WINGS OF FIRE – An autobiography
Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, defence scientist, Bharat Ratna, son of a little educated boat owner in Tamil Nadu.
I normally ate with my mother, sitting on the floor of the kitchen.
She would place a banana leaf before me, on which she then ladeled rice and aromatic sambhar, a variety of sharp, home made pickles and a dollop of fresh coconut chutney.
My father told me there was nothing mysterious about prayer.
Rather prayer made possible a communion of the spirit between people. “When you pray , you transcend your body and become a aprt of the cosmos, which knows no division of wealth, age , caste and creed.
Every child is born, with some inherited characteristics into a specific socio-economic & emotional environment, and trained in certain ways by figures of authority. I inherited honesty and seld-discipline from my father; from my mother I inherited faith in goodness and deep kindness.
During the annual Shri Sita Ram Kalyanam ceremony, our family used to arrange boats with a special platform for carrying idols of the lord from the temple to the marriage site. Events from Ramayana and from the life of the Prophet were the bedtime stories my mother & grandmother would tell the children of our family.
Father quoted Khalil Gibran to my hesitant mother : Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts. For they have their own thoughts.
Orientation (1931- 1963)
This earth is his, to him belong those vast & boundless skies
Both seas within him rest,& yet in the small pool he lies.
I managed to be in the list of selected candidates , but admission to this prestigious institution was an expensive affair. At that time my sister Zohara , stood behind me, mortgaging her gold bangles & chain.
I vowed to release her bangles from mortgage with my own earnings.
Atharva Veda (Book 4, Hymn 16)
I have always been a religious person in the sense that I maintain a working partnership with God. I was aware that the best work required more ability than I possessed and therefore I needed help that only God could give me.
My comments :
I have read bits and pieces of this book - I was touched after reading the stanza where he described that his sister sold her gold bangles for his further studies !! - Now that shows the culture and the essence of blood relations ! So having such a righteous family background, he obviously had to become the President of India.