A friend in need is a friend indeed!
When I was running a typewriting institute, he came and joined to learn typing, in 1975. Actually he could not concentrate on typing; even he could not type 2 lines properly and neatly which irritated me very much. But he never cared either his bad typing or my disappoint with his sincere learning. I used to appreciate him because he was very regular in coming to institute.
Very quickly I came to know he was not inclined to learn typing. But relished to talk to me and also with a few of his friends in the institute. He was not obliging me with the lessons what I used to give him to type, instead, he brought some of his poems and stories to type.
He was very jovial and a good critic even at the age of 15 ! Though he had involved himself in many matters in institutewhich were not at all related to him, we all enjoyed his anecdotes! We all used to laugh whatever he shared in a very lighter way.
Though I was very strict in running the institute and in a highlly disciplined way, the same yard sticksnever apply to Penneswaran. He never took any matter seriously. He brushed aside everything.
He was so good in English as well as Tamil. The exam time came and Penneswaran also appeared along with hundreds of students from our Institute; after finishing typing, he came out of the Hall very happily; I wondered what he would have done in the hall.
I was sure he would fail in the exams. He was in a very happy mood and told to me not to both about him and his performance in the examination. After 2 months results were declared ….. to my great shock …. Not only he failed …. he made some of his friends also failed by giving wrong answers to them in Mechanism part ! That is the great service he has rendered to the Institute.
Atlast, agood day arrived at for our institute. He himself realized that he could not afford to waste his precious time in continuing typing further. It was a very happy day for me that he stopped learning typing; Meanwhile, our friendship grew like Himalayas. Later he appeared Service Commission Exams, surprisingly passed and left for New Delhi to join in the Ministry of Home Affairs. Here, not only he passed the Exam, he guided many of his friends to appear in the examthus leading a big gang to join their jobs in New Delhi.
He is a very good writer, director and also an actor; He staged many street plays and stage plays in New Delhi and other cities and became very popular there within no time. Today his circle is very large;
I could easily see many top VIPs are very close to his heart and very proud, Penneswaran is not the person to take any advantage with those for his personal reasons. Also, very happy to note, he is there with one of the leading tamil dailies, his wife is in Central Government Job and both of his daughters are well settled. It is all the blessings of his honesty and God’s blessings.
Due to his busy schedule, he could not meet me for some years, we both were busy in our own ways.
It was a great surprise for me, in 2003 or 4, he came to my school in Krishnagiri. He had visited our town on a personal reason. He is always flooded with more tight schedules whenever he visits his native town Krishnagiri even today. He enjoys attending Theru-koothuperformances,folk performances and visiting places of historic importance around Krishnagiri.
He was happy to see that I am running a school with difference. I narrated him about the school and ideals which made me to start and run. He was very much impressed and said all my good intentions should be known to the people who were at top level, ruling the country. Not only said, he also took all his best steps to see that some top people at New Delhi should know. He also assured me to take me to the President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. It was a dream for me indeed ! By that time, he took voluntary retirement from his job at Home Ministry and started a Tamil monthlynamed VadakkuVaasal. It was such a wonderful monthly, with high quality articles. No dirty cinema or gossiping, nothing nonsense items in that monthly. That is his greatness.
Though he was running VadakkuVaasalmagazine with a great principle, he could not make money out of it. He was losing money every month. Of course there was neither any cheap articles nor any lady photo on cover to attract the majority public. He could attract only a very knowledgeable circle. He requested me to write education related society based article in his monthly. I also very happily accepted. I took that good opportunity to convey my thoughts to the society through my writings.
One golden day, I received a call from RashtrapathiBhavan thatHon’ble President was willing to meet me in RashtrapathyBhavan, it was in 2006. It was all the efforts of Penneswaran. He used his influence in Delhi to achieve this.
He made all the arrangements to pick me from Airport, to stay in a decent lodge, gave me a big car on all 5 days; he also arranged one of his close friend to take me and my family to RashtrapathyBhavan; we had a royal welcome on that day in RashtrapathyBhavan !
It was a most memorable day. One would be really lucky to visit this great place in life. President Dr.Kalam was so kind, he came out his seat for at least 50 feet to receive me; with a great concern, he inquired about my health and the reason for my disability; I went there with a wheel chair. It was my first meeting with Dr. APJ Kalam. How much I was lucky to start meeting such a great personality of India !
Again, after 1 year, Penneswaraninvited me to visit New Delhi to attend a function in which Dr.Kalam was the Chief Guest along with Dr. Y.S. Rajan, an eminent Scientist; Dr.Kalam and Dr.Y.S.Rajan are the authors of India 2020, such a close friend Dr.YSR to Dr.Kalam.Dr.Kalam launched the web site of Penneswaran’sVadakkuVaasal magazine.
I could easily see what was the contact level of Penneswaran in New Delhi. It is most unfortunate that people in his native town of Krishnagiri still don’t know much about Penneswaran and his true capabilities.
During this time, I was writing articles in his mag and it was almost 4 years gone; Dr.Kalam was one of the regular reader of my articles through VadakkuVaasal. I humbly submit here-Penneswaran took all his efforts to publish my articles into a collection. With the blessings of ArutselvarPollachiMahalingam he made arrangements to release my book in New Delhi Tamil Sangam;
Dr. APJ Kalam launched my bookalongwith 4 books edited and published by Penneswaran and I again got a great opportunity to share the dias along with Dr.Kalam. One must have been blessed by God for such golden occasions.
Meanwhile I developed communications with Dr.Kalam, I received many letters from him.
A few years ago, I started another school in a remote village, Savuloor, 2 km from Kaveripattinam; I am much interested in agriculture and organic farming; here in this rural school I have allotted ten thousand square feet for this agri education; students are directly involved in the agri field work; I was so serious in it; I wanted the students should know about agri and organic farming for their bright future. When Penneswaran visited this rural school, he was very much inspired by my vision and this went to the knowledge of Dr.Kalam. Penneswaran played a key role in bringing Dr.Kalam to our rural school to inaugurate this Organic Farm in our rural school in 2013, October 2nd, Gandhi Jayanthi Day.
What a great day that was ! We could feel the happiness and proud moment even today while remembering that golden day. We can’t get such a great occasion so easily. Dr.Kalam came, planted a sapling, inaugurated the Organic Farming and spoke to the children and public for an hour. Everyone is proud even today by remembering Dr.Kalam and his speech.
Dr.Kalam by heart appreciated me on my vision on Agriculture in School; he promised to give all his help; he mentioned about this Organic Farming of our school in many Universities and other top Institutions; even just two days before his death, he conveyed his best wishes towards my wish to bring agri education at national level. On his request ShriNarayanamurthy and Dr.SantoshBabu IAS, our former District Collector have been helping me very much. I am sure, with all the blessings of Dr.Kalam’s wishes and blessings, I will see agriculture will be one of the subjects in School curriculum sooner at National level.
Today Dr.Kalam is no more with us. Hundreds console me in person and over phone; many magazines have interviewed me on Dr.Kalam’s demise; I was interviewed by All India Radio, asked me to say my friendship with Dr.Kalam for the past 10 years. Almost all the news papers published the photos of Dr.Kalam’s visit to our rural school, inaugurating the organic farm while pushing my wheel chair.
A friend in need is a friend indeed; Penneswaran set an example for friendship, what do you need more this this, in one’s life ! I am proud of him, I thank God for it.