Friday, February 17, 2006My friend Ravindranath Nair succumbed to lung infection on Wednesday. He would be 66 this year.
I knew Ravi 40 years ago when we were both teaching in Kuala Brang. I was in Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Kuala Brang and he was in Sekolah Tengku Ampuan Intan. Both schools were so close to each other -cheek by jowl, if you like, that teachers from both schools even share the same living quarters. Ravi did not have to share rooms with us because he was assigned to the hostel as one of the wardens.
Ravi could have been a brilliant lawyer. In fact he was a law student in Singapore from 1957. He was 17 then and probably the youngest that the Law Faculty has ever seen. He did not complete his studies not because of his lack of endeavour or his intelligence. He was like under a very strong spell which was cast over all the sons in his family. Fortunately, the spell could not travel far and Ravi was able to graduate as a teacher from Brinsford Lodge, United Kingdom.
Ravi and I share the love of the English language although he is better at it than me. He encouraged me constantly by reminding me of things that I said which he thought was fairly witty.
Ravi: When we were in Hotel Primula and I asked your opinion about the singer, what did you say?
Me: I honestly couldn't remember. It was some years ago!
Ravi: I remembered. You said if she were to sing for her supper, she would not starve but she would suffer from serious malnutrition.
Ravi, as an English teacher encouraged countless students to learn the language well. Even after retirement, parents pleaded him to teach their children English because they know there is no better teacher of English in town.
And there is no better friend than Ravi. Ravi's friendship is best experienced than explained. When help is needed, he would do whatever he can with utmost sincerity.
I am indeed privileged to be counted among his friends. My only regret is I could not convince him to get a computer so I can introduce him to the wonders of the Internet. I could get him a computer of course but he refused to install a phone in his house. It was a wonder that he was persuaded to get a cellphone recently.
Rest in Peace Ravi. I shall miss you.