Miss Komalwan taught us Thai language, in addition to her assigned segment of the management course. While teaching Thai, she took care to see that all the students enjoyed the classes. In order to prevent a pupil from switching off, she would ask questions very frequently. Once in a class I was asked to come up with a Thai word. Since I had to respond quickly, I came up with the word ‘Sanuk‘. In retrospect, I feel I should have come up with a full sentence.
While teaching a language, a good teacher often takes recourse to the cultural and historical context of the language. Miss. Komalwan had a deep understanding of Thai culture and history. She once presented us new archaeological findings indicating that in Thailand, very ancient human settlements had been flourishing.
She had also been our friend, philosopher and guide. Often in our trips outside, she would accompany us and as is normal with a lady, she would take care to see that we all ate well. I do not know what Komalwan means in Thai, but to me it seems that she was as perfect as a lotus.
On a cultural evening, she organised a food competition in which participants from Japan, South Korea,China, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Srilanka participated. She had cooked a very large container of fish with lots of gravy. After so many years, I still remember the smell of lemon grass and Kafir Lime leaves.