My schoolmates have started a WhatsApp group and every now and then we wish a teacher a happy birthday, and in doing so realize how they played an important role in our lives. Till last year, a ninety-six-year old teacher of mine, called me practically every month, just to say hello to me. She passed away a couple of months ago. After she died, and I started missing her calls, I realized how so often we forget to take time to thank people who are important, and have played big roles in our lives.

A man I knew once reflected upon the great number of un-thanked people in his life. Those who had helped nurture him, inspire him or who cared enough about him to leave a lasting impression.

One was a schoolteacher he'd not heard of in many years. But he remembered that she had gone out of her way to put a love of verse in him, and Mohan had loved poetry all his life. He wrote a letter of thanks to her.

The reply he received, written in the feeble scrawl of the aged, began, "My dear Mohan." He was delighted. Now over 50, bald and a professor, he didn't think there was a person left in the world who would call him "Mohan." Here is that letter:

"My dear Mohan,

I cannot tell you how much your note meant to me. I am in my eighties, living alone in a small room, cooking my own meals, lonely and, like the last leaf of autumn, lingering behind. You will be interested to know that I taught school for 50 years and yours is the first note of appreciation I ever received. It came on a blue-cold morning and it cheered me as nothing has in many years."

Not prone to cry easily, Mohan wept over that note. She was one of the great un-thanked people from his past. You know them. We all do. The teacher who made a difference. That PT master we'll never forget. The music instructor, or Sunday school worker who helped us to believe in ourselves. That scout leader who cared.

We all remember people who shaped our lives in various ways. People whose influence changed us. My friend found a way to show his appreciation – he wrote them letters.

Who are some of the un-thanked people from your past?

It would come as a surprise to you to find out later that nobody has thanked them: The driver who took you to school, the ayah who ironed your uniform, the nurse at the hospital who cared for you while you were petrified!

You’ve taken them for granted all these years. Never had time to be grateful for the times they helped you, now is the time to do it:

A note to sir, with love..!"

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