Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dr Renuka

I remember that day in second semester like it was yesterday. It was a Thursday. I had my Politics class as 10. And on the way to class, I met the other three: Diana, Lils, and Wenli. They were giggling like mad, walking like three drunken teenagers. I asked them what's up. And one by one they started recalling their History II class, or more specifically the lecturer. "Our history lecturer is so funny. You're going to meet her soon because she's the World Religion lecturer too," Lils said. And true enough, after politics I went to religion with Lils and sat anxiously while waiting to see how this funny lecturer looks like. And soon enough came this small Indian lecturer with henna-red hair walking through the door. She didn't struck me as funny at first, but cute, definitely. I don't remember if she smiled that first time I saw her but based on the person I got to know later on, I think she must have.

After that, Dr Renuka definitely succeed in getting me to class. No, in fact she actually made me look forward to her class. She's funny not because of her jokes, but because she tried to make light of everything and her demeanor is just funnily cute! Especially after 10 minutes or so of dry learning, there was always something that would come out of her mouth that made us laugh and it would rejuvenate us again. Therefore I would never call her a dry lecturer. She's always smiling, and when she's not, we know that something really bad must have happened. But usually her frown didn't last long. She's like the godmother everyone wants. In fact, there was once that I fell asleep in class while she was showing a video. I thought she won't catch me in the dark but it turned out she did and after the video ended she came up to me and said, "You look reallly tired. Why don't you go back?" I sheepishly smiled and shook my head. No other teacher I know of ever allowed me to go back in the middle of a class...and without a hint of sarcasm! At the end of that semester she brought sandwiches for all of us. How can you not love someone who brings food for 30+ people? Besides that, she will always be remembered as the only person to ever call my full name (Seyazafarrhana) up until the last class I had with her.

If that 2nd semester was like an introductory between us, I would say during the next semester we got to know each other pretty well. She can even joke about him and I always wanting to be together, again, without a hint sarcasm or irritation in her voice. I took history with her and I remember laughing over everything she said during the first day of class. I missed listening to her! She's always nice to me. But I guess sometimes she would also get annoyed with me always nodding off for 5 seconds every time during her 8am class. She always tried to make things comfortable, nonetheless. I think I can sense that somehow she did not enjoy that class as much as religion. Maybe it's the subject or the students, she's just not as jolly as before. So when her antics showed I would always be one of the persons laughing most. I love her!

After teaching me for two semesters straight I asked her to do my recommendation letter. She of course did not object and she also put quite an effort in both his and my letters. I can tell from the way she described me that that was exactly how I acted in her class and with her. I remember the second last time I met her when we waited for her to finish class near FOLA. And when she saw us from afar, she actually shouted, "I haven'tt write your letterr yet!" and rushed to her room. I giggled like mad. We followed to her room and she showed us the other students that asked her to write for them too. We told her that we're there not to pick up the recommendation letter but simply to remind her. She looked really glad after that. She said she'll work on it and we can come by two days later. So we did. And that was the last time I talked to her.

I know I am a bit late to write this entry. But the truth is I was in denial before. I know she was in a coma but I didn't want to think that she's really gone. I told him that until I hear it from an INTI official, she's very much alive to me. But then today Dr Lim told us that she passed away last Friday and today her body would arrive in India to be cremated. I really cannot believe it, but that's the truth. Someone who wrote and thought of nice things towards me is no longer with us. She was such a marvelous person. Everyone kept asking why does something so tragical has to happen to someone so beautiful. Fact is, when the time comes, it doesn't wait for a 'right' situation.

Dr Patilla Puzhankara Renuka Devi, you will be greatly missed.


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