#02_Nine Days Later: Remembering a Great Teacher

My youngest brother’s birthday falls on the 31 August. That was the same day he drifted into unconsciousness was very sick. In the midst of the worry and busyness, many of us forgot my youngest brother’s birthday. He breathed his last one day later, on the 1 September.

It was almost uncanny and bittersweet to have him leave us on Teachers’ Day. You see, he was the best teacher I had ever known. By far, he was the one person with the greatest width and depth of knowledge in his mental repository. If my Literature teacher was fantastically well-researched in all the ages of litter, she had to be because she was a Literature teacher. If my Chinese teacher knew China’s history and knew how to write perfect Chinese essays, it was no big deal because she was a Chinese teacher. But his wisdom and understanding was beyond bounds because he could tell us about cultures, traditions, languages, and beliefs. He could relate it to history, to science, to modern-age developments and research. He knew the great writers and artists and cultural and religious icons of all time. He also knew books so well, he could give advice on which books were a worthy keep and which was not. It was not simply knowledge that he had; he had wisdom too. He could see and understand the workings of a man’s heart and mind. He understood a proud and conceited fellow, and one who needed an ego boost. He could differentiate between one who would learn the hard way, from one who would not learn at all. And in all these, he was patient. He taught and guided us with lots of patience and love as a father would.

Teachers’ Day was emptied and devoid of its meaning for me that day, because the world had lost a great teacher and mentor. We should be in mourning, not celebrating and counting cards and gifts from students, or with fancy dinners and dresses.

So from a student to you, happy teachers’ day. Thank you for guiding us and letting us catch a glimpse of that beautiful and enriching world that you see. May God continue to open our eyes to see even more beautiful miracles and wisdom in our lives.

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