Between 101 and one rose, the story of a President’s ‘humility’

The President’s next visit to their residence, in 2007, came on a somber occasion, after the death of the critic in 2007.

Written by Shikha Sharma | New Delhi | Updated: July 29, 2015 5:11 pm
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The first time he visited their residence in Vasundhara Enclave, Mayur Vihar, A P J Abdul Kalam brought 101 roses, recalled Sriram, son of veteran music critic, musician and composer P V Subramanian.

Kalam, the then President of India, told the ailing composer that the gift, from the Mughal Gardens in Rashtrapati Bhavan, was his way of wishing him a long and healthy life.

“People know him as a president, a scientist, a man of repute, but Kalam was also fond of Tamil poetry and loved playing the Veena. Few know that he really admired my father’s writing and work. In fact, he conferred the Sangeet Natak Akademi award on my father in 2005. Since my father couldn’t visit the Rashtrapati Bhavan as he was wheelchair bound, the President decided to visit him personally at our home,” recalled Sriram.

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“When my father asked him whether he could release the news of the visit, adding by way of explanation, that he had many fans, the President immediately asked to be counted among them,” Sriram recalled.

The President’s next visit to their residence, in 2007, came on a somber occasion, after the death of the critic in 2007.

“He came to the house at 12.30 in the night. He just placed a single yellow rose on my father’s body, paid his respects and left,” Sriram said.

“He was a great man. But what struck me most about him was his humility. He took time out to talk to our maid and shake hands with her. When he was leaving, a crowd had gathered outside the building. He took out the time to talk to our neighbours,” said Jayashree, Subramanian’s daughter-in-law.

“He must have met so many people between the two visits, but he still remembered our names. We were told, he never forgot names. The country has lost an eminent scientist and a great human being. It’s a great loss to the nation,” Sriram said.

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  1. P
    Jul 29, 2015 at 9:54 pm
    It feels GOOD just to read about this Great Son of India. May his soul rest in peace.
    1. S
      Jul 29, 2015 at 5:46 am
      we should born and live like Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam the best intellectual a great scientist and a Missilie Man and his love for the country cannot be estimated. his intention was every student should be a part of serving for the country's growth and progress in his life and he has taken step in specking with the students and clearing their doubts. he lived most of his time with children and students and also with students till his last Breath of his life. India pays Homage to the Best Intellectual and the country lost the best intellectual of the Nation.
      1. Krishna V Yadav
        Jul 29, 2015 at 8:06 pm
        India will miss President APJ Abdul Kalam. Compare this noble and selfless son of India with dynastic perpetual chumacha of Nehru-hi dynasty who has done nothing in life except promoting the hi family children and his own by using his offices all his life. His name is 4 foot shor*tie, the shameless Pranab Mukerjee who has the gall to lecture India on moral fiber when he has none.