As boarding began, I sat and looked at people rushing to the queue. It really boggles my mind how obsessed most people are with lines, their positions on it and getting there first. As I saw most people leave, I finally got up. As I did, the man standing right in front asked me if this was the Jet Airways flight to New Delhi. I said, “Yes”. His next question was if they were usually on time and I assured him that they were, usually.
The small talk led to a conversation I can probably never forget. I learned that the man was visiting India from Canada. He was about thrice my age and yet, as young as myself at heart, if not younger.
In the little time that we spent together, we talked about many things. I told him about the camp I was on and how the experience was. I even showed him a photo of the lake I have been spamming on my Instagram feed for a while.
Then, I asked him whether he had the chance to try some Biryani. He said that he’d Googled before coming and so he tried and loved it. “It’s a beautiful dish,” he said, “if human beings decide to do good things, they end up creating beautiful things”. He smiled. It was an extraordinarily humble and earnest smile.
We talked about large cities and their problems and the world. He believed that all places have flaws and that the important thing is that we keep working to solve them.
We agreed to meet after the flight and somehow, I forgot to exchange contact information. I was hopeful though as I wished him a safe trip and went toward the rear end of the aircraft to sit in my row.
I couldn’t meet him post-landing, and so, the only thing I have is that wonderful conversation and the memory of a very hopeful man at the further end of his life.
There was one thing that he commented upon after I told him about my camp and the things that I had seen. “The first step is realising something,” he said as he took a pause and gauged for the look on my face as he smiled, “the solutions then follow”. It was a chance encounter and probably one of the most beautiful moments of my life.
Hope is infectious, it seems.