BANGALORE: All the inhibitions and strangeness melted away as India’s ‘Missileman’, who rose on the wings of fire to fame and ignited millions of minds across the globe, welcomed Team Express at Raj Bhavan’s palatial suite for an informal chat.
It was past midnight, but his very presence oozed enthusiasm and set the ambience perfect for a candid talk. Former President of India A P J Abdul Kalam has the agility of a child and astuteness of a thinker. He uses words layered with exceptional eruditeness that exude positive energy.
“It is nice to see you smiling in the midnight,” that is how Kalam welcomed the team which was bubbling with questions on varied issues that hit the headlines. “No politics, no controversies...,” the 81-year-old scientist promptly makes his stand very clear.
As the conversation veers off to positive reporting, he takes the example of a daily in Israel which pushed the news of the terrorist attack, which claimed the lives of 12 people, to the third page and featured a report of a successful farmer on its front page.
“Why can’t you carry positive news on page 1? The front pages of all newspapers I see are crammed with news of scandals, crime and death. It is better to give good news to help people begin their day with hope,” he says.
Replying to a query, Kalam sought to allay fears on Indian nuclear plants, and termed nuclear energy clean and safe. Many were curious to know the secret behind his undying energy. Pat comes the reply. “I don’t think about my age. Every day starts with a positive thought on what I can give back to society and nature. Most problems are rooted in the marauding drive ‘to take’ rather than ‘to give’.”
When a piping hot copy of City Express was shown to Kalam, he went through the pages and half-way-through and said: “Bring inspiring stories about people. I want more success stories. Inspire your reader with positive reports. Okay. Let me have my dinner now.” It was half-past mid-night then.
“Take some apples, they are fresh. Take, take, take...I say,” Kalam said, before settling down for a simple dinner with R K Prasad, his trusted private secretary for decades and Srijanpal Singh, his team member .