There was nothing unusual about him recently. He was his usual self: having breakfast at the warung lalat near the campus, sauntered to class and cracked witty jokes with his colleagues. I frequently saw him because his office is right in front of mine, so the sight of him going in and out of his office was quite common.
So I was really surprised when Mr. James told me that he had passed away in Hospital Segamat at 2.45 pm (this afternoon) due to a sudden heart attack. I was in LT1 during that time, teaching an argumentative essay to JBM1122A; and afterwards I hurried to my office and bumped into Mr. James, who broke the news to me. And I took quite some time to absorb that piece of information.
We just had a department meeting yesterday. And afterwards, everybody feasted on the sumptuous lunch provided. And he was there too. He looked well. Jolly. He didn't look sick at all. Little did we know that he will depart from this world so soon.
A lot of UiTM staff had shown up at the deceased's residence in Kg. Kuala Paya to pay their last respects this evening. Tears welled up on the faces of female colleagues and everybody was in a solemn mood. I managed to see his familiar face one last time and dutifully helped as the body was carried from the van into the gaping hole in the graveyard. It was the least I could do to my office neighbour and dear colleague.
Al-Fatihah to beloved colleague, Md. Ikram bin Mahadzir.
Update: Our department representative (consisting of Kak Hani, Kak Ati, Farhana, Ida and me) went to visit the deceased's family on January 10th and Kak Hani personally handed our department's contributions to the deceased's wife. We all know that it's not much, but hopefully it would help lessen their burden.