We are friends on the net since 2008 but had never met face to face, though we are living in the same country but 1200 km far from each other. I in-boxed ‘Sumathi Mohan’ my old-time redroom.com writer friend about our visit to her city. To my dismay, she told me that she has been shifted to the other southern city with her husband since couple of years. But my disappointment transferred in to delight when I learned that at the same time she is supposed to come there to visit her son.
‘I will be glad if we can meet.’ She told me on the phone.’
‘We will meet for the sure.’ I replied, though I was not knowing if it would be possible in such a tight schedule of my five day tour.
To my shock, I learned at the ending part of my tour that she arrived in the city, but had a small accident resulting a fracture in the thumb. ‘Doctor says it will only be possible to fix it after the swelling goes away.’ She sounded pained and disappointed over the phone.
‘We must meet her,’ my wife said ‘you never know when you will get a chance again to meet her.’ To give a try I decided to meet her during the last four hours before my return flight. There was a heavy weekday traffic in the pick-time morning hours. After a couple of call exchanges to get true directions we reached at her son’s apartment.
‘Listen carefully, Sir, come back in 45 minutes or you will miss your flight, airport is 36 km from here.’ Cab driver warned us. I nodded to him in an affirmation.
We went upstairs by lift. As soon as I stepped onto the balcony she hurriedly emerged from the door to welcome us. She was smaller in height than I imagined. We hugged each other, there was the warmth of sisterly love in her hug. She hugged my wife and daughter too. We went inside and she introduced us with her son, and would be daughter in law. She looked stressed and fragile, but her face was glowing with high intellect and confidence. As a doctor I couldn’t resist myself by examining her thumb. I also checked X-ray which clearly showed a detached fracture of the first phalanx of the thumb. Her doctor planned to give her a flexible plaster after two days. I knew she was in pain, but was helpless to help her.
'Had it not been for my broken thumb I would have cooked a delicious south Indian dish for all of you.' She regretted. 'Don't feel sorry, meeting you is more valued to us.'I tried to console her.
We talked over a coffee, mainly about our redroom time, about her published book and about the progress of my novel. Time was slipping like a water of the fast flowing river. We took photographs. Exchanging multiple thoughts in so little time was impossible, but we tried to do our best possible. Her son and daughter in law were very generous and loving. I gathered that she is a brave lady living her life on her own, a loving wife and caring mother. While leaving, she came downwards up to the cab to say good-bye forgetting the pain. She shook our hands through the window of the car for the last time, a gesture only a loving friend can display. I am feeling proud meeting her, knowing her, having her as a friend. Thank you Sumathi for allowing us to be in your life to cherish those valuable moments. I wish you a fast recovery, health and happiness.