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Nidhi Seth and Swati Sehgal

By Saji Mathew and Julie John
Year 2016, pp. 224, Rs. 1699.00

VOLUME XL NUMBER 11 November 2016

Dear Kalam Sir, a compendium of tributes to the ‘people’s president’, ‘the missile man of India’ amazes us by the sheer novelty of the idea. An initiative of Letter Farms, this book is a testimony to the fact that Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, with his ideas, words and actions reached out and touched a great number of lives. A man who rose from a humble background to become President, India ever had, Kalam’s life is a lesson that ‘dreams with a vision and hard work ensure success.’ ‘Postcard is your canvas and sky is your limit’ is the single line instruction with which Letter Farms began the community art project Dear Kalam Sir, which is a confluence of ‘art, articulation and passion’. The unique project witnessed participation of students from several schools and people from all walks of life with the assistance of hundreds of implementing institutions such as the Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti, Sri Sri Ravishankar Vidya Mandir, Bhavan’s Shikshan Bharati, Muslim Education Society, ICSE & CBSE schools, Jain University, Central Chinmaya Trust and many more from India and abroad. The project began with the purpose of coalescing people’s love for Kalam and restoring the faded glory of the handwritten humble postcard as a medium of communication. It is a celebration, both of the contributions of Dr. Kalam and the medium, the postcard. The postcards in the book exhibit myriad creative expressions— poems, sketches, quotes and pictures that capture vignettes of Dr. Kalam’s life, and all of these find space in the 3.5"x5" canvas of the postcard. Of the thousands of postcards received about three hundred and fifty found their way to the book. There are postcards from across the country and abroad that etch out the contributor’s adoration for the President. Right from the cover page, which has a picture of Kalam with the night sky as the backdrop, a shooting missile and silhouettes of two children—joyous and exuberant—till the last message of the book, each page is a visual delight. One can pick up the book and read it from anywhere without losing the thread. The title of the book is also in close synchrony with the theme as the salutation signifies an intensely personal and emotive relationship. The tributes vary from life-like sketches that explore his journey from Rameshwaram to Rashtrapati Bhawan (even using a graph in one ...

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