Special Correspondent

President interacts with students of `Peepal Grove' school

TIRUPATI: President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam on Monday said that what he despised most was the word `impossible' and similarly what he liked most was smiles on the lips of children.

The President was in his usual elements when he engaged himself in a lively interactive session with students of a private residential school `Peepal Grove' set up in the remote Gongivaripalle village, near Piler, in Chittoor district.

During the interface lasting about 30 minutes the President and the young students including some tribals volleyed questions and answers at each other. When a girl told Dr. Kalam that she would like to become an astronaut when she grew up, he wished that she would be on the `Mars mission' scheduled for 2014 from India. When a girl asked him why he had named his book `Wings of Fire', the President said he wanted that the `fire' inside every student should take `wings', make them float into high dreams achieving eventually a landmark goal.

Women scientists

Dr. Kalam did not agree with a student's query that there were not many women scientists in India. He reeled out a list of top women scientists, which included among others Manju Sharma, noted biotechnologist. Replying to a question on who impressed him most in his childhood days. He said there were two persons. One was his high school teacher Sivasubramania Iyyer who `kindled' the scientific temper in him by taking him to the seashore in his native Rameswaram and asking him to study how and why the sea birds flew. It was this, which made him watch with awe their aerodynamics and eventually become a rocket and missile scientist in life later.

Another person who cast an impression on him in his younger days, the President said was a Christian Baptist Rev. Father Kalathil, who taught him spiritualism science and human values.

Students chant verses

He complimented the `satsang' and its founder Muntaj Ali and his wife Sunanda Ali for setting up the school with the noble intention of instilling human values also into the minds of the children along with education.

The programme started with the students chanting verses from Vedas, Quran and Bible besides a `Bharathiar' composition, which Dr. Kalam apparently enjoyed most.