It was "a dream come true" for geography teacher Rama Anant Kulkarni to finally meet columnist Sumiko Tan in the flesh.
"I've been following her columns ever since I came from India five years ago. They were the highlight of every Sunday Times for me," said Mrs Kulkarni, 48, who added that she liked Ms Tan's columns because of their interesting takes on the ordinary moments in life.
Ms Tan, who is also the executive editor of The Straits Times, was at Popular Bookstore in nex mall yesterday, meeting more than 100 readers to promote her new book, Sundays With Sumiko.
A planned 30-minute session stretched to two hours, as a queue of about 35 people formed 20 minutes before the event was due to start at 4pm. At its peak, there were more than 50 people in the queue.
The book, published by Straits Times Press, compiles 74 columns written from 1994 to last year. About 110 copies were sold yesterday.
Mr Ilangoh Thanabalan, marketing manager of Straits Times Press, said: "Unlike other authors we have launched with more specialised appeal, today's turnout shows how Ms Tan appeals to readers from all walks of life."
Mr Victor Seah, 54, who used to be Ms Tan's schoolmate at Anglo-Chinese Junior College, arrived at 4.10pm and waited for about half an hour to see her.
It was the social worker's first time meeting Ms Tan in 36 years. He has been following her since she wrote her first column. "When I read that (Ms Tan) will be doing this, I told my wife, 'We have to go' - both to show my support as an old friend and as a fan of her work."
Ms Tan, 53, said: "I was wondering if anyone would turn up and was pleasantly surprised that they did."
She added that she wished she had more time to talk to those who showed up. "Readers are the reason a columnist writes, and that was why I dedicated my book to them. I've always been very grateful for their support," she said.
Two other sessions will be held on July 28 and Aug 26 at the National Library and Kinokuniya Main Store, Ngee Ann City, respectively.