An Encounter to Remember

I love vacation. Who doesn’t right?  From your childhood days, through your teens, college and later in working life, vacation seem to take on a whole different aspect.  These days, an interesting and fascinating part of vacation seems to me to be the people we meet along the way.  Of course if you’re traveling in a group it can be a little different, but if you are traveling alone then I guess it takes on a whole new meaning.

I’m not traveling alone, but I did get a seat alone next to someone who turned out to be a very interesting fellow with a wonderfully unique character of his own.  I just HAVE to write about him.
Conversations start like they always do when strangers meet for the first time.  A smile followed with a few nods of the head and then some opening question like “Hello, isn’t it nice we have an empty seat between us to put things on?”  “Yes it is.” goes the reply and then conversation continues..
It was all small talk until he asked me where I was from. “Thailand” I replied. Simple answer.  His answer though wasn’t quite so simple,  he apparently was an “Indian” who wasn’t really “Indian.”  He didn’t look indian.  He could have been from eastern europe or even turkish.  An unidentifiable face.  He called himself a “Parsi” or rather someone whose origins come from ancient Persia.  It’s fascinating. This guy is talker, he likes to talk and you can tell he wants to talk and so I continue on asking questions out of curiousness.   I have a 5 hour flight so I don’t mind using some part of it chatting.   Of course I have no clue if he’s just telling a story but its fun to listen to anyways.
He tells me it’s a long story but we have time so he continues.  His community he tells me originated from ancient Persia near to the Caspian sea  (basically modern day Iran)  and arrived in India in 780 AD after being driven out by the Arabs.  There are only 50,000 people like him around the world and they have their own unique religion which isn’t Hinduism, Christianity, Islam or Buddhism.  It’s a religion that focuses on three main aspects namely: Good words, good deeds, and good actions.
Then he goes on to tell me about his belief of two twin forces in the world that are twins yet opposite.  ( I somehow feel like I’m hearing something from Dan Brown’s The Symbol or some excerpt from Eat, Pray, Love about unifying forces and reaching the “Divine.”)  I continue on listening.   These forces he tell me exist in all of us and through the real practice of yoga is how we learn to control and synchronize these forces until they live within us as one unifying force.  Believing in reincarnation, he says each birth is to teach us how to improve on ourselves.
I wonder if there is a temple.  There is.  There is a temple which is a vast hall with a fire burning in the middle, lit only by the priest under certain incantations.  Mantras are said over these fires fueled by the sweet smelling sandalwood.  The fire he says symbolizes the fire within the human soul which must eventually evolve into the “divine.” being.  As humans, we are all part of this “force” and must learn to merge them.  Fascinating.  Never really met someone who thought like this.
“Humans” he says come from the persian words “hu” and “man” which mean the “will” that is part of the divine “hu”….  Oooh I have to check this out.   This persian thing is fascinating.
The food comes and the conversion ceases.  After the meal, he sits back in his chair, takes out the toothpick and plays with it in his fingers, puts it in his mouth and fiddles with it as if it were a cigar.  He sits there for awhile cigar smoking his toothpick while drinking red wine.  Then with a quick flick of his hand he flicks it onto his food tray, stretches his hands, pushes out his white socked feet and falls into a doze.
Unbelievable.  People are all so different, so marvelously fascinating.  So much to learn….

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