While spending an afternoon in Auroville I ducked into a shop for some tea tree oil. I came around a corner in the store upon a local woman I know. She was sitting on a grass mat, under a fan, with another employee, resting while waiting for customers. She saw me and we rushed towards each other in slow motion with smiles and hugs.
Suba used to be the receptionist in the local health center. During my first 4 months in India I had every serious illness one can get in this area starting with salmonella poisoning and progressing to typhoid fever, amoebas in my stomach, and eventually dengue fever. I got to know Suba very well. She saw me at my worst. She carried me from her desk to a place to lie down while waiting for the doctor on several occasions.
One day, the local taxi driver’s son, with whom I’ve become good friends, drove me to the health center. He formally introduced me to Suba, having gone to school with her for many years. Since then I’ve visited the health center numerous times to purchase bandaids and rehydration salts from the pharmacy. Suba would joke with me that I needed to come home with her so her mom could feed me to make me fat. We developed a lovely relationship and we were always so glad to chat and catch up, with her commenting, more and more frequently, on how healthy I looked.
RecentlyI went to the health center with my list of supplies and Suba was not there. I stared at the new receptionist incredulously, demanding information. Auroville is a small town, but what if I never saw Suba again! Yesterday, bumping into her in the boutique made me realize and appreciate the wonderful relationships I’ve developed with local Indians, the Tamil people.