My first real conversation with my friend Archana occurred during a birthday celebration at work. We were all seated around the conference table, celebrating Ben’s birthday, discussing food. My office takes food seriously. There are some peculiar eaters in our office, however Archana and I easily found common ground when we agreed on our favorite local Indian restaurant.
I enjoy Indian food and because I rarely make it for myself at home, I try to eat it out at restaurants whenever possible. Archana is originally from India so I was pretty certain any restaurant she liked would be a safe bet for a good meal. It took us several months before we managed to meet at that restaurant for a meal. When we did gather, I took advantage of her knowledge and tried new dishes I would not normally select. It was a trip across the world with Archana as my tour guide, all while seated at the table in upstate New York. We talked about spices and her memories of family members making similar foods. I asked questions which she answered over nan, chicken vindaloo, lamb rogan josh, and baingan chettinadu.
On the surface, Archana may appear to be different from my other friends. She is quiet and reserved, and often observes those around her before making herself part of the action. But while she may appear quiet, I have learned she enjoys a good practical joke. And because she is sometimes more reserved, people are sometimes surprised by her dry wit and humor.
Archana and I both live a half hour away from Saratoga Race Course, but until this past summer she had never gone. I have invited her to join me a couple of times, mentioning the great people watching. Each time I brought up the track, she was either busy or out of town. Finally in August we were both able to go on the same weekend. We had fun watching the crowds, walking the grounds, and Archana even picked a winner on the first race she watched. At the end of the day, she agreed it was one of the best places for people watching.
Archana is kind and considerate. Whenever I put out a call for help on social media due to a gap in my personal care schedule, she always sends a note asking if there is anything I need. If I am absent from work, she checks on me to see if I am alright or if I need her to bring me anything. When I mentioned possibly moving to a new apartment, Archana asked me where I wanted to live and then sent me apartment listings as she found them. For four weeks. And when I started my fundraising last year for my trip to Australia, Archana was the first person to make a donation.
Archana – thank you for always making sure I am doing well, for sending notes of concern and for taking time to help when I ask. I appreciate your humor and I know when we are together your wit will make me laugh. I am grateful for your assistance making my trip a reality. I am glad to have you as a faithful friend.