Saturday, December 17, 2011

George Keerenkeri

Fr George Keerenkeri was a great teacher. I met him in 1980 at Vidyajyoti. He was a young Professor known to be one of the faculty's best. Prof JPS Uberoi introduced me to Fr Gispert, who was at that time doing lots of things, heading the library, teaching, editing the journal. Fr Gispert introduced me to Fr Keeran who was a very familiar Syrian Christian face to me, kind of typical for the community, the kind of face one finds in our families quite routinely. He taught me Greek and Hebrew, and though I was a rotten student, and took one month to learn the alphabets, and one month to scissors and paste from other works, so incompetent was I, even I was embarrassed. But from what I learnt from him was the essential humility a great teacher always carries, the ability to make the weakest in the class feel comfortable. I am not very good at keeping in touch with people, being an introvert, and generally fleeing crowds, so we never kept in touch, though for twenty years I sent the trio, Fr Gispert, Fr Keeran and Fr T.K. John christmas cards. Then I stopped, for no particular reason, or maybe it was because I could not put all our names on the cards, since Shiv had started travelling non-stop, and the children and I shifted to JNU twelve years ago. But Fr Keeran always wished me Happy Christmas either by postal card or by the web. Last night around 8 .40 I felt a sense of agony, so I called up some friends and then comforted, went to sleep. Good night Father Keeran, your life was a candle and there was never any dross, just the simple fire of your faith. I'll probably not be at the funeral.

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