Meghana Mungikar of class 8 of PSBB T.Nagar has been selected to represent the school and the foundation in the International Conference for Youth Leadership at the Raffles School Singapore from November 17 to 21, 2008. She is one among the 10 girl students who will be attending the convention from India, Her name was short listed after she participated in an essay contest “Aspire to Inspire”. The GELF team then interviewed her over the telephone from Delhi.

Megahna will pick up hands-on skills on advocacy and community service, share sessions with established leaders from diverse fields, learn how to make a difference to lives of people in her community and experience the energy of the vibrant city of Singapore.

Former president Dr,A.P.J.Abdul Kalam recalls how his mother sacrificed to feed her son, who later in life turned out to be the first citizen of the country. Dr.Kalam also reminisces about his childhood days in Rameswaram, where he was born.

During the second world war in 1941, it was a difficult time for our family at Rameswaram, I was a 10 years old boy then, War had almost reached our doors of Rameswaram since the cloud of war had already reached Colombo. Almost everything was a rarity from food articles to anything. Ours was a large joint family. The size of our family was five sons and face daughters and three of whom had families.I used to see three cradles in my house at any given point of time.
My grandmother and mother were almost managing this large contingent. The environment in the home alternated by happiness and sadness.

I used to wake up at four in the morning , take a bath and go to my teacher swanuyar for learning mathematics. He will not accept students if they had not taken bath, He was a unique mathematics teacher and he used to take only five students for free tuition in a year. My mother used to get up before me, and help me take bath and prepare me to go for the tuition. use to come back at 5.30 am when my father would be waiting for to take to the Namaz and Koran sharif learning in Arabic school. After that I used to go to Rameswaram Road Railway station, three kilometers away from my house to collect newspaper.Madras Dhanushkodi Mail will pass through the station but will not stop, since it was wartime. The newspaper bundle will be thrown from the running train to the platform.

I used to collect the paper and run around the Rameswaram town and be the first one to distribute the newspaper in the town, My elder cousin brother was the agent who went away to Sri Lanka in search of better livelihood. After distribution, I used to come home at 8 am. My mother would give me a simple breakfast with a special quota compared to other children because I was studying and working simultaneously. After the school gets over in the evening, again I will go around Rameswaram for collection of dues from customers. I can still remember an incident that I would like to share with you. As a young boy I was walking, running and studying all together. One day, when all my brothers and sisters were sitting and eating, my mother went on giving me chapattis (even though we are rice eaters only, wheat was rationed).

When I finished eating, my elder brother called me privately and scolded “Kalam do you know what was happening? You went on eating Chapattis, and mother went on giving you. She has given all her chapattis to you. It is a difficult time. Be a responsible son and do not make your mother starve. “First time I had a shivering sensation and I could not control myself, I rushed to my mother and hugged her,. Even though I was studying in class 5, I had a special place in my home because I was the last guy in the family. There used to be no electricity. Our house was lit by the kerosene lamp that too between 7pm and 9pm. My mother specially gave me a small kerosene lamp so that I could study up to 11pm. I still remember my mother in a full moon night Which I had portrayed with the chapter “mother” in my book “Wing of Fire”.
This is the story of my mother who lived 93 years, a woman of love, a woman of kindness and above, a woman of divine nature. My mother performed Namaz five times everyday. During Namaz, five times everyday. During Namaz , my mother always looked angelic. Every time I saw her during Namaz I was inspired.

A poem on my Mother

I still remember the day
When I was 10, sleeping
On your lap to the envy of
My elder brothers and sisters.
It was full moon night, my world
Only you knew Mother! My
Mother! When at midnight, I woke
With tears falling on my knee you
Knew the pain of your child, My
Your caring hands, tenderly
Removing the pain your love, your
Care, your faith gave me strength,
To face the world without fear and with his strength.
We will meet again on the great
Judgment Day. My mother!

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