“Are you Rajib Roy?”, asked the deceptively young looking gentleman as he got up from his chair in the verandah of his house.
“That I am, Sir!”, said I, fumbling with the gate latch.
It had taken me a long time to find Sir Patrick Moore – my class teacher from sixth grade. I got my lucky break when I had met Pratap Bara at the airport a couple of days earlier. I got Mrs. Moore’s number from Pratap and then a few phone calls later, I had set up my tryst with the teacher that I had last talked to in 1978 !!! Three hours of car journey later, I stood face to face with him after almost four decades.
He did not remember me – which I would not have expected him to. But he did remember the two classrooms we sat in while in sixth grade. I remember that we were in the very last room on the ground floor. And one fine day, we were shifted to the room next to the library on the second floor. Sir Moore remembered that incident vividly since – according to him, it was he who had instigated that change after getting headaches from the chemical smell from our chemistry lab next door!!
I told him how he used to often ask us some very interesting questions and then ask us to think about it or even ask around about it and come back with answers the next day. I reminded him of some of the questions he had asked us…. He had just finished teaching us about how ancient people had discovered fire and how that was a big change for civilization. Then he asked us – “What was another discovery or invention of ancient people that changed civilization dramatically?”.
Or when another time, when he had just finished teaching us about the solar system, he asked us to think about what was a man made object that is visible to the eye from the moon.
I had an equally great time with Miss Yvonne (Mrs. Moore) (who was a teacher in our primary section but I never studied in that section of our school) discussing about life, my own life journey and learnt about theirs.
Finally, I offered my heartfelt gratitude to Sir for influencing me in no small ways to be whoever it is that I am today.
In the bottom picture, I am the one sitting in the same row with Sir, next to next to him, on his right.