Abdul Kalam was born in a poor family, and like many other poor children, he started working at an early age to help support his family. When he was just 12 years old, he started working as a newspaper hawker in his home town of Rameswaram. He would go around the town selling newspapers to earn a little money.
He worked hard and saved up all his money so that he could buy a bicycle. This was his first major purchase, and it made a big difference to his life. With a bicycle, he could travel more easily around the town and sell more newspapers. He continued working as a newspaper hawker for several years, until he got a job of bus conductor.