Two years ago, Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam visited my high school for the purpose of giving a motivational speech to the senior students. I was a little too young to attend the assembly session, and I was only able to take a short glance at him. Back then, I did not mind. I honestly did not even know who he was; all I heard is chatters from students passing on the news of the event. Luckily, my sister was a senior student and was able to take a signed copy of his book 'Wings of Fire'. Two years later when I finally decided to open his book and read it, I really wish I made a little bit more effort to get to see him and maybe take a photograph with him during his visit to our school, because through his book I learnt how much of a great man he really is.
When I first opened this book, I honestly did not know what to expect. "There is something that everybody can extract from this book", that is what M.S. Mukunda from the department of Aerospace Engineering in IIS Bangalore stated about the book. I couldn't agree more.
I have to say that A P J Abdul Kalam did a great job portraying his early days as a child at the first few chapters, making the simple things in his childhood seem much more significant because of the deep meaning each and every experience he went through as a kid had on his soul, and the print it made in his personality as an adult later on. While reading the first few pages of Wings of Fire I felt like I was taken to Rameswaram in India where Abdul Kalam was born. The senses and vibes of the little village was described impressively at the beginning of the book, which surprisingly made me miss Rameswaram as a reader as the book advanced, as if I was feeling the same emotions Abdul Kalam felt when he moved away from the place he
The book also illustrates some scientific aspects of the man's life, and his passion for his work and career. Although I have not one slight interest in flying, planes or weaponry, I found it slightly shocking how I actually enjoyed reading the parts where Abdul Kalam's career was explained in detail, showing the great science behind the making of the many projects that he was involved in since his youth. I learnt some good facts about his career path, which I am very thankful for
Most importantly, Abdul Kalam was able to engage between his personal and professional life in this book, showing the best of both worlds. I believe that this element is the main reason behind my enjoyment of reading the book. I also loved how he introduced many amazing personalities throughout the book and stated how those people played vital roles in shaping his life, which actually made me think of all the amazing people that I have met in my life who influenced me and helped me shaping who I am today: Starting from my parents, my family, my beloved friends and everybody I met in between.
Of all the many things that I learnt from Wings of Fire, I would like to think that the best thing I learnt is that Abdul Kalam chose his role models very carefully, he was very particular in mentioning who affected him personally. Additionally, I found that he seemed to pick people he meets frequently and communicates with a lot to be his models, which in my view is a genius act. I personally believe that it is wise to pick those who are good and close to your eyes as role models, because you are then able to constantly be reminded and inspired by them. That is just my humble opinion.
To sum it all up: Abdul Kalam is somebody that I really like – not only because he enjoyed reading Khalil Gibran, just like me – but because of his approach to life with a very open mind, his respect to everybody regardless their level of education or backgrounds, and his appreciation for family and the different positive people he met in his journey of life. He is a very grateful man, which is something I would like to see more of in myself.
I strongly recommend this book for everyone; I think everybody can learn something from Abdul Kalam.