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Live your dream

Dr. A. P. J Abdul Kalam was a polymath and a true Karma Yogi. He dedicated his life thinking and willing his actions towards realising his goals without any personal or self-centred desires. I want all of us to go beyond just admiring Dr. Kalam’s life; I want us to learn and inculcate at least a few of his life’s lessons in our lives.

You might think that these achievements come naturally to a man of many talents. Dr. Kalam had average grades in school. A fisherman’s son from Rameshwaram, he did not have access to many of the opportunities that most take for granted. He famously said, “All of us do not have equal talent, but all of us have an equal opportunity to develop our talents.” Dr. Kalam, in a speech at IIT Madras, espoused the need for one to set goals, acquire knowledge, work hard and persevere. We shouldn’t underestimate how far those words can take us.

Dr. Kalam was a man of big ideas. At no point in his life did he let limitations dictate the size of his dreams. He used space age materials to help fashion low-weight callipers for polio affected patients and amputees. These lighter callipers gave the patients greater mobility and about 30,000 patients benefitted from them. He also helped create the Kalam-Raju low-cost coronary stent to cater to heart patients who couldn’t afford treatment. Do not limit your lives to mundane everyday dreams of big houses, fat pay cheques and exotic vacations. Aim at making a tangible difference in your society, building something of lasting value. Dr. Kalam believed that dreams are nothing but goals or missions of life. If we don’t set ambitious goals our mission will be severely limited. Another lesson from his life is the simplicity and humility with which he conducted it. On his way to Shillong for the lecture at IIM Shillong, he and his cavalcade had to undertake a two and a half hour car ride. He noticed that a security personnel in the car ahead of him had been standing through the whole duration of the ride. He was unable to signal to him to be seated. At the end of the journey, Dr. Kalam personally thanked the security personnel and enquired about his well-being. It is important to respect not just the people who can help you, but also those people who need your help.

Dr. Kalam considered the youth to be the country’s asset, the gate keepers to India’s tomorrow. After completing his term as the president, he spent his years travelling the country, interacting and engaging with students. There is no better gift to him than letting his words and actions positively impact the words and actions of the youth. Let his dreams continue to live through our lives.

The writer is pursuing her master’s in the U.S.


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Printable version | Sep 17, 2021 4:35:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/education/school/lessons-from-kalams-life/article7516137.ece

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