What a fine lovely morning in the month of March! As I appreciated the beautiful flowers in the garden outside my classroom at college, I saw my friend, Neerja walking slowly towards me, lost in her own thoughts…. Is something bothering her? I thought to myself. She entered silently and sat on the chair next to me.
“Hi Neerja, what’s up? Everything alright?”
“Ya”, she gave a faint smile.
“Are you sure?” I asked again.
“Yes, of course, just worried about my mother’s health, you know she has not been keeping too well.
“Did you get her check up done at the R.K. Hospital I told you about?”
“No dear, I could not.”
As the bell rang, the professor entered the classroom and we all settled in our chairs. I kept on thinking about Neerja and the reason behind her changed attitude today. Why is her family not taking her mother to the doctor?
Suddenly, I heard my name. The professor was asking me to critically analyse a stanza from W.B. Yeats poetry. I was all lost….
I was busy observing my friend while the professor went on explaining the poem. She kept on putting her hand in her purse and taking it out. As the bell rang, both of us proceeded towards the canteen. I observed a huge line in front of the office. “What’s happening there”, I asked Neerja.
As she touched her purse for the nth time, she said, “Today is the last day of fee-submission.”
I have always had a very happy and secure childhood, unaware of facts of life. Submission of fees and its date were never on my mind, as it was my parent’s duty to do it.
I again asked Neeja, “Are you going to tell me what’s bothering you?”
“My life is in a complete mess,” as she said this, tears rolled down her eyes.
I was unable to understand the sudden outburst but I let her cry for a while and held her hand tight. “Probably she is going through a tough time,” I said to myself.
Gathering herself, she wiped her tears and said, “Today might be my last day with you in this college. I have no money to pay my fees, my dad has lost his job, my mother is unwell and we are broke. I think I will have to leave my studies and earn a living for my family.
Neerja, a sincere and hardworking girl was always cheerful. Our friendship was just two months old and we hadn’t met our respective families yet. Our friendship was still developing. Neerja’s outburst today was a step further in strengthening the bond of our friendship.
She wiped her tears and apologized for breaking down in this manner in front of me.
I went and sat next to her and said, “We are friends and one can share and discuss anything with a friend.”
“Yes,” she said.
“Give me a minute, “I said as I quickly dialled a number on my mobile.
Moving away I called my Father,”Dad….”
Neerja was still sobbing.
I came back to her and said, “My dear friend, congratulations you have been appointed as a tuition teacher for my naughty little brother who is in class 8 with two months’ salary in advance. You may now pay your fees happily and need not think about leaving your studies.”
She looked at me in amazement, “What do you mean by that?”
I spoke to my dad right now and told him about you and he said he is sending someone from his office with an advance salary of two months. Also, he said he knows someone at the All India Medical Hospital, and said he would be sending me his number. When you go there you can contact that person and he will help you in meeting the specialist required for your mother’s disease.
Neerja looked at me in awe. She hugged me hard and said, “I have no words to say how thankful I am for what you and your family have done for me today. Me my folks will always be indebted to you for your kind gesture.”
“Bas bas bas, if you want you can repay me right now.”
“Yes, please tell me dear, what can I do for you?” she said.
“I am going to ask from you for a big favour Neerja”, I said.
“I don’t get you dear, how can I be of any help to you?” she wondered.
“You have to promise me that you will bring home-made rasam and idli- sambhar for me tomorrow.”
She hugged me tight and I could see tears of happiness rolling down her eyes.
“I promise I would get south Indian food for you every day, till you get tired of eating it!!” she said.
Hand-in-hand , we happily moved towards our class.
As I sat on my study table noting down the day’s happenings, I felt a strange satisfaction and happiness in my heart… I composed a small poem on our friendship…
Till death make us part
You will always be in my heart
Our friendship is here to stay
Nothing will ever take it away….
I soon dozed off to sleep ……..
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