I have said more than once in the last 17 days, and I am beginning to believe it; this blog is prophetic.I talk about something one day, and life in some round-about way gives back the very next day .
Today was a long day, I was out ‘working’ after a long long time.It was a freelance assignment, where I had to do interview based articles, featuring the company’s customers for a B to B company.Today, was the first day and there were two interviews.
So I woke up, in time… did my homework and dressed up in suitably ‘corporate’ looking clothes, and was up and ready for a new challenge.The Marcom Manager; this extremely pleasant person, who is refreshingly passionate about his company, his clients and work; and has come in from Bangalore, picked me up. The ride to Faridabad ensued via Surajkund, which is one of the greener areas of Delhi-NCR.
The first company was this Engineering conglomerate, which I had grown up around. My dad’s elder brother had been with the company for almost his entire career;starting just a few years after the company’s inception and retired at a very senior post.
Since we lived in a joint family then, everything around me had the logo. Stationery, model, a watch in the hallway, and most of all I think my memory.On rare occasions, when the founder came home, my brother and I who were the youngest and hence the lowest in family hierarchy would be shunted somewhere, out of sight. We remember looking through the key-hole to catch a glimpse of this man who we had only heard about… that too in awe-laced tones.
You know how certain companies that way are ‘yours’ …just because you have brushed your teeth with Colgate through your life or have been always been a Coke loyalist.This was ‘my’ company in more ways than one.It was a strange kind of homecoming… even though the interview per se was fairly impersonal, neutral.
Lunch was in a very interesting restaurant… there was this very stiff yet cocky waiter, and this group to our left trying to come to a consensus on a situation gone really bad but at an impasse … The faces were almost stereotypical in their stiffness as were the predictable snippets of almost conversation that drifted our way . Everything about that place was larger than life, and out of an eighties movie…The food was delicious and everything that was banned in my diet!
Now comes the twist, just after I exited the restaurant (where I tripped and almost fell on my face…just to let you know), I got a message on whatsapp from one of my closest friends from school, I had not spoken to her in over 20 years… I did not know where she was, but she found me :)..it was good!
Back to work, we started to discuss our next customer who was a smaller but a very progressive company.The founder on the website did not, but the son’s name rung a bell.We had been at school together, ‘my five minutes back found friend’ had been very keen on him and I had always got stuck in between! Does life have its twists or does life have its twists! It was a silly situation then, a weirdly irritating association that only teenagers can share. It was something I definitely would not boast about… he was best ‘forgotten.’ (pls refer to the repressed memories from yesterday’s post) , it certainly wasn’t the most comfortable of associations…I had a strong inkling it just might be him… life just had to do it to me…I am telling you, this blog is prophetic!
We went to the office, and I looked at what I imagined was the brother, and yes it did look so much like the guy I knew. As it turns out, it wasn’t the brother but the man himself! And yes, he was my (not so much of a) friend from school.
He came in, and the introductions were made.I KNOW he recognised me and specially when the names were exchanged I saw a flicker of recognition in his eyes.We decided, we were strangers, there was no awkwardness.
It was then he started talking of his company, there was love, there was passion, there was a sense of pride and an affinity that was infectious.This ‘stranger’, I had met after years was definitely a person I would love to have for a friend.The overflowing feeling in the conference room was one of a shared pride, of goodwill… of happiness.
He showed us his small little empire, talked with love of his company, his father who was the founder, his brother who was a partner, his wife and daughter; there was pride, there was love and there was a sense of comradeship. He talked of forming everlasting relationships, with strategic partners like us, with clients, of personal relationships with his workers.He struck a chord when he talked about his father suffering from a stroke, very similar to my father’s.We were strangers in a beautiful, very warm, conducive atmosphere.
The goodbyes were warm; the interaction had been wonderfully wonderful.Thank you…’friend’. We might never meet/talk again but it was a silent pact of ‘affinity’?’friendship’? ‘the past is the past…anyway that was a silly episode’?…which resulted in a precious interaction. As time passes we may dismiss the warmth of it, but 7 hours and nineteen minutes later, I still feel it.
I am humbled and touched after meeting this person, not only for the passionate, pure and wonderful person he is today, but also for his walking past, so magnanimously, away from the awkwardness that could have been; welcoming us so warmly into his world and turning this purely professional interaction into something ‘a bit more’.
We started out as a professionals on a happy formal note, and ended as acquaintances on a happier professional note, with overtones of personal affinity.
So maybe all notes of forgiveness need not be notes of forgiveness, there is also release, letting go and reaching out to the person in sheer goodwill spiked with genuine warmth.
I just so tempted to add him on facebook, we have 67 mutual friends!
Maybe not, let bygones be bygones, even though they were those silly growing up things…I would rather remember only him as a chance encounter with one of the finer people I met in life…
Thank you stranger, for a lesson in forgiveness, thank you ‘not friend’ for turning into this wonderful a person! Maybe the next time we meet in a place, we cannot pretend to not having known each other,we will have today to fall back upon…