A bartender at PRAXIS reminds me about the butterfly in Brazil effect. What motivates our actions? Can thoughts manifest? Is the energy exchange at the heart of it all? The signals you send into the ‘youniverse’ are up to you. The tapestry of life unfolds and every conversation and chance encounter set into play a chain reaction.
The hibiscus and lavender cocktail I had would never have happened if I had not gone to the bar with Radhika. She spotted the mixer and urged me to try it. Drink in hand we went in search of a quiet corner to catch up. Found a table where just one person was sitting and asked permission if we could occupy two of the chairs. Minutes later we struck up a conversation with her. Turns out she and her son are the founders of the all-natural cocktail mixer brand ‘Bartisans’ that I was happily sipping. She asked permission to capture my reactions as I took the first sip. And we then spent the next 30 minutes talking to her, and her son and husband.
A corridor conversation at midnight reminded a friend about my wife Deepa and that he was missing her. Minutes later he decides to call and wake her up. She thought something had happened to me and instead of answering his phone called to check if I was okay. Her peaceful night’s sleep was disturbed. If I had walked down that corridor A minute later or earlier, I would not have met my friend and Deepa would have had an uninterrupted night’s sleep.
Two amazing after-parties and chance encounters are part of this jigsaw puzzle. I met someone who is interning with us in Mumbai and wants to move to Bangalore. Can I put in a word to help make this possible? This chance conversation will catalyse action. What its outcome is time will tell. It could define which city someone works and lives in and who knows what that in turn will impact.
This is the essence of life. A decision to try a cocktail spotted by a friend leads to a conversation with a stranger. I now have her son’s number saved and I intended to stock my bar with all the Bartisan flavours. They have a new customer and I have a happy memory of a fun conversation plus I learnt quite about the business of mixers. That and all the other moments outside the main conference arena at PRAXIS are as important as all that happened in the hall. In an online-only world, much of this is missing. We are social beings and the need to connect is at the heart of being human.
The two days I spent at PRAXIS9 was full of such encounters. Possibly everyday life is too, but the impact was magnified for me over the PRAXIS weekend. 600 plus people packed into a single venue keen to meet and engage after a few years of being In online boxes seemed to be the perfect melting pot of this mystery called life. How each of these meetings and conversations will weave into the tapestry of my life as the years unfold is the magic. Serendipity or destiny take your pick. But there is a grand design to it all. Of this, I am more convinced than ever. At the first PRAXIS in Pondicherry, a breakfast meeting with Arun Sudhaman is where the seeds of bringing Sabre awards to India in partnership with PRCAI were sown. I wonder what will grow out of PRAXIS9.
Which meetings will catalyse what is something only the future will tell. Today as I sit and write this I remind myself – life is lived in the arena. I have to put myself out there. Take the risks of playing the game and enjoy every minute of the sport. The key I realise is to choose which games I want to be a player in and which I want to be a spectator and possibly which ones I chose not to be part of. It’s important to be in the arena. It’s important also to choose not to enter some arenas. In both cases, I make the choice and then life takes over.
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