The Man From Myanmar

What The The Man From Myanmar Gave Me

I was clearing up some old stuffs when I came across this today. This is very small, about 3 inches long by 1 inch wide, and as it is easy to lose it, I would like to record what this means to me.

Almost 30 years ago, I received an important phone call from the office. I was then an articled accounting student working in a CPA’s firm. I was on leave that day, having worked all night at a client’s office. The call was from a Manager at the firm informing me that I had passed my exams – against all odds and expectations.

Against all odds and expectations were the words. I could not believe the news, did not rejoice, and in the stoical and prudent manner of accountants, told the Manager that I would not only wait for the official results in writing but I also doubted the correctness of the preliminary list of results received by the firm.

However, if the news were correct, it would change my life forever.

While I was talking on the phone, a small, dark and wiry man appeared at the door. After putting down the phone I walked over to him. He gave me this piece of a phrase from the Holy Quran.

I gave him fifty bucks in return, which at the time was about 10 percent of my meagre monthly stipends, in view of the oddness that he should turn up exactly at the time I received the unexpected good news.

The man would come by my house again and again, every now and then. Most of the time when he came, I would not be home. He would leave similar verses from the Quran for me on each visit, despite the fact that I had stopped paying him.

One day, he came over while I was at home. We spoke about my eldest and only child then, whose name took after Jesus’ mother, Maryam. When the man heard the the name, he immediately broke down and cried uncontrollably.

He had a daughter named Maryam too. Had. She was gunned down in his village in Myanmar, before he migrated here.


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