A Reason to Smile


A Reason to SmilePhoto bygoogle

My friend and neighbour Sujata was the average, God fearing, conscientious housewife, whose life revolved around her home, husband and children. Our lives moved along parallel paths; our children werre of similar ages, both our husbands worked in the textile trade, we both fasted on Tuesdays, and went regularly to the temple. The only difference was our luck in household help! Mine came and went with irritating regularity, whereas Sujata's old-timer Anandibai had been with her for years! I envied the relationship between the two: Anandibai cared for Sujata's home and children like her own and Sujata ensured that Anandi's Ram was fed, clothed and educated. When Ram made it to the SSC merit list, Sujata made the laddoos with her own hands!

Our paths diverged when Sujata's family migrated to the UA. I met her again after a gap of fifiteen years, in a clinic in Houston. She had cancer, and I dreaded visiting her and seeing her pain. Yet I had to.

I walked in expecting to see a shadow of her former self, but was delighted to find her cheerful and smiling. I hugged her and told her she looked great. 'The bald and the beautiful.' she quipped, referring to her obvious hair loss. I marvelled at her courage in the face of such adversity and was telling her as much when her doctor walked in.

'Well here is the reason for my faith and courage,' said Sujata, signalling towards the young man. 'He loves me too much to let me go!'

The doctor smiled at Sujata. 'You are partying again!' he joked, and turned his gaze to me. Before I knew it, he had crossed the room and was touching my feet.

Sujata laughed gaily, seeing my utter confusion. She finally decided to dispel my confusion, 'I am pleased to introduce you to the brightest oncologist in Houston, Texas, Dr Ram Chitale!'

I felt goosebumps as I embraced the young doctor. Anandibai son had come a long way.

Sujata certainly had reason to smile!

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