Saturday, November 24, 2007

I Knew An Angel called Burjor Gae

Professor Burjor Gae, one of my most favourite teachers and human beings, passed away on November 23, 2007, at approximately 8.00 am. He was 98 years old and was born on 14th June. He was one of the finest souls that have inherited Mother Earth. He passed away quietly at his residence and I am glad for him that he did not suffer at this age. An excellent mathematics teacher, he taught me Maths (algebra/mathematics/geometry/probability and the entire works) in 1994 when I was in and then later in 1998 when I was preparing for my MBA entrance exam.

He was damm good at his job. So brilliant was he that despite having a very weak eyesight (he must've been 88 years at that time), he used to excel. He could not write much as he could not see properly. So he used to close his eyes, work out the entire equation in his mind and dictate me, step-by-step systematically, the entire solution. If a train of 100 metres was travelling at a speed of 120 kms per hour and if another train of 138 metres long cruising at 200 kms per hour were to overtake the first train, how long would it take the second train to overtake the first train?

He would close eyes, crunch the numbers in his mind, then after 15 seconds open his eyes and just look at me. That was his signal of job done. I would immediately start writing the solution down in my notebook. Words would start flowing, he would dictate the problem with such ease as if he was reading it word-by-word from an invisible notebook in front of him that only he could see! Not one mistake in his dictation. I have never known such a brilliant man. He coached me for almost eight months like this, before I got admission in my MBA school. Now seven years into my job, I look back and can't thank him enough for his contribution.

Burjor uncle was a very humble and simple man. This, I must tell you that he gave a lot of tuitions throughout his long and illustrious life, apart from being a college professor, but NEVER charged a single penny from any of his students. He studied and later became a professor at St Xavier's college, Bombay. He taught there for many, many years. Infact the Matriculation board paper (in those times, the tenth standard or SSC was known as Matriculation or Metric) of Maths in 1925 was set by him and till today is considered by many academicians as one of the toughest Maths papers for such an exam. He was man of simple means, devoid of all the vices that we humans are can be so full of. Although i believe that GOD resides in all of us (though many of us also choose to ignore Him), to many of us he was the GOD himself. Mother Earth and all of us were blessed with his presence.

Thank you Burjor uncle for being a part of my life and being my teacher. It was a rare honour and privilege to have known you and to be coached by you. I will be extremely grateful to you, something that I doubt will ever be able to repay you. I will always remember you. May your soul rest in peace.

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