Saturday, January 30, 2016

Slice of Life #9 — Mindful Timelessness

I met her in the airport lounge the other day. As ever, immaculate in her crisp saree and warmth in her eyes, on a call, a Kindle in her hands. The moment she saw me she excused herself from the call, rose and gave me an affectionate hug. And we got talking. And I was keeping an eye on the time, just to make sure I did not miss the flight. One can get lost in conversations with Dr. Indira Parikh. We had some 20 minutes to go. The intensity of the conversation was evident. And ‘how’ of it was not lost on me.

Several years ago, Dr. Hemant Parikh, her late husband, an Indian scientist and the young bride Indira Parikh were invited to attend the grand dinner ball in Stockholm on the 10th of Dec. Nobel Prize investiture. And Indira all of 21 years was the only one in an elegant saree, while the wives of Nobel laureates and invitees were in evening gowns and boring black dresses. As always she was the center of attention and many of the Nobel Laureates went out of the way to meet her. In a moment of innocence and naivety she asked one if she could spend an hour with him in his office the following day to know more about his work. There was a shocked silence, as no one would dare ask time of such luminaries.

He was a kindly man and he agreed. His secretary quickly told Indira that she was to meet him only for 15 minutes the following morning. And asked her to come in early so he was not kept waiting. Indira was nervous as came early. At the appointed time she was ushered into his room. There was a great calmness about him. They spoke for a long time, a long long time. And gently as she was ushered in, she was escorted out. There were no calls, no interruptions. Only the two of them. That long meeting was all of fifteen minutes!

She had told me this story earlier. Mindfulness, focus and deep sense of care for another stretches time. I could feel the same thing … some things are worth learning and practicing. Being in the moment. Sans mobile, sans distraction, sans disruption. I had never asked her as to how she managed to do so much in such a short time. My flight got announced, and my watch was all of 18 minutes. Seemed like an hour. I am deeply in gratitude, Indira. For in your company, time is timeless.