From pilot to Santa, Kalam does it all
Kalam, on a visit to Hellenic Aerospace Industry, entered the cockpit of a Mirage aircraft and understood the modernisation process. He also met the children and interacted with them.india Updated: Apr 28, 2007 12:04 IST
From pilot to Santa, President APJ Abdul Kalam did it all within no time.
The 75-year-old Kalam, who is in Athens on a three-day state visit, began his morning on Friday with a visit to the prestigious Hellenic Aerospace Industry, where Mirage aircraft were being assembled and modernised.
The visit to the Centre was kept out of bounds for media but later the President's Press Secretary SM Khan said that Kalam entered the cockpit of a Mirage aircraft which was being assembled using the modernised technique.
The institute, which was established in 1975, is one of the major defence aerospace industry establishments and deals in military aircraft repairs and modernisation, military engine aircraft manufacture.
Among the manufacturers is Lockheed Martin that has offered valuable assistance both in terms of workload and new technology through the F-16 co-production programme and has also invested on its aerostructures facility.
The President sat in the cockpit for over 20 minutes and understood the modernisation process and other details of the fighter aircraft.
Minutes later, Kalam, who was in the cockpit, was seen at the Hadzipaterion Rehabilitation Centre for Children with cerebral Palsy entertaining them with poems and gifts -- 10 computers which he had brought along with from India.
"We are Gods Children; When God is with us; Nobody can be against us; We will win, win and win," the President recited a poem for the children and made the staff and these children, whoever could speak, recite after him.
"He (Kalam) met the children and interacted with them. Shook hands and enquired about their health. He also told the organisers of the institute that they were doing God's mission," Khan said.
The President did make some of the children cheer and smile. The innocent smile of the children could move anyone's heart as their empty eyes continuously gazed the President who was trying to make them smile -- like Santa Claus does to the Children on a Christmas eve.
After that he interacted with the staff of the institute and was all praise for them.
He later attended a reception hosted by Indian Ambassador to Greece B Balakrishnan which was attended by the Greek President Karolos Papoulias during which Kalam told the Indians to work hard for Greece as this was the country which gave them their daily bread.
Before visiting the the Acroopolis hills "sacred rock", Kalam was given an official send-off from the Presidential palace by Papoulias.
Evincing keen interest in the historic monument of Greece, Kalam took round of the Acropolis during which he found some kids, who were there as tourists.
So within no time, the teacher in Kalam was at its best -- "Do you know English" and on finding that they had the knowledge of the language, the President began "Dream Dream Dream, dreams turn into thought and thoughts turn into action" and made them to recite after him.
The President later visited the place where Socrates had been imprisoned.