A. F. Dawood
I was dumbfounded and nonplussed when I heard the sad news of my dear A.D. Dawood Sir had passed away in December last year peacefully after a brief illness. It is thoroughly heartbreaking to know that he has been robbed away from many of his learners. Simple and humble, he was gifted with a fine knowledge of English that made him an outstanding pedagogue and a versatile writer. Many readers of the Sunday Observer would recall the short stories he wrote and his name appearing regularly.
His perfect knowledge in English made him stand tall. He used his talent not only to teach at all levels but also to undertake professional assignments like copywriting, copyediting, writing for tourist brochures and secretarial work. He had a penchant to pick out grammatical errors in book reviews authored by some well-known names and pinpointed these flaws writing articles to the papers. He was very particular of sentence structures, grammar usage and syntax. He was in his element when he pointed out these shortcomings.
Being a businessman, I was hunting for an expert tutor to polish my English in communication and writing. When I met him for the first time, he put to rest my concern and uneasiness. He welcomed me warmly and spoke kindly with a lot of camaraderie. What a generous Sir he was finetuned to impart and instruct. His amiable ways to all, laced with a humane touch made us adults comfortable and confident; enabling them to ask questions sans inhibitions. That was what he wanted. He revelled in his explanations. He would even resort to Sinhala as a meaning conveying device. These fine teaching techniques endeared our Sir to all who sought his expertise and services.
In the class there were young professionals – lawyers, accountants, executives, managers, etc. who benefitted from his systematic and methodical explanations. His classes proved immensely popular among school leavers, students from local and international schools who sat for London and Cambridge exams. It was through word of mouth that students sought his services. He proved his loyalty and dedication to all his charges, most of whom achieved outstanding results.
I too was yearning to improve my English. The result was that he guided me in such a way that I was able to gain confidence. His outstanding trait was gauging one’s shortcomings and repairing those weak points. I have never come across a person who was such a fine motivator. His encouraging words, warmth and understanding nature, simple approach made our Sir an excellent mentor. His precious life was cut short by the Divine command depriving many of his pupils his sterling services and the readers of his interesting and popular stories which made his name familiar as a fine creative writer.
He has passed through this earthly life as a law-abiding citizen, adhering to strict principles with a sense of responsibility towards his family and society. My beloved A. F. Dawood Sir has gone to his eternal rest. I deeply mourn his irreplaceable loss and will carry cherished memories in my heart of this honest gentleman. May Allah bless you Sir! May your soul rest in peace!