I was in my penultimate year in the university when I first met Jamal. He was seconded from the Police Academy’s medical college in an exchange programme.
For a policeman, you’d expect a strong, tall and huge build – Jamal was the exact opposite. It must be why he was pushed into medicals, I thought, I couldn’t imagine him in combat or chase.
Despite the gross difference in age and the fact that I had gone 6 years in the school without him, we connected well.
The school’s foremost Professor of Surgery was known by all students to be eccentric. He was avoided like a plague, in fact some students missed his classes on purpose just so they’ll never be within 10 square meters with him! Jamal had run late for Professor’s class one morning, he had to make his exchange programme official by signing some final papers. He, not knowing Professor Ade’s pedigree walked straight into his lecture 20 minutes after he had begun, hoping to explain himself.
After about what seemed centuries of staring in the background of a loud silence that fell on the auditorium the moment Jamal walked in, the Professor asked Jamal to leave and never return. In his words, “because you resemble a demon, you think you can just appear and disappear into my class? Your invisibility is a delusion, I cast you out of this class forever into the deep blue sea!”
Having had one of such encounters myself with the Professor, I knew there would be more. I had appeared in an oral examination where he welcomed me with a mischievous smile, stared at me the whole 10 minutes and spoke only when the bell rang, “Bye, see you for the resit in 3 months”, he said.
Jamal failed the finals and had to write a resit 3 months afterwards, which he passed after petitioning the college about victimisation.
While I worked as an intern, I was not so lucky with my postings as the very last rotation where I had hoped to relax landed me in Professor Ade’s unit. Our unit had a patient who suffered gross disability due to a mistake from one of my bosses while we operated. Professor Ade, being the consultant in charge of the case, had to appear in court after receiving a lawsuit. We followed in solidarity. The prosecuting counsel called out a medical personnel as witness, it turned out to be Jamal. In the end, the verdict was relaxed and Professor Ade had to pay a fine, with Jamal’s help.
After the court proceedings, the Professor thanked Jamal, and for the first time listened to Jamal’s reason for arriving late to his class. Professor’s face remained expressionless while he listened, he did not as much as say a sorry or apologise, he just left.
It’s been 5 years since my intern year and 6 since graduation; history has it that Jamal was the last student Professor Ade ever failed. In fact, students fasted to have Professor Ade on their examination panel after that year.