I learnt what patience means when I got to know her. She taught me how one can be devoted and live life to the fullest. A very humble person and an ordinary woman for world, but for me she is my first friend after my marriage. I met her some more than 15 years ago. I was newly married and had shifted from the metropolitan city Ahmedabad to Baroda. It was a new experience of living in a new city amidst complete strangers, including my husband and in-laws.
I took up a job in the mortgage department with a multinational bank wherein I had to deal with numerous clients, builders and co-ordinate with lawyers and technicians. She, at that time, was working as customer care executive with one such renowned builder. We had been talking regularly regarding documents for a couple of months. Finally, after much delay, our meeting was fixed one day. By that time I knew her by her name and her melodious voice, all because of our telephonic conversations.
One afternoon during peak summers, I was waiting for her at her office. When she walked towards me, I saw her for the very first time and was completely amazed to see her ‘aura’. She was indeed as beautiful as her name ‘Manisha’! She was much polite and listened to all the queries patiently and helped resolve them.
Though she is an introvert by nature, but we gradually became friends. As time went and I started knowing her, I came to know that she is elder to me by age and experience. She lived in a vast joint family with her parents and siblings.
She had dreams like any other Indian girl and wanted to pursue them. But I guess God had other plans for her. With so much struggle and compromise in her personal as well as professional life, I have seen her shattered and broken but never once did I see her complaining or giving up. I felt there’s a turmoil inside her but she maintained her calm and composure. No one, including the people who lived with her, was aware of her struggle. She lost her job a couple of times but her spirit always stayed high.
She became my first mentor after my marriage. At that time mobile phones were luxury and not affordable and there were no features like free incoming and outgoing messages, Internet and WhatsApp. We use to communicate through letters and STD calls. She became my light in darkness. She is the one always there for her family and friends but I hardly know anyone solely there for her!
It was one fine morning in 2004, I had just reached office and got a call on my landline. The conversation left me in a shock and before I could gather my sense, the receiver had dropped from my hands. The call was from Manisha’s friend who said she had met with an accident and was admitted to hospital. After collecting the address of the hospital, I rushed to be near Manisha. When I entered her room, I was shocked and shattered to see her condition. She was badly injured and had multiple fractures in her hand and leg. There were bandages all over, especially on her head. Her face and eyes were completely swollen.
I came to know she met with an accident previous night and was rushed to hospital with an emergency ward of the hospital. The doctors had already performed the operation to save her life as she had suffered a major injury in head.
It’s the worst experience of life to see the person you love, adore and respect, lying in the bed of hospital with bandages all over her body. Everyone from her family were around her. I started praying for her speedy recovery and waited impatiently for her to open her eyes. It was the toughest time of my life. Doctors had told she will be admitted for around 15 days followed by complete bed rest for two months.
Finally she opened her eyes by mid-afternoon and the first thing she did was smiled and thank God for saving her life. I was amazed to see her this gesture. She gave us the courage to fight with the situation assuring us that this time will pass soon and everything will be alright. She had the strongest will power and that day I learned the lesson from her that no matter what, never give up with your confidence, will-power and determination. Face everything in life with positivity and smile and surely you will conquer everything. It took few months for her to recover completely and few years for her scars to vanish.
But as said, life goes on. I left India, in 2006. And despite the vast geographical distance between us, our friendship grew stronger with each passing year. With her, I have the best memories of my life – the fights and debates, the laughter and celebrations, our shopping sprees and movie sessions. Even today our morning starts by giving each other missed calls, which means ‘Good Morning’. It’s been 14 years now since we started this ritual of our friendship, growing stronger with each passing day.
Thanks to advance technology and gadgets now, which are helping us to stay in touch despite miles apart. Looking forward for the next visit to meet her and hope to celebrate our friendship.