Pull of gravity
Cannot be seen, yet it is felt
In the form of Gravitational Waves
Ripples flow through the fabric of space
In a way alike, good vibes link hearts,
Build ties in the strangest ways
A heart-warming smile,
A gentle touch,
An act of care,
Break barriers, rise above frontiers, form deep
When you are travelling alone outside your home country, especially for the first time, things sometimes appear very daunting, in such times even the smallest acts of kindness from people, can be very comforting and put you at ease.
When I saw this video by British Airways, which is supposed to be inspired by a true story, I was moved by this heart-warming tale of a UK based cabin crew member, who while travelling to India for the first time for the first time forms a connect with an elderly India traveller, and subsequently visits her in India.
The video reminds me of an incident that I am about to share with you.
The year was 2007, I was then working with an IT Company. My job required me to travel frequently to overseas client locations. Invariably, I would travel alone, while my family stayed back in Mumbai.
This time I was to be deployed in London for a project with BBC for three months. The BBC Head office, now located in Oxford Circus in central London was at White City in west London in those days.
To say that I was excited to be at the iconic building that had served as the BBC hub since its opening in 1960, would be an understatement. On the first day I reached a little early. Our client relationship manager introduced me to Stuart Sutton, who was overseeing the project.
The project kicked off smoothly. In the course of time, I started bonding well with a lady known as Philippa. During our lunch time conversations, I found out that Philippa was an Indophile. Her great grandfather had lived in Kolkata. Though she had been to India only once, her knowledge of Indian culture, cuisine, religions, and history baffled me. Soon we formed a friendship based on mutual respect and on our common interest for cultural aspects. She would often ask me about my family, and how my folks at home were managing in my absence.
Time flew by. My work was over, and it was time for me to head back home to Mumbai.
On my last day I planned to leave a little early as I had to do some shopping and pack my stuff to catch the morning flight next day. Completing all the exit formalities, I thanked Stuart for all his help and went about saying goodbye to the client team. Philippa wasn’t there at her seat. I waited for her as I couldn’t have left without meeting her.
As I sat waiting, a little fidgety for getting delayed, Philippa appeared with a big box of doughnuts, a nice card with red poppy field (poppy signifies remembrance) and a jar of mustard paste.
‘This is for you,‘ she said with a warm smile.
‘Mustard!’ I asked as I wondered why would anybody give mustard as a farewell gift. Sensing my surprise, she told me that she had noticed my liberal use of mustard sauce on the sandwiches and she knew that mustard paste was commonly used in preparation of Bengali food dishes. So she had gone out to buy a jar of English mustard paste for me to try out at home.
This small gesture of hers was touching and made me feel so special.
Small acts of compassion and a genuine attempt to understand people and their culture goes a long way in forging strong bonds.
I end this post quoting Maya Angelou
‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’
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