As I was resting a while during the lunch break in my office in Marina in 1994 , there was a tele call from Mother Teresa of Kolkata.

I recognised her voice as I had seen and spoken to her once before at her Royapuram convent and had the good fortune also to fly with her in a special plane to Madurai from Madras in the company of Chief Minister MGR , Farook Abdulla of Kashmir and state Minister Late Kalimuthu on 3rd February 1984 as we went to Kodaikanal to inaugurate Mother Teresa University. The Kodaikanal Mother Teresa University was inaugurated by Mother herself.

I was excited to receive the call from the saintly Nobel Laureate and enquired from her what I should do for her.

It was roughly 2.30 p.m and she desired to have a meeting with Jayalalitha, the Chief Minister for five minutes on her way to the Chennai airport and Kolkata. by flight at four pm.

I rang up the Deputy Secretary in charge of Chief Minister’s appointments and sought an interview for Mother. Knowing the unpredictability of the Chief Minister he timidly told me that she had just finished her lunch and probably had gone for siesta. I insisted that he conveyed the information to the Chief Minister. Still he was hesitant.

I thought the Mother’s wish could not be ignored but must be fulfilled. I thought relying on the deputy secretary would be fruitless and therefore asked him whether I myself could convey the information. He was greatly relieved to hear the suggestion and immediately put my phone through to her.

When she heard my voice , she asked me whether there was anything very important as I had never before disturbed her during noons. I told her Mother Teresa wanted to see her for five minutes before she emplaned to Kolkata, that evening at 4 p.m

I could feel from her voice that she was very much surprised about Mother’s desire to meet her. She said that she would get ready within ten minutes and wanted to know where we should go and meet the mother. When I mentioned to her that she would be coming to her residence she was over joyous and alerted everyone in her residence.

Knowing the strict rules of security in her residence and feeling that the security detail might ask mother to get down at the main gate of her residence, I requested her permission to brief the security men and keep the main door open. She assured me not to worry about that score and added that she herself would be present in the portico and personally receive and escort her into her drawing hall.

Mother came to the residence of the Chief Minister by 3.15 p.m The Chief minister herself opened the door of mother’s car and clasped her frail hand and led her into the house. Mother was clutching a rosary and a jute bag in her hand.

By then Tamilnadu film division and television crew had landed and shot and recorded the visit and developments to posterity. Senior officers including the chief secretary also had arrived.

After a few minutes of film and photo shoot, the media men went out. The Chief Minister asked me to stand by to assist her. She asked for Mother’s autograph, which she readily obliged. Then Mother asked for a building in Chennai to house some destitute children which she readily agreed to give.

When this was over, the chief minister called all the officers present and introduced them.. I was the last one to be introduced. True to the catholic tradition I knelt in front of her, took the saintly hand and kissed it.

Mother left the residence after the meeting. All but her personal staff also left. I also was about to leave. The Chief Minister called me in and with a broad smile asked me whether I was overwhelmed by the visit. I told her that indeed it was a rare blessing that a saintly soul had stepped into the residence. She asked me why I had not briefed her on the right manner of greeting Mother. She was referring to my kneeling and kissing the hand.

Perhaps it was ever lingering in her mind. Much later she had an occasion to share a platform with Mother in a public function.

Remembering the past, in the gaze of multitudes, she now bent down and touched Mother’s feet and sought her blessing.