To My English Teacher


I lost one of my English teachers this weekend. I lost one of my most favourite teachers this weekend. Suddenly. She wasn’t meant to leave so soon. But she did and I don’t know what to make of it. Ms Kakoli was, I cannot believe I’m using was for her, one of the sweetest persons to have walked this earth. And I’m not saying this because I had, have, a special regard for her in my heart. She truly was a gentle soul. But she’s gone now and I don’t know what good could have come of this.


I believe in God. I do. It’s one of those things that gives me strength when I’m low. Sometimes it helps me make sense of life too. But then there are times when I question the existence of this higher power. Today is one of those days. Yes, because if there was a God would he have taken away the only surviving parent of an 8-year-old? If there was God would he have taken away my teacher at such a young age?


My sister says she’s not sure about God but with the kind of injustice rampant all around the world, unfortunately, she’s not really shocked with the kind of tragedy that befalls people these days. She’s not wrong but it doesn’t make it easier dealing with the news.


It was in my school in Shillong that I first met her. It’s a small town, my Shillong, so if there is someone who is good at something, everyone more or less knows about him or her. She was one of the best English teachers in town. Everyone knew it, knows it still. So, when I reached high school, I was directed to her by my senior teachers in my school.


I remember sitting in her drawing room, writing essays, enunciating aphorisms and writing summaries of stories. She wasn’t your typical teacher, you know. She let me write without restrictions and then told me how I could improve on it. She told me that writing good English doesn’t mean using huge words. She taught me to convey my feelings and not to shirk away from baring my soul on paper.


If I close my eyes, I can see her sitting on her divan, just back from school, talking to us, asking us what we would like to write about. I remember I had to go down a good number of steps before reaching her house in Shillong. I always wondered where she would park her car when she bought one. I guess I’ll never get to ask her that. I always pictured her in that house, waiting for her students even after she had moved.


She was so full of life and dreams. I remember sitting with her one day when one of her best friends, another teacher of mine, came visiting. The latter had just gotten married and they shared stories, laughed, teased each other while I worked on my prose. If I close my eyes, I can still listen to her voice. It’s devastating that she’ll not talk to her students anymore.


I got to meet her again many years after graduation and this time with my husband in tow. I remember she welcomed us with open arms. I remember feeling so glad seeing her, this time married to a wonderful man. She was so happy and it made me so very happy seeing her like that. She was so much in love. It hurts to even think how all that changed suddenly.


In Memory of Miss Kakoli


A few years after we met, she lost her husband to a drunk driver. I remember being so devastated at the news. I didn’t have the courage to talk to her then. But we did a few days after that horrible, horrible accident and do you know what she told me when she got to know that I was pregnant then? She told me to take care, eat properly and not think about anything else. She was brave, so very brave. And even after losing the love of her life, she continued to live for her son and her students.


She once told me that her son and her students are the reason for her existence. If you see her Facebook page, you’ll see what I mean. Her students from all around the world are today in mourning. Her students from all around the world love her as I do. She touched our lives, gave us so much that today when she’s not there anymore, we have all lost a guiding figure. It’s a loss that is insurmountable.


A few weeks back when I was home with mom, she had liked and commented on so many pictures of mine on Facebook. I don’t know why but I couldn’t respond immediately. I thought I’ll respond to her when I have some time but I never did. I will never forgive myself for missing out on talking to her one last time. What I also will always repent is not sending her the first draft of the story I have written. I thought I would send her the book, if and when it is published. I should have just sent her the draft. If only, I had known.


You know, apart from my parents there are only 2 or 3 people in the world who I hoped would feel proud of me one day. One of those was her. And now there’ll never be a day when she can be proud of me if I ever achieve something. I can’t tell you how that empty that makes me feel inside.


But my loss or the loss of her students, though great, isn’t as great as that of her son. I cannot imagine how his little heart is going to cope with this loss. But I’m sure he has loving people around him. And I’m sure his parents will be his guiding stars watching over him. He is too small to go through this but I hope that doesn’t take away the zeal of life from him. But it isn’t going to be easy too.


You know for the past two weeks, I hadn’t published anything on the blog. I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind to do it. Disappointments have a way of getting to you. But I couldn’t have missed writing something about her today. I had to. She’s one of the reasons writing is what it is to me. So, this post is for her.


So, as I publish this today, I want to tell her and tell myself too that I’ll keep writing because I can’t think of any other way to honour her. I’ll keep trying to publish a book because I know she would have loved that. I’ll keep thinking of her when I publish something I’m remotely proud of. I’ll keep thinking of her everytime I conclude a post because she taught me to do that. I’ll keep praying for her kid because if God chose to deal this deafening blow to him, I hope he’ll keep him safe and happy going forward.


I’ll miss you, dear Ms Kakoli. But I’ll always keep your memories alive in my heart.


To My English Teacher. An Ode to My Favourite Teacher. #Memories #EnglishTeacher #Ode

27 thoughts on “To My English Teacher”

  1. No words… Only memories, her sweet voice and whatsapp messages that she has left behind! Unable to sink in the fact that last week I spoke to her and this week she doesn’t exist any longer! Never ever will I get to meet her again! Wish I could hold on to my favourite people and never let them go! Wish I could bring her back!

  2. So shocked to read about your wonderful English teacher, Naba, and how cruelly she was snatched away. My heart goes out to her little boy. Cruel is this life, so very cruel! You take care of yourself.

  3. HUgs Naba – there are no words to express over your loss which comes out so loud and clear in this post. I wish I could say more to make you feel better. The idea of you writing a book “because she would have loved it” is a great one! I wish you all the best in this endeavour πŸ™‚
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  4. I am so sorry and condolences to you and her family. I know how it feels to lose someone so early and not to have expected it. It’s really sad I am wishing you all the best and know that God is there and prayer does help.

  5. I am so incredibly sorry for your loss, Naba. Words fail me, honestly and I know that sometimes life is terribly unfair and we are at a total loss to make sense of it. May the child gain the strength to get through this phase.

    Again, big hugs to you. I can tell she was a gem of a person and her loss has affected you very deeply. πŸ™
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  6. Sorry for your loss. It is always important to remember people positively so that they can still bring a smile to your face.

  7. This is such a beautiful letter. Teachers can be such wonderful people in our lives. I’m lucky to have had a few great ones.

  8. So sorry about your loss. I feel how much you love your English Teacher and I am sure she still proud of you wherever she is.

  9. C truly was a wonderful teacher

    I can relate so much to wat you have written

    There is hardly a time wen I am reading or writing or talking in English wen I don’t think of her

    Her corrections are in my system and wen I make a mistake it jst automatically reminds me of her

    C has been a blessing in my life
    No one could hv taught better English than her

    Wonderful teacher and a gr8 person with all dedication towards her students

    Miss u alot

  10. I am really sorry to hear this…your teacher obviously made a huge impact in your life and so many others. Hopefully this will bring you peace.

  11. My deepest condolences. I know how hard it is to lose someone so dear.My dad died last year. He was also my teacher in college. While the pain will always be there, their care and love for us will never fade.

  12. Incredibly sorry for your loss, am sure it must be hard for you to cope. I also had a very respectful teacher pass away a few years back and all the memories I had with him was all coming back at the funeral. Hope you recover soon.

  13. This is very sweet and heartfelt message to your English teacher. She is really an awesome and special teacher to you. May she rest in peace.

  14. So sad to read about this. I cannot imagine how this has happened. I hope she find peace now and her family and friends find courage to surpass this.

  15. Feeling sad to read about your teacher and mostly about her child. But this is life actually cruel life. We have to move with the memories of those who left us.

  16. This is so heartbreaking. I feel for her little kid. So young! But I too hope that he would grow up to be a shining light like his mom. Some teachers are born with the talent to connect with their students. And remain a life long guiding figure.
    I am sorry for your loss.
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  17. So sad. It reminds that life is so precious. Its wonderful that you have some wonderful memories and thoughts it would be warming her heart up there Im sure.

  18. So sorry for your loss. This is a truly a lovely tribute for her. It means she had impacted lots of life and she is a good person.

  19. My condolences to you ma’am.
    Tributes such as these aren’t easy as you might have had to process the pain while writing this. Hope you and her son have the strength to cope with her loss.
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