Soul food

What Travelling And Understanding People Taught Me!

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Why should I invest in people?What is the purpose of learning from people? How does it determine our life in the larger picture?There was a time in my life (right after college)when all I ever wanted to do was get a job that pays me well and travel the world.Fortunately I could do both owing to the previous job I had.I got to travel almost all around the world and got paid for it.During that time I also learnt some of the important lessons of life which not only broadened my horizon but helped me navigate through the purpose of life .Of course I am not old and wise enough to say I have learnt all the life lessons, hopefully there’s a long way to go but I would most certainly want to share whatever I gained from the experience of understanding people and places. . .

1.Integrity:-This is one of the first few lessons I learnt and I am glad I learnt it very early in life.And this is the story behind it:-It was a normal work day(I worked as a flight attendant for an International Airline) and as always everybody had to share one pointer that would help in making the flight smoother and safer for passengers. And I remember one of my supervisors saying this,” Pls follow integrity, do things right even when no one is watching”. Although it had no greater meaning as such if you just hear it and forget about it it but I reflected on it as I checked into our hotel accommodation and kept thinking why on earth  nobody ever said it so beautifully. Its not that before this day I hadn’t heard of the word integrity but I don’t know why for some reason it stayed in my head after that day and  now it’s something I start my day with. Another example is my dad. He is someone who till date I haven’t seen getting involved in any kind of mean act or being unkind to anyone.He is my biggest example of ‘Integrity’.

2. Gratitude:-It’s so good to see that now more and more people are talking about implementing ‘Gratitude’ in everyday life .For me Gratitude is not just an activity, it’s a realisation that must happen with each living moment. And this is the greater story behind it:-In 2014 I fell sick(which I will talk about at length in ‘My story’ section’ later).I was bed ridden for 2 weeks and had very low chances of surviving. Those fourteen days were probably the best days of my life. I realised how important my life is to my family and to myself. I realised how important it is to love and take care of oneself. We understand the value of something only when we are on the verge of  losing it.

3.Invest in people:- If I hadn’t learnt it early in life, I would have probably not survived for so long living away from home. I wish I had one single story to share to tell you why the only thing you should invest in is people. For now I will just give it to you in bits and pieces.In Moscow someone paid for my grocery while I was trying to figure out the currency at the cashier. When I had lost directions to my hotel in Dubai I was dropped safely to the nearest Metro station by two Pakistani men. At a long queue outside a restaurant, seeing me tired an Israeli guy who was way ahead of me swapped places out of sheer kindness. In Adelaide an Indian shop owner gave away his jacket to me as he saw me shivering. . .like this I can share millions of real life incidents that happened with me .But for now I will just say that people are the real treasure, cherish them, love them, be kind to them.

4. Sharing makes all the difference:-A lot of us live isolated lives and more often than not we have too many things to say but not enough people to share with. For someone who has always lived away from home, confiding in is like a medicine. Although there’s a lot I keep to myself ,there is also a lot I share with people and mostly strangers.I think it also comes from the fact that you are less prone to being judged when you share with new people. I have a funny story to it too:-I once lost my leopard print umbrella(I must have left it in the rickshaw) that I bought from London. The first few minutes I grieved a lot but by the time I reached home I had shared my grief with 4-5 people. And  by the end of the day I had forgotten about it. Sharing is the way to live!

5.Never ever postpone your dreams for future:– It was one of the random flights from Mumbai-Singapore and after the service got done, my supervisor asked me to get his folder from one of the cabinets.As I handed him over the folder, he asked me to sit down and took out a big personal scrapbook from that same  folder. Inside were pictures of home decor and antiques that he had collected over 25 years of flying as a Cabin Crew. As he started to browse through the pages and tell me the story connected to each of his collections, I saw his eyes spark up .I asked him if he loved it so much why he never pursued it. To which he said,”he never had the courage to give up his present job as he feared he would lose the comfort and money that comes with it”. This particular incident was path breaking for me and I took it as a sign to do what I really wanted to do. You know what is more painful than failing; Regret. A few months later I had left my job and today I can proudly say that I did what I had to.

6.Never ever feel sorry for yourself:- Even though I was a shy kid at school, I always excelled academically, securing almost all the jobs I was interviewed for .But there comes a time in your life when due to some reasons you feel you are not good enough. Let me share the story behind this:- All my life I aspired to be a good daughter, an all rounder and a good human(and I would like to believe that I successfully did so), but a time came when I felt I am not sufficient or good enough to be loved. You know why did that happen?It’s because I had started to see myself from someone else’s eyes, someone who neither valued me nor respected me. Someone who had low self esteem. Suddenly all my confidence and lessons of life seemed to fail. It took me a lot of courage and attempts to go back to my confident self. I failed miserably, many times, for a long time but I kept trying and even while writing this it brings tears to my eyes. I had started to feel sorry for myself not knowing where to start from, now that I had lost all my faith. But somewhere the strong girl in me always knew this is not the time to fail, its time to outgrow yourself. After months of not giving up I slowly, even though I crawled, reached my older self. It was a journey in itself. And it not just felt good, it felt like renaissance.

7.Kindness always brings rewards:- Let me share the most interesting story of the lot. My dad has always been kind to our tenants back at home in Delhi. He is probably the nicest landlord. He is like a Santa to everybody around. He is someone I have observed very closely and I can proudly say that I am very  fortunate that he is my dad. So coming back to my story, in all these years of me being a tenant in different cities, I have never been troubled by any of my landlords. In fact I have been very fortunate in this case.I have had Pakistani landlady and a Chinese too and now an Indian. Each one of them treated me like family. And I believe I am enjoying the rewards of my dad’s kindness.

To conclude I would like to say that I could have held back and not shared any of these lessons thinking it’s a personal journey and I needn’t share it with the world. But if I don’t do it today I would forever feel that someone out there needed to know this to feel better or live better and my fear didn’t let it happen. I believe each day is an opportunity to learnt create and to build, sharing is one of the best ways to go about it.

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