I am pinching myself to check all that happened today were real. I got a rare invitation to visit Rashtrapati Bhavan in Delhi, towards the celebration of (Late) Former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam‘s birthday in the presence of Hon’ble President of India Sri Ram Nath Kovind. Like every Indian who has watched Rashtrapati Bhavan, the symbol of India, getting to go inside was an ecstatic experience. Every year, the President’s house celebrates Dr Kalam’s birthday on the 15th October by a floral tribute by Hon’ble President of India to a portrait of Dr Kalam in the Durbar Hall of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

I have been privileged to be serving in the Advisory Board of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam International Foundation, and that’s how I got the invitation for the visit today. Thanks to House of Kalam (family of Dr Kalam) for inviting me. We had given our names and copy of our AADHAAR card to the office of President, a week or so before to have our names included in the guest list for the morning event. After reaching Rashtrapati Bhavan, we were guided to the South Court, where after security formalities which included depositing of our mobile phones and any other electronic items we were greeted by a senior staff of President’s office and escorted to a waiting room and then to the Durbar Hall. Hit with the sheer beauty of the place, I was in a trance. After a few minutes, without any fanfare, the Hon’ble President walked in and proceeded to offer his tributes to Dr Kalam’s portrait. Returning to the assembled guests, he greeted each one of us – I was touched by President Sri Ram Nath Kovind‘s simplicity! We are lucky to have him as the President of our nation.

Offering flowers to People’s President in the Durbar Hall

Photo of the ‘golden’ moment, when Hon’ble President of India Sri Ram Nath Kovind greeted me and I got to thank him for the opportunity.

Hon’ble President of India Sri Ram Nath Kovind greeting the family members and well wishes of Dr Kalam

Venkatarangan Thirumalai with APJMJ Sheik Dawood at Rashtrapati Bhavan – the President’s Estate.

View of Rashtrapati Bhavan – the President’s Estate.

Venkatarangan in Rashtrapati Bhavan – the President’s Estate.

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