Sometimes, in the middle of our daily hustle and bustle, happen incidents that really take us by surprise. Today, I want to tell you about one such incident that happened with my father the other day.
Papa was returning home by an early domestic flight yesterday morning. He had boarded the plane at 5:15 am. Sometime after the plane took off, an airline stewardess approached him and asked whether he’d like to have a hot or cold beverage. He denied saying it’s too early and looked at other sleeping passengers.
Now Papa is a frequent traveller. It is fun seeing him packing his bags. He is pro at it. He is one of those smart travellers, who would foresee things he would require according to the place he would be visiting. It is also fun seeing him planning his meetings, boarding and lodging; because they all depend upon the culture and working styles of different places. As papa follows a particular diet, he would often carry long lasting homemade food. An archetypal trait of a Gujarati businessman.
Coming back to his early morning flight, the same stewardess reappeared after a while with her food trolley and asked him again. This time though, after denying he offered her homemade snacks from his lunchbox, from which he was about to eat. It was a kind of thickened roasted chappatis that could be preserved on room temperature for days. It is called Bhakhari in Gujarati. Papa was eating it with cheese dip. She replied that she will be back.
And indeed she came back. A round Bhakhari was cut into four pieces, topped with that cheese dip and shared between all the four cabin attendants on that flight.
The thing which touched me was that the first two attendants had kept half out of their two shares for the other two. They had one piece each and yet they had saved some for their colleagues. What a genuine gesture! However, papa had saved other two pieces out of four for other two cabin attendants in a plastic lunchbox that he handed to them. He told them to have it because they won’t be getting homemade food for a while.
Before (leaving), the head flight attendant gave this little diary as a gesture of gratitude. And the other stewardess returned his lunchbox with a cup full of cranberries.
There are two wonderful traditions of the culture I live in.
1) One must never eat alone. Some share of daily food preparation must be kept aside for the needy. Also while eating, one is suppose to offer the food to the people present around. Children are taught the same thing.
2) When someone shares food with you in a container, you never return it empty. The ladies, when their neighbours bring something in the container for tasting or sharing, always fill it with something else while returning.
Up in the sky, early in the morning, all these traditions were carried on by total strangers. And in no time a bond of sharing and caring was built.
On this Father’s day, I wish my papa a happy one. I am proud to be the daughter of a person like you. Love you, papa.