He wasn’t my best pal or confidant; the one with whom I shared jokes or played tricks together on unsuspecting others. Neither was he anyone I had a daily interaction with of memorable magnitude. And yet he had a great impact on my life. He was the principal of my school. One Bishop Anthony Lobo (or Father as I remember him since he wasn’t a Bishop at that time) walking the halls in his straight robe, tall and sure footed, alert, demanding and imparting discipline, giving the morning sermon with a dose of humor and warning alike – telling us to not have eyes like a potato that could only see dirt.
I loved him.
In all my years at school, I perhaps spoke to him on no more than two occasions, as far as my memory serves me – once during literature class where he took upon himself to discuss Romeo & Juliet while our teacher excused herself to attend to some personal matter and once after the school’s annual Christmas concert, I was in the choir and he liked the way we all sang. Merry Christmas to you, he’d said.
I wish I could remember more times when he talked to us but it all seems a chapter from so long ago that my limited memory seems to be faded in those parts. Then, being Head of School, three schools to be exact, he went in between all the institutions he managed, not to mention the Church and its duties that kept him occupied. In my later years when I was a senior, Bishop Lobo had ceased to visit us altogether. He would only drop by for a few days and leave. What I remember of those days is that I always liked it when he was in the building.
It’s funny really why I’m mourning the death of someone I hardly can recall but a part of me misses him. It’s perhaps the realization of a sudden demise of good in one form. Like a chapter has been closed forever in my book of life and it will never be continued. I will never see him speak on TV anymore, never hear or read in the papers that he fought his way through the criticism and bureaucracy and opened yet another school or college, never again will his voice rise for educating women, condemning war and preaching tolerance.
Read books. He used to say. Read good books. Bad books should have a danger sign on them like they have on bottles of poison.
I shall miss you Father. Rest in peace and may the world be blessed with more men like you.