Just Screenplay?

Express do not Axepress

They say a picture speaks a thousand words. What does this picture speak to you?

On my last flight, I took my seat saying “Hello, I am Sonia” to this young man next to me, with an interesting name, Dakotta. As we got chatting, I was so inspired by his spirit of adventure and contribution, leaving the US where his family lived for 2 generations and helped set up many companies, now spending a year in India to see how he could contribute to “Indian” companies. His excitement was so effervescent. He pulled out a diary and kept jotting things down. "Wow, wish I had that curiosity in me " I thought, as I plucked many invigorating perspectives from him.

It was years ago, the flight kept getting delayed but finally we were in the Coach. There was halo type aura about this tall gentleman, dressed in a brick colour long kurta and white pyjamas that I rolled my way in the moving coach, just to say “Hi, are you into something spiritual. He said I am a Facilitator.” I couldn’t contain my joy as in those days one hardly met someone who shared my passion and profession. Before I knew I had signed up for his 3 day residential workshop “Tao of Co-Creation” in Pune. Kiran I always thank you for introducing me to this phrase, “You have to slow down in order to speed up.”

“So what’s your line of work, I asked my co passenger on yet another flight.” Colour he said. Wow, that’s fascinating. We spoke about colour aesthetics, fengshui, and more. I told him I find Purple so beautiful that I actually have stained glass work done in it. He told me Purple is a sign of Royalty. Really? Next morning the door bell rings and a packet is delivered with a book titled, “Purple”. That sweet gentleman is Amit Jain from Akzo Nobel. Do you remember that, Amit?

“You are the same man who generously vacated the massage chair for me at the Hotel in Indore.Good to see you again on the flight. Thank you.” I greeted this gentle, soft spoken person Salil Lal who invited me to come to the Company he then worked with, Caparo. I met the then MD Uttam Bose and before I knew I was doing their Leadership sessions in Gurgaon, Chennai and Indore. Recently he invited me as a motivational speaker on Women’s Day, to address over 500 women in Maruti Suzuki, where he works now.

For a frequent traveller like me, I have a bag full of inspirational, interesting, stimulating stories from people I have met while travelling. Not just on flights. I waited at my Mumbai Hotel porch looking for the driver of my Orix cab. Suddenly my bag is picked up. “Who are you?” “Ma’am, I am Radha Kharat your Cab driver.” It was a delight being driven around by this 45 year old, mother of 2 grown up kids and impeccably dressed lady, with exemplary mannerisms. That’s one drive I didn’t need to open my google maps for in Mumbai.

These stories make me who I am today. They enrich me and my life. These are “real books” I read. These are the real screens I watch. Am not saying I don’t watch films on flights. I enjoy in-flight entertainment.In fact watched an inspirational movie “Joy” starring Jennifer Lawrence, just yesterday on my Jet flight back from Mumbai. But after greeting and connecting with my next door neighbour on the flight. A pleasant person named Gaurav who made medical equipments and since Mumbai was too expensive to set up manufacturing plants, he made them in a place called Silvassa.

I feel happy I am in that 0.2% in that picture. And that has made all the difference to my life.

Am certain you too would have a few stories to share about your co travellers. Do share.

Love these words of Ibn Batuta, “Travelling - It leaves you speechless, then turns you into a story teller.” Want to thank all my co-passengers for filling my heart with a treasure chest of precious stories.

Sonia Mehta