Wednesday 20th November, 2013
The whole day, it was raining hard making the atmosphere cloudy and dark. At lunch time, my son came back from work - he was feeling unwell.
I served him some fish and coconut rice that I had made for him and he went to sleep. My daughter had returned from Jo'Burg last night after attending a conference. Some clients had called her this morning so she had to go and see them in her clinic.
My friend and colleague, Mrs Miheso, from N.J.A., texted me about the sudden death of Mr. Vinod Singh. I felt sorry - he had been a struggling teacher whole of his life.
him since 1978 when we were teaching at Arya Boys' Secondary School, Ngara, Nairobi. He was a young man, fresh from India at that time. He liked teaching Mathematics and was really good at handling the over energetic boys in the school. During his free lessons,
I saw him sculpting the blackboard chalk sticks into figurines of exquisite shapes - he was indeed very artistic.
Most of the teachers in this school were very hard working and ambitious. Soon a group
migrated from here to the Aga Khan Academy in Parklands. Mr. Vinod, Mr. Garewal, Ms. Tajinder Channa and I were amongst them. Comparatively this was a huge school so teachers hardly saw each other as they all had 'heavy' loads of teaching lessons. It was at
lunch time that people would meet when eating the canteen food at a big, long table in the middle of the staff-room upstairs. Teachers were cordial with each other. They were all from diverse religions and cultures; celebrating many festivals like Christmas,
Idd and Diwali together. Vinod became my 'raakhee' brother and often he would talk to me about his parents in India and a sister in the U.K.
After a few years at the Academy, he was restless; he did not want to
be dominated by other fellow teachers and was known to have a terrible temper. He left A.K.A. and joined Nairobi School on Waiyaki Way. He was given a school house in the compound. I heard that he had gone to India to get married so I visited him with
my little daughter and even took a present for him. He wanted some 'mutton' so In took some kilos of meat, too.
I had seen him after quite long. He showed me his wedding album - the bride was a lovely, doe-eyed,
young Indian girl. The marriage had taken place in India. When I asked him where the bride was, he seemed very sad. He told me that she had come with him to Nairobi and after a few months she wanted to go back to visit India where she had an accident and died!
I was shocked and speechless.
Over the years, I lost contact with him. I was busy with my own home, family, children and my teaching career. I would hear about him from colleagues. He married a Kikuyu lady
and had three sons. His teaching flourished from one school to another and as chance would have it - I met him again after 20 years when he came to teach at N.J.A where I was also working.
His children had
grown up and apparently, they were giving him a tough time. They were rebellious teen-agers, full of energy and strong headed like their Dad (that's what Vinod said!). Their Mum had opened a small restaurant in town and Mr Vinod Singh still tutored children
after school, in the week-ends and during vacations, in his house in Parklands. He was driving an old 'Sunny' which was more off the road than on.