It was the fall of 2006 when we were relocating from Japan back to India. We decided to take a break in Singapore for 3 days before we get busy with unpacking and settling down in a new city in India. The first day was reaching Singapore and doing a bit of shopping on Orchard road. The next two days were filled with sightseeing and other tourist activities. We started after breakfast to Sentosa Island.

It was a hot day, after all the fun activities and clicking a lot of pictures with the iconic Merlion we were at the exit gift shop. It was nice and cool inside the air conditioned shop after the day spent in the heat. I was looking through a row of magnets and souvenirs when I heard a voice. The familiarity of the language and lingo attracted me to notice the couple. They were an Indian young couple too and just like us were looking at souvenirs. I could guess that they were also a Punjabi/Delhi family visiting Singapore. They also noticed me and we exchanged smiles. As her husband turned to make the payment I noticed his backpack which had the name of company where my husband was working for at that time. I pulled my husband to talk to them. Those of you who have stayed outside your home country will understand the feeling of noticing your own people and making an effort to strike a conversation.

That conversation lasted for more than an hour in the gift shop, as they both worked for the same company and coming from similar background too. Me and his wife had an instant connection. We parted ways to meet for the dinner on the same night. During dinner time as well we had so many things to talk about and they offered us their guidance on settling in a new city. Fast forward it’s been more than 15 years and we are still best of friends, our kids and families know the kind of bond we share.

This friendship always reminds me that: 

1. A chance encounter with a stranger can become a life long association.

2. Your energies reach before your words.

3. Have the courage to reach out and build connections.

4. Some friends may be miles apart and not messaging each other even on birthdays but they are there when you need them the most.

5. We must have met each other only 10 to 12 times in all these years but the meetings are always full of joy and laughter.

Our running into each other was merely a chance, our building relationships with each other was an effort and our confidence that we are there for each other is a blessing.