“Mousomi” is my Bengali name. Melissa is too hard to remember, so the first time I ever walked into Sari Bari I was given a name the ladies could remember. Suddenly I became “Mousomi.” A name called with love. A new part of who I am. Then, about 2 years ago we got another Mousomi at Sari Bari. Sometimes sharing a name is confusing, like when I hear “Oh Mousomi” ring out and I holler back, “Yeah?” only to hear the reply, “not you, the other Mousomi.” But mostly it is a joy. What started as a random coincidence of sharing a name has grown into a beautiful friendship.

Mousomi has the most amazing smile in the world. It’s huge and will light up any room. And her laugh, well, it’s contagious. She is warm, and open, and sometimes she is a bit sassy. Sometimes she calls me over the weekend, just to check in and see how I’m doing. She has called me on days when there are strikes in the city, to see if I am safely at home, or if for some (unfathomable) reason I’m out and about in the city (and then she tells me to get home quickly, so I am safe, and so I don’t have to deal with any unnecessary drama). She called me when I was on vacation, to find out if I was enjoying my time away from the office. She asks me about my parents, how they are doing, and if my sisters are okay. If I am away from the office for too long (and to her, too long is 2 days in a row), she asks where I have been, and what I have been doing. And if I ever happen to come to the office without my lunch, she is quick to share hers with me.

Recently there was fair close to our office, so after work we went to the fair. We wandered around for a bit, and then we ate “Fair Food,” I gave her some cookies, we told stories and off we went our separate ways. It was such a treat to spontaneously meet up with a friend on a Friday night (even if the outing was far from a “normal” Friday night outing in America.)

Mousomi. She is my friend and very surely one of my heroes.

Reflection by Melissa Hayward