Nurturing Thursday: Respect

When Sudha Murthy, chairman of Infosys Foundation, was called “cattle class” at London’s Heathrow Airport!

 

Here’s an excerpt from Sudha Murty’s ‘Three Thousand Stitches: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives’

Last year, I was at the Heathrow International Airport in London about to board a flight. Usually, I wear a sari even when I am abroad, but I prefer wearing a salwar kameez while travelling. So there I was — a senior citizen dressed in typical Indian apparel at the terminal gate. Since the boarding hadn’t started, I sat down and began to observe my surroundings. The flight was bound for Bengaluru and so I could hear people around me chatting in Kannada. I saw many old married couples of my age — they were most likely coming back from the US or UK after helping their children either through childbirth or a new home. I saw some British business executives talking to each other about India’s progress. Some teenagers were busy with the gadgets in their hands while the younger children were crying or running about the gate.

After a few minutes, the boarding announcement was made and I joined the queue. The woman in front of me was a well-groomed lady in an Indo-Western silk outfit, a Gucci handbag and high heels. Every single strand of her hair was in place and a friend stood next to her in an expensive silk sari, pearl necklace, matching earrings and delicate diamond bangles. I looked at the vending machine nearby and wondered if I should leave the queue to get some water.

Suddenly, the woman in front of me turned sideways and looked at me with what seemed like pity in her eyes. Extending her hand, she asked, ‘May I see your boarding pass, please?’

I was about to hand over my pass to her, but since she didn’t seem like an airline employee, I asked, ‘Why?’

‘Well, this line is meant for business class travellers only,’ she said confidently and pointed her finger towards the economy class queue. ‘You should go and stand there,’ she said.

I was about to tell her that I had a business class ticket, but on second thoughts, held back. I wanted to know why she had thought that I wasn’t worthy of being in the business class. So I repeated, ‘Why should I stand there?’

She sighed. ‘Let me explain. There is a big difference in the price of an economy and a business class ticket. The latter costs almost two and a half times more than . . .’I think it is three times more,’ her friend interrupted. ‘Exactly,’ said the woman. ‘So there are certain privileges that are associated with a business class ticket.’

‘Really?’ I decided to be mischievous and pretended not to know.

‘What kind of privileges are you talking about?’

She seemed annoyed. ‘We are allowed to bring two bags but you can only take one. We can board the flight from another, less-crowded queue. We are given better meals and seats. We can extend the seats and lie down flat on them. We always have television screens and there are four washrooms for a small number of passengers.’

Her friend added, ‘A priority check-in facility is available for our bags, which means they will come first upon arrival and we get more frequent flyer miles for the same flight.’

‘Now that you know the difference, you can go to the economy line,’ insisted the woman.

‘But I don’t want to go there.’ I was firm.

The lady turned to her friend. ‘It is hard to argue with these cattle-class people. Let the staff come and instruct her where to go. She isn’t going to listen to us.’

I didn’t get angry. The word ‘cattle class’ was like a blast from the past and reminded me of another incident. One day, I had gone to an upscale dinner party in my home city of Bengaluru. Plenty of local celebrities and socialites were in attendance. I was speaking to some guests in Kannada, when a man came to me and said very slowly and clearly in English, ‘May I introduce myself ? I am…’

It was obvious that he thought that I might have a problem understanding the language.

I smiled. ‘You can speak to me in English.’

‘Oh,’ he said, slightly flabbergasted. ‘I’m sorry. I thought you weren’t comfortable with English because I heard you speaking in Kannada.’

‘There’s nothing shameful in knowing one’s native language. It is, in fact, my right and my privilege. I only speak in English when somebody can’t understand Kannada.’

The line in front of me at the airport began moving forward and I came out of my reverie.

The two women ahead were whispering among themselves, ‘Now she will be sent to the other line. It is so long now! We tried to tell her but she refused to listen to us.’

When it was my turn to show my boarding pass to the attendant, I saw them stop and wait a short distance away, waiting to see what would happen. The attendant took my boarding pass and said brightly, ‘Welcome back! We met last week, didn’t we?’

‘Yes,’ I replied. She smiled and moved on to the next traveller.

I walked a few steps ahead of the women intending to let this go, but then I changed my mind and came back.

‘Please tell me, what made you think that I couldn’t afford a business class ticket? Even if I didn’t have one, was it really your prerogative to tell me where I should stand? Did I ask you for help?’

The women stared at me in silence.

‘You refer to the term “cattle class”. Class does not mean possession of a huge amount of money,’ I continued, unable to stop myself from giving them a piece of my mind.

‘There are plenty of wrong ways to earn money in this world. You may be rich enough to buy comfort and luxuries, but the same money doesn’t define class or give you the ability to purchase it. Mother Teresa was a classy woman. So is Manjul Bhargava, a great mathematician of Indian origin. The concept that you automatically gain class by acquiring money is an outdated thought process.’

I left without waiting for a reply.
Inspired by Becca’s Nurturing Thursday

Sunday Trees : Nostalgic

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Crystal Palace, madrid

“Life always waits for some crisis to occur before revealing itself at its most brilliant~ Paulo Coelho (Eleven Minutes)

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Crystal Palace, Madrid

I am nostalgic to many places and events but for now I decided to combine Sunday trees theme and Lens-artistis-photo-challenge theme.

These images are taken at the El Retiro park in Madrid during our recent visit. I would love to visit Madrid again and spend a day in this beautiful park.

El Retiro Park : Covering over 125 hectares and comprising more than 15,000 trees, El Retiro Park is a green oasis in the heart of the city. In it you’ll find all kinds of interesting monuments and gardens, including the Jardín de Vivaces, the Jardines de Cecilio Rodríguez (Andalusian-inspired classicistic gardens), the Jardines del Arquitecto Herrero Palacios, the Rosaleda rose garden and the Parterre Francés.

A note: When we came out of the metro station El Retiro, I wanted to take street shot, only to realize that I forgot to insert battery in the camera. Which was still in the charger at the hotel near Opera.  😦 😦 😦  One possibility was to explore the park and take pictures using our mobile phones but looking at my face, my husband suggested that we get back to hotel and bring the battery. Due to some maintenance work on the tracks between Sol and Opera it took almost an hour and half to get back to the same place.

Your limitation – it’s only your imagination!

An incredible story about a lady born on 7th November in 1867. In 1890, she was 23 years old without any formal degree, working as a governess in her father’s friends house in Warsaw to help support her sister who was struggling to get an education in Paris. She fell in love with the elder son of the family who refused her as she had no prospects or money. Heartbroken and weary she wrote to her sister Bronia that she was stupid, would remain stupid and nothing would ever come of her life…
… Thirteen years on she won a Nobel Prize along with her husband Pierre, and won another one for Chemistry eight years later. Marie Curie was one of the greatest and bravest scientists ever. Her research notes are still radioactive and she died of cancer from radiation.
Years later, that elder son who she sought, Kazimerz, became one of Poland’s most famous mathematicians. As an old man he was often seeing sitting quietly beside mother’s statue at the Radium Institute in Warsaw.

(Joy Bhattacharjya)

 

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Inspired by Becca’s Nurturing Thursday

Nurturing Thursday – Insulin

The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

14th November is “World Diabetes Day”.

https://worlddiabetesday.org/about/2019-theme/

A story about today——

Today is the birthday of a man who made miracles happen. In 1920, a four year old boy Terry Ryder diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. In those days, the only way to save diabetes patients was to put them on a starvation diet. In July 1922, Terry weighed less than 12 kg & could not take 4 steps by himself. He was one of the first put on Fredrick Banting’s new discovery. Within 2 weeks he started gaining weight. By September Terry was healthy.

Terry was just one of thousands of children saved around the world by Fredrick Banting’s miracle cure for diabetes. Also adults and children around the world now take this miracle treatment for granted.

When Fredrick Banting discovered insulin, he refused to put his name on the patent. He felt it was unethical for a doctor to profit from a discovery that would save lives. Banting’s co-inventors, James Collip and Charles Best, sold the insulin patent to the University of Toronto for a mere $1. They wanted everyone who needed their medication to be able to afford it.

 

Inspired by Becca’s Nurturing Thursday

Nurturing Thursday : Don’t doubt yourself

What would be better than shaing this piece of information today:

It’s Nobel Laureate C V Raman’s 131st birth anniversary today. He had unshakeable faith in his work and abilities. Though he was elected to the Royal Society, a great honour in those days, when he was just 36, he didn’t consider it a big deal at all! He knew he would win a Nobel Prize after discovering the Raman Effect in Feb 1928. After missing out in 1928 & 1929, he was so confident of winning in 1930 that he he purchased ocean liner tickets to attend the ceremony 5 months in advance, before they even told him he had won.

(Joy Bhattacharjya)

Nelson Mandela has said, ” There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living“.

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Inspired by Becca’s Nurturing Thursday

Sunday Trees

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This image was taken at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, contains the remains of more than 400,000 people from the United States and 11 other countries, buried there since the 1860s.

Inspired by Becca’s Sunday Trees theme.

For more information on the cemetery  check:

https://edition.cnn.com/2013/10/21/us/arlington-national-cemetery-fast-facts/index.html#targetText=Facts%3A,people%20visit%20the%20cemetery%20annually.