Manveen Sandhu and Shivinder Sandhu: A Student’s Tribute (part 2)

suddenly, after you left,
floodgates opened
from four directions
the seas of your kind deeds —
many known, many unknown before —
mingle with tears of your memories.

life is what but a whisper of leaves,
deep in the woods of destiny.
We men can light light lamps,
but what might is a flickering flame
in front of winds of Time
that can fan or blow it out, at Will.

Thousands of people from all walks of life gathered to pay their last respects to the couple that left an indelible mark on culture, education, history and social uplift — Mrs. Manveen Sandhu and Dr. Shivinder Sandhu. People from Lahore were just as sad as people in Amritsar. The bridge of international, inter-cultural friendship lost two of its strongest pillars.

I knew Mrs. Manveen Sandhu as the principal of the school that I studied in. Like so many of my fellow schoolmates, I’ve felt eternally grateful for the impact that Manveen ma’am had on our lives. Even years after we graduated from school, we could call her up to ask her advise on any issue. She was a teacher, a friend, a mentor, an inspiration.

The sudden demise has left a town in shock. Every day, new stories of the great things they did are coming out. Their influence in social work, history, Indo-Pak friendship, culture, drama and education has had a great impact on Punjabiyat and beyond.

My memories of Manveen ma’am are one of life’s greatest treasures. Spending time late evenings to practice for the upcoming light-and-sound show, brainstorming about themes for the Spicmacay convention, hearing her speak about the wisdom in our culture, discussing about life, education… suffice it to say that she was the greatest person I have ever known. And she has had similar impact on uncountable lives, which is why the recent news has shocked so many of her students as if they lost a parent.

During our last conversation, I called up to ask ma’am about her inner drive that made her almost a perfectionist. After achieving so much (the best school in the state, the social work, the wealth, the international recognition), I wanted to know what kept her motivated. She simply said that she was always enthusiastic about learning something new, and wanted everything attached to her name to be a work of her best efforts. Notes from my journal:

27 Nov, 2008

Had a wonderful conversation with Manveen ma’am today afternoon. Want to keep a note of important points.

1. Root out mediocrity — everything associated with my name (work, assignment, relations) should be of the highest possible standard.

2. Always ask yourself — what am I about? what do I stand for?

3. Focus — single-mindedly for the next 10-15 years, get to a position where you can be an agent of positive change. do not be scared of getting in to the rat-race, get in to it if it helps you reach where you want to be.

4. Don’t just learn, but apply things that you learn during your experiences. Books, people, experiences — note 1 0r 2 important lessons and ask : how can I apply this to my life?

5. Exercise and maintain good health

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I am thankful, beyond words can express…
I admire and respect, beyond words can express…