mangalore the cleanest city.

It was college students’ day out, indeed! When they came to listen to former President of India A.P.J. Abdul Kalam at the TMA Pai International Convention Centre here on Tuesday, a veritable treat awaited them.

Unable to accommodate all students in the main auditorium on the first floor the Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) Committee, Dakshina Kannada made alternate arrangements to seat about 1,000 students at a hall on the ground floor. Students on the ground floor saw and listened to Mr. Kalam on three large LCD screens. Mr. Kalam when he entered the auditorium received a standing ovation from most of the students. Camaraderie of sorts was in the air as the octogenarian began. He took his seat, waved at the students and said; “Can you hear me. You are fantastic guys.”

Recalling his links to Mangalore Mr. Kalam said when he was a student at Madras Institute of Technology in 1954 the student who next sat to him was Mahabaleshwar Bhat from Mangalore. Calling Mangalore a beautiful and vibrant city the former President told students that they had a greater role to play in making Mangalore the cleanest city.

He advised students to have a great aim in life, acquire knowledge continuously, work hard and not to be afraid of problems in life but rather defeat them. A leader should not be afraid of problems and Mr. Kalam asked students to elect such candidates. The former President explained how his primary school teacher in Rameshwaram, Shivasubrahmanya Aiyar, encouraged him to study physics and aeronautical engineering by showing and explaining how birds fly.

As Mr. Kalam left the hall many students surrounded him, took photographs and a student even joined him in the lift to reach the ground floor. Even as he sat in the car the eagerness to take his picture with many people clicking furiously on their cell phones and cameras.

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