It is with utmost sorrow we record the recent demise of Mr. A Metthananda who was a lovable erudite English teacher par excellence. He was a thorough gentleman who was a leading light to many students irrespective of their age or
profession. We came to contact with him while he conducted English classes at Gangaramaya Temple in about 1985. His way of teaching was magnificent, so much so that one could hang onto his lips. He possessed a very thorough knowledge of English, especially English idiomatic expressions and various other beautiful expressions. His teaching style was that, he took a situation and taught a repertoire of expressions, phrases related to the situation. There was absolutely no difficulty in imbibing knowledge from him. His students were not mere students. It was a motley gang with Engineers, Doctors, Lawyers, Army Officers and what not. All had a great time at his classes as it was a virtual free-for-all to banter and crossword in English. Some of his students are now active politicians, legal luminaries, high ups in the Sri Lanka Army. He had great qualities about him and he never worshiped the shrine of Mammon. He was never worried about the payments like a village Vedamahattya. All his wealth was books and stacks of papers which contained English phrases jotted down by him.
Knowledge is like a pocket clock which should be taken out only in need and after that it should be rested as before
Apart from the treasure of knowledge he imparted on his students, he inculcated good qualities in us with life home truths. He was able to tide over calamities which befell him but could not escape the mandibles of death, again and again
confirming the truth of the line of the Pali stanza “Uppagithwa Nirujjanthi”. He always dressed nattily, combed his hair neatly and carried the halo of gentlemanliness wherever he proceeded. When we asked him about this, his answer was that he took the good things from the Westerners throwing the bad things away as a swan churns out water from milk. Once I was in a difficulty and I made a clean breast of me to him. He gave me an unputdownable book to read and if I remember correct it was “Life the Greatest Adventure”. Such were his noble qualities.
He was always a hail fellow well met type of a person and never strutted about like a peacock. His motto was that “Knowledge is like a pocket clock which should be taken out only in need and after that it should be rested as before” . Although lately he could not do his teaching with the great profundity he did before, still he conducted classes to various officers in spite of his debility. He timed and pronounced English with a mellifluous tone and we now badly miss his tintinnabulation and iridescence.
A pall of miasma silhouettes our minds because of his loss which is irreparable. Thank you great master, thank you for all what you have left behind indelibly in our mourning minds.
D A J Ranwala
Chartered Civil Engineer