Thursday, November 12, 2015

Adieu, George Joseph sir!

George Joseph sir, in his mid 80s and stricken with the Alzheimer's illness, passed into the mist of time this afternoon. He was the head of the Department of Biology, at school, in the late '60s and early '70s.

Sir and Springthorpe were considered synonymous with each other by the class of '72 of the Sainik School, Kazhakootam. A composite treatise on Biology written by Springthorpe, was the gospel on the subject for both, the student and the teacher, during those days!

I used to be in awe of the short, stocky and bespectacled George Joseph sir who was always dressed immaculately well and on many a day, he used to sport an off white terrylene half sleeve shirt with, his steel strapped watch running loosely over his right wrist. When he removed the watch onto the other hand, it signalled his preparation to go in for a slap on the errant child's cheek which was, albeit, a rare sight as he was seldom seen to be angry! He used to take classes for the seniors while Saraswathy Amma teacher, his deputy and an equally fine instructor, used to engage the junior classes.......We used to wait for our time with him as that also signalled our final years of being in school!

I used to be quite enthusiastic about the Biology practical classes. The dissections, the drawings of those dissections and the botanical specimens needed attention and care. He nurtured each one of us to give off our best. His affinity to music was another quality that endeared him to me and for most of us there was no better all rounder other than him at school!

If my memory serves me right, he was ambidextrous. I remember his short run up to the crease to bowl left arm around the wicket at the batsman at the nets and he was an accomplished cricketer, who padded up for the staff team on occasions and displayed his cricketing prowess.

.......Years later, during my interaction with him at the golden jubilee celebrations of the school, he'd given me a standing invite to his house at Kozhencherry, setting a condition that I must give him a call before dropping by. Alas that meeting could never take place, perhaps I wasn't destined to be with him again...

RIP, George Joseph sir! My prayers and tears. Here's wishing that your family has the strength to tide over these trying times. And sir, they don't make them teachers like you any more!


Yet another important link to those halcyon days at school has snapped!    

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