Wednesday, December 10, 2008
My long-time student Papapao referred to me a schoolmate who is a teammate of his girlfriend Sari. The schoolmate asked if we could meet over the weekend at a café along Katipunan, to which I agreed. One never knows how destiny follows its designs; what one expects as a casual meeting turns out to be something that’s bound to change one’s life forever.
Contacting me was a different story altogether. After just having met me toward the end of the previous semester, Papapao would have his phone inadvertently busted, in the process losing the phone memory. He had to contact my other student Jel to ask if I changed digits; Jel informed me so I reached Papapao right away. He told me the case of the schoolmate who needed his thesis edited.
And he was there, inviting me to come over to his table. Flashing his pearly-whites, he laid down his problem. He went on and on in flawless English, discussing his objectives, describing his theoretical framework. I readily understood what his work is—it is tangential to my favorite discourse on giving voice to the marginalized—so I had ample time to profile him. His facial hair, his wavy crowning glory, his mestizo features—all these invoked the tender poetry of Neruda. It was with great effort that I restrained myself from stopping him from enumerating his survey respondents’ collated answers so I could recite “Ode to a Lemon.” I would later learn that he appeared here, here and here.
Indeed, life has a strange way of throwing people into each other’s path. One meets an inspiration at some regular crossroads, and while the object does not even have inkling that he has launched focused group discussions, dramatic biscuit sales increase or blogposts, the subject begins to live a life that has entirely altered its dreary course.