Since my tender childhood, many were those who inspired me. But if I had to tell who inspired me the most, I would say it was my father.
My father, a diplomat working for the Government of Mauritius, was the person I knew the most after my mother. He was a middle-sized man, short haired and clean shaven, having a serious but serene face upon which were painted two burning, piercing eyes topped by two dark, thick eyebrows between which was a long, crooked nose under which a tight-lipped mouth was drawn. At the end of his muscular arms were two rugged hands and in contact with the ground were two thick-skinned feet, harmoniously shaped by walking barefooted on the streets during his childhood.
My father is a strong follower of the proverb: “Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” If he ever found anyone staying up late in the night, he would become red of anger. No hint of anger would ever show in his voice or manners, but you could feel the two glinting eyes staring at you, tearing through your flesh….
In the morning, you would be nudged by his strong hand, his gentle voice soothing the sudden alertness grasping you, with the call to prayer during which, one better not intend to fall asleep. He would then begin the recitation of the Quran until the sun pinned at the horizon.
He would then close the Holy Book and place it back on its shelf with utmost respect. Thereafter, he would retrieve to his room for a little rest before proceeding to his office for a hard day’s work. But before he could put a foot into his bed, I would appear, asking him to help me with my homework, begging him in my heart, not to let me down. He would sigh deeply, and with an air of resignation, say: “Show me your problem, quick!” I would hurry to my room, gather my stuff and pile it all up on the table, creaking under the weight. I would then unveil a colossal amount of difficult questions that seemed improbable to solve.
However, my dad would not give up. Rather, he would patiently try to address each challenge until he is satisfied with his comprehension. Then he would dictate me the answer; a whole paragraph half a page in length, filled with words I never heard of before.
When he finally finished helping me, it would be time for school. I did not rest nor did he, but he would not complain about anything. Instead, he would open the gate when the driver arrives to pick me and drop me at school.