We miss our beloved Miss
1st death anniversary of Indra Silva
It was day one of the first term in 1978 at S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia. Thirty of us, 15-year-old Thomians were waiting with trepidation for the arrival of the designated English master. Suddenly without the slightest warning walked in a beautiful lady who introduced herself as Indra Silva, our new O’L English teacher. To say that we were overjoyed is an understatement.
Our ‘English Miss’ or “Miss” as we used to call her until her untimely death one year back, instantly became the talk of the school which resulted in our colleagues in other classes casting envious glances at our class. Miss had a unique way of teaching. She definitely put us through a great deal of rigorous and routine stuff. But once in a while she read out jokes and humorous stories and other interesting articles such as “The Definition of a Gentleman”.
Once our class decided to play a practical joke on Miss. When Miss came to the punch line of her joke, all of us displayed serious faces with not a smile or a laugh from a single boy. Miss later used to tell us of her shock and bewilderment on that occasion. But this incident did not discourage Miss as her supply of interesting stories continued relentlessly. Later a few of us who offered English for the A’Ls had the privilege of being taught further by Miss. The number of students who got through the A’L English paper was ample testimony to the exceptional teaching skills of Miss.
After we left school Miss migrated to the USA with her family. On her regular visits to Sri Lanka Miss never forgot to call us and enquire about our progress. We made use of the opportunity to get our friends together and meet Miss and Uncle Oswin who by then had become very much a part of our lives. With the onset of the e-mail era, communication between Miss and our group became very frequent with e-mails ranging from the religious to the humorous being exchanged between LA and Sri Lanka on a daily basis.
Miss was taken ill on a visit to Sri Lanka and had to rush back to USA for treatment. This came as a shock to all of us. However, after intense treatment she returned to Sri Lanka after two years which gave us the opportunity of hosting Miss and Uncle on her last visit to Sri Lanka. On this occasion Miss was at her charming best chatting and joking with her extended family which included our wives and children. What a joyous and memorable occasion that last meeting with Miss was.
Miss will forever remain in our hearts as an exemplary teacher, a sincere friend and a shining example of courage in adversity. Her strong faith in the Lord enabled her to bear with grace the pain of her illness. Miss will also be remembered by us for her refreshing sense of humour and her unfailing cheerfulness at all times. Miss, we miss you. May her soul rest in peace!