During my pre- degree years, I became friends with my bench mates, but there were others in class who also caught my eye and gradually we became friends. Sreekumari, Rafia and Asha. They seemed to know each other well, especially as they all lived in Kollam, near each other and Sree and Asha went to the same school.
Asha’s mum and dad were the respective Principals of the women’s and men’s Sree Narayana Colleges and to us Asha was the Chelsea Clinton of our days. A very bright, intelligent and pretty girl, who was equally hard working, with famous parents. At the end of our final year Asha came top and I second for the science subjects. I think that must have been the last time I almost reached Asha’s heights. If it wasn’t for Mukundan sir’s tuition classes I wouldn’t have had a hope in hell of even getting that far.
During the school summer months Asha joined a home science course to improve her culinary skills and she invited me to her house one day to practise her new recipes on me. Asha could have chosen any of her many friends for this and yet she invited me and I was surprised and chuffed to bits in equal measures. I remember going to Asha’s house with my little brother. I couldn’t remember what the feast consisted off, but my brother who must have been only 4 at the time remembers it well. He tells me that it was noodles and was very tasty. I remember being very impressed because I was a pathetic cook and could hardly boil an egg properly in those days.
Rafia, Sreekumari, Asha and I, all got admission to the same medical school and we all stayed at the women’s hostel in Trivandrum for the next five years of our lives and became good friends in the process.
When we joined the medical school, there were not that many buildings in our campus, but one stood out prominently ‘The Sree Chitra Thirunal institute of science and technology’. It was still in its early stages of development. It was one building that as medical students we didn’t have access to and something we looked upon as only the great and the good could become part of.
I do not know if in those days Asha dreamt of being the first female Director of this great institute, but through her sheer hard work, dedication and determination she has been able to achieve exactly that. Once Asha puts her heart and soul into something, there is nothing that will stop her and she will be able to achieve all that she ever wishes for, for the Institute and for the population it serves. We, her friends are extremely proud of our little friend who was not afraid to dream big and hope she doesn’t mind us soaking in the glory of her achievements.