Pick up books, Kalam tells students

Former President of India A P J Abdul Kalam Saturday urged youths to pick up books and start reading and writing and have a library at their homes.

"I have met 16 million youths below 25 years in the last 20 years and they are living a story. They want to become astronauts, pilots, soldiers, doctors, sailors and so on. The young live in a landscape of make believe," Dr Kalam said on day two of the Lucknow Literature Carnival. Giving example from his own life, he said none of his two books, Wings of Fire and Ignited Minds, have "literary or poetic value" but still have sold million copies because he "wrote them with a heart."

"They are nothing but facts of live...everyday experiences that I wrote from my heart. You also have these experiences around you," he said, adding that storytelling has evolved "like other behaviours, to ensure our survival."

"The imagination is an awesome evolutionary adaptation that allows people to teleport mentally into alternative worlds. A story is a thing that does, rather than a thing that is," he said.

Later, when a 14-year-old schoolboy asked Dr Kalam what he used to think when he was 14, he said : "At that age, I used to think I'm in 15th orbit around the Sun."

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