“Don’t you have the habit of writing date? I mean like ever?” she asked. That was the first time I saw her lips curl into a smile. She seemed amused with it. She deducted a mark whatsoever for my silly mistake. Her labs were something I looked forward to every week.

I first heard about this woman when I was in the first year of my under graduation. Deemed to be the best mentor in the department she held all the respect she deserved. Students rushed to her class. Everybody knew she would not let you leave the examination hall until and unless you say you don’t know to at least one question she asked in viva.

On the first day of the fifth semester, I was late to her lecture. I skipped it. Later I went on to find out what she actually spoke and entire class echoed “I will be the last to enter and the first to leave the classroom”. That said enough about her persona.

I worked everyday for her class. The only course out of six where students never had the urge to bunk. I enjoyed solving problems, writing notes and just admiring her. Her course was the most difficult one, still all of us managed to pass, only because she made it easy for us. She appreciated hard work, stood by students during their thick and thin, passed sarcastic comments, made sure we studied and loved us like a mother without any bias.

Two semesters, different courses, she. The best that could have happened to us. Personally I found her intriguing. She spread an aura which cannot be captured by words alone. Fast forward to the end of sixth semester. I did my minor project under her only because I had profound fondness for her.

Final year project, the hundred seminars, for everything she was my mentor. I felt blessed. I could not finish a research paper due to time constraint during my final year because of which I could not see in her eye after.

A year and a half passed by. I did not contact her. I missed her. Out of blue my college WhatsApp group becomes active, talking about her. I join in as a silent observer only to know that she is on her deathbed. I rushed to the hospital. She battled for life against cancer. She succumbed to the vicious cancer 15 minutes before I could reach. Holding back tears I expressed my wish to see her one last time. The answer was “No”.

My only regret of life till date is not completing that research paper. I love you Ma’am.

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