In 2009, I took a short sabbatical and visited South Africa to learn wildlife film-making. This was the first time I’d been out of county for so long. I was excited because I knew that I’m going to meet many students from different countries and befriend most of them.
We were a batch of 10; all from different countries. One of the first friends I made was Anaïs Claessens from the land of chocolates — Belgium.
She was quite friendly and we became good friends eventually. I still remember her smile; the whole batch was behind her, I guess. She was a heartthrob of the class and an extremely intelligent and swift student.
She told me stories from the land, her country. And in return, I told her about India. She also told about the cars her father had, her farm and her horse. I was so damn excited as all this is a luxury in India; that only a handful can possess.
Time passed by, we’d to depart. We’re not in touch other than on Facebook. Neither she nor I’ve got the resources to visit each other’s country. But hope is still living inside our hearts. I’d eaten Belgian chocolates but I had never met anyone from Belgium before.
Anaïs has made a deep imprint on my heart. Her kindness, politeness, compassion, smile, and sweetness stills run in my mind. I pray to the universe, and its creator, that we meet as soon as possible to share her sweetness; my country needs it more than ever.