Pearl Goleman. Yes, Pearl Goleman…that’s the alias I suggested her.
It was my first job as a corporate trainer in a BPO. I was in a graveyard shift which used to begin at 12.30 am. In my first batch I met Poonam Dhaliwal. It was year 2004. She joined the company as a Call Center Executive, like the rest of the executives but she was different from others. She had a spark in her eyes that set her apart. She had a deep resonating voice which echoed experience and life.
She was a post graduate in micro biology but as she got married and had kids she could not pursue her B. Ed and so was left with the option to work as an agent. She had an exceptional memory. I got to know this when she was giving a presentation on American Culture. She had remembered all the US history and holidays by heart.
We started taking our breaks together and the more I spoke to her, the more I found a real and genuine person in her. She was ready to listen most of the times but when she would be disturbed, she just wanted to vent out and would not give you any chance to interrupt her.
One day she brought bread halwa for me. I had never tasted it before and found it very tasty. I also started carrying Samosas and Jalebis to the office and we would sit, sip, munch and chat in our breaks. We used to call them Samosa Parties.
Due to some reasons I had to leave that job very abruptly. A day after, I left the job I called Poonam and asked her how she was. I asked her with whom she took her break. She replied, “ I don’t need a break now”. I literally had tears in my eyes but I could not do anything to help her. I did call another team member and told her to take care of Poonam.
I met Poonam only twice after that. I got busy with my life and she with hers. We talked very rare and exchanged messages on birthdays and festivals but the bond that formed within those five months was so strong that I still get comfort by just thinking about a friend who could resonate my feelings and understand me.
I lost a very dear friend of mine recently in an accident and I really felt very bad that I could not keep in touch with him. I took a lesson from that incident and I planned to spend a weekend in Amritsar with Poonam’s family.
I met Poonam and her family at Amritsar exactly after a decade of meeting her. We talked non-stop for hours at that night and shared so many stories. Those memories are priceless and still comfort me. At any point in my life if I feel little disturbed, I just go back to that day we spoke non-top for 4-5 hours and it always brings a smile on my face.
Poonam and I met as colleagues, became friends and then good friends. Poonam became my sister from a friend and now she is much more than a sister. She is a guide, confidant, friend, sister and a buddy.. all rolled into one.
I thank God for giving me such a wonderful person in my life.