2002 . I was in my 3rd year engineering and we had this internet cafe at our college, which was free for students. We could research, browse, chat. I was once chatting on yahoo and chanced upon talking to one guy who said he was from Tirchy. Little did I know that a few minutes of chat would earn me a wonderful friend – we exchanged e-mail id’s as we signed off. As time flew by we wrote e-mails to each other. I kept my mom and dad updated that I had this new friend who I found on chat and we were writing to each other. I now understand how alienated my parents would have felt with me having a friend I haven’t even seen, that too through the internet.
He had introduced himself as Sethu. His dad had passed away. His sister was married and she had a little son. His mom was taking care of the family. Over time we e-mailed each other frequently and kept ourselves updated about each other’s life. I graduated, joined an embedded systems course and later started working at a Semiconductor firm. Sethu completed his education and was in Hyderabad for work, he later moved to Mumbai. He was with one of the large IT firms of India. He was a wonderful friend. Seemed like we had known each other for years, but no. We hadn’t even met each other, but it was mutual affection and a pure friendship. A very decent chap, not one bit of harmless flirtation or bad thoughts, as is expected of most online chat meet ups.
It was Feb 02′ 2006, the day of my wedding. J and I were on the stage at my wedding reception. We introduced our guests to each other as they wished us on stage. J introduced his friends , his relatives and vice versa. There was this guy in the queue waiting to wish us with a gift in hand. As he approached us, I was waiting for J to introduce him and J was staring at me expecting me to introduce the guy. After a minute of causing confusion between the newly wed’s , he introduces himself as Sethu, my pen friend.
I was dumbstruck , In awe…ohhh I’m running short of words on how to explain how I felt. After 4-yrs of mailing each other – I was seeing him for the first time. I hadn’t even seen a picture of his. He had decided to surprise me on stage on my wedding day. He travelled all the way from Hyderabad , just to attend my wedding. J was excited to know that I had a pen friend too, who’d come all the way to attend my wedding and surprise me. He had bought me a box of laughing Budda’s as wedding gift, which I treasure.
He is now married. Married to the girl who whose was chosen by his mom.
I do remember all his mails were signed off with an :”Yours affectionately”
It is unique, how in a life so complicated you run across such wonderful people in the least expected ways and situations.
I treasure his friendship.