Through the course of our lives we are taught by many teachers but very rarely do we come across one who completely changes our outlook, who becomes the proverbial 'Friend, Philosopher and Guide'. Professor Wilson Mackaden was one such teacher. Every single student and teacher we approached to get quotes for this article said almost the same thing about him - he was joy personified, a moment in his presence was enough to lift your spirits, no matter how low you were.
Professor Mackaden was born in Belgaum in Karnataka in 1933, he came to Kozhikode in 1963 to join Malabar Christian College as a lecturer. He retired from the college as the head of the English Department. Retirement was not his cup of tea though and soon he joined the MES College. We had the good luck of having him in our campus as a part of the Centre of Excellence.
Following are a few quotes collected from Professors and students close to him:
"Always cheerful in his disposition, he made everyone who interacted with him feel good and happy. With his sad demise, the IIMK PGP has lost a trusted well wisher and an inspiring teacher."
Professor R. Pillai:
"Prof Mackaden was the embodiment of selfless service. He was a man of immense energy for whom age was never a limiting factor. His humble nature appealed to everyone. He will be sorely missed by all."
Professor K. K. Ramesh:
"Prof. Mackaden had an aura of positive energy around him. My first interaction with him was when I started teaching at IIM Kozhikode and this very meeting influenced my own perspective towards life. It filled me with enthusiasm and cheer. His characteristic style of greeting everyone, including his students, with a joyful 'Hi!' is still fresh in my memory. Prof. Mackaden was a person of great humility and he will be dearly missed by everyone who came in touch with him."
"Prof Mackaden, the name somehow still fills me with energy. Although old his energy put us twenty somethings to shame. His love for teaching and students was so evident in his classes. He always had a joke to tell and a smile to share. Professor Mackaden you are missed Sir."
"Professor Mackaden had an amazing perkiness and joie de vivre which were immensely contagious. He was more active than people half his age. His amazing enthusiasm and energy couldn't be rivalled, even by his students. His stories were interesting and even though he belonged to the old school in terms of his emphasis on grammar and pronunciation, his classes were never boring. All of us looked forward to his classes, especially because in the thick of the IIM grind his classes were a welcome break from the usual and they kind of recharged you. I fondly remember a presentation I gave on culture, which stretched on for more than an hour, but Prof. Mack didn't say a thing. He was very witty, even outside the class. His conversation was usually sprinkled with insightful experiences ranging from his boating hobby (memories of the Calicut Boat Club) to Jiddu Krishnamurti's philosophy and the time he had spent studying under him personally. "
His colleagues and students really miss him and I'm sure PGP11 reading this article, would feel they missed a great teacher...