There are two ways of seeing the world.
Pack your bags and savings,jet out from one time zone to the other at supersonic speed and keep ticking off MUST DO items picked by your travel agent.
Another way is to be AIRBNB HOST and let the world watchers transit through your abode and reveal their part of the world to you unintentionally,Inexpensively and even leave you better off after the experience.
AIRBNB has unwittingly ushered in an era of REVERSE TOURISM.
It will erode nationalism,promote humanism,cultural confluence,interracial amity and understanding.
Hospitality is waiting to be redefined in a global context bereft of national prejudices and racial vanities. My observations are inferred after Charlie's visit, one of our earliest guests.
Charlie's repute had preceded him via dynamic rave reviews about his high voltage electrifying presence and data bank to embarrass a mini computer. His query was quickly approved and he wasted no time in confirming . He and two companions arrived twelve hours later than expected as per their own communication from airport.
Wonder made way for worry and I went for morning tennis to clear my head . Coming back to my balcony after an hour I saw Charlie doing a SHEERSHASAN(head stand) and the other two scanning the Bombay skyline dotted with historic landmarks like Taj, Gateway of India,world war II SHORE BATTERYAND FEW BLOTS ON THE LANDSCAPE LIKE Adarsha and Sea Wind with its useless helipad.
We had our morning tea on twelfth floor balcony and Charlie Hebdo carnage stared at us from the morning news paper headline.
"Charlie your name triggers carnage in Paris,confusion in Bombay and now you are turning topsy turvy yourself."
"Vir the world of cause and effect is reversible. In France it is the effect producing cause."
"So you agree that cartoons can be lethally serious." I tried to corner him. "I agree to nothing.To take a stand makes you a sitting duck for criticism,blasphemy ,martyrdom and sometime even stardom.I just observe,take no stand and certainly sit on no judgement." He fired his relentless salvo
Charlie took the initiative to clear the tea table ,help peel the onions for breakfast of omelette and porridge. Trio were off to explore the South Bombay.
It was sheer delight to engage them in random musings after their return from Prowling around the city.
From second day onwards it was difficult to tell who was the host or the guest. Such was their effortless informality and affability that we were soon talking about music, Sufism,yoga and cooking as the only universal religion
He was disappointed that he went to Linking road Bandra when Zubin Mehta was giving a live performance close to my home in NCPA.But I made it up for him with a Gargantuan Breakfast of Aloo Parathaas and Lassi with home made mango pickle.For over compensation I gifted him Ameer Khusro music cassettes withMan Kunto Maula and other qawallies
Fourth day we were all feeling little low as the time of parting neared.I quietly excused myself pretending an urgent errand and went to the bank for absolutely no work.
My wife called me on my cell that Charlie and gang were leaving and wanted to say goodbye if I was near bye . I felt ashamed of my emotional cowardice and rushed home.
We had a brief photo session till I realized that in every frame one of Us was missing.I was still debating how to beat the problem when Charlie stepped out,stopped the lift and pulled out the liftman to stand in as cameraman.Charlie in fiour days had endeared himself to the security staff, liftman,watchmen and of course our dailyBai. The same liftman took them down and came up half an hour laterwith the largest bouquet.
My wife was ecstatic. She absolutely insisted that I call back to thank them.
"Charlie flowers speak the language of soul. No words can ever match the language.Thanks"
Charlie ,ever the ready wit had the parting shot.
. "Vir what can one say after what you have said on behalf of flowers...Bye "