Mumbai: A stalwart, a poet, a writer, an enlightened mind and a compassionate being leaves this world -- that's how megastar Amitabh Bachchan began his tribute to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, whose demise has left the nation mourning.
Vajpayee died on Thursday at AIIMS Hospital in New Delhi after weeks of being hospitalised. He was 93.
"He was an admirer of my father and his works and there were many an occasion when I would be present at their meetings," Amitabh, son of late prolific and celebrated writer Harivansh Rai Bachchan, wrote on his blog.
He said his father knew Vajpayee, who was then a student. Harivansh Rai, he says, was very impressed by Vajpayee's oratory skills, which was his virtue.
"His oratory powers were unmatched and the usage of words exemplary. They were filled with the power of pronunciation. The rendition of the word was enough to give it meaning... One did not need to understand the language, that was his brilliance. Some of his public speeches and ones done in the Houses of Parliament are testimony.
"A poet, a writer, a politician, a Prime Minister... an extremely rare human," Amitabh wrote.
The actor also wrote about the special bond Vajpayee shared with his father.
"Despite his prominence as a leader of eminence, Atalji never hesitated to meet up with my father... Particularly on one occasion when my father was admitted to AIIMS hospital in Delhi, Atalji visited him to ask after his condition. I was there. His compassion and concern was most gracious.
"It was Atalji who agreed to launch and honour the occasion when the ‘stamp' was inaugurated in my father's name. It was in Lucknow."
Big B, 75, also recounted the birthday routine when Vajpayee would ring him on his special day, and he would ring the politician on his birthday.