Exactly a week ago, on 03 March 2014 to be precise, I was doing some work on my PC. It was late in the evening, past 9 PM, and it was sheer luck that I was logged in on Skype at that hour. Normally I log off after working hours, at about 6 PM. But not on this day, because I forgot that I was still logged in. Because destiny wanted it otherwise.
So, at about 9.15 PM, I had a message pop up on my screen. It was Dr Mel Gill wanting to know if I was available for a chat. Boy ! Was I available ???
Those who have read my blog earlier would probably recognize his name, as I have written about him in the past as well, and also have a page dedicated to him. I must admit I was taken by surprise. I have been a fan and follower of Dr Gill for quite some time now, and have also been connected with him on Facebook, and he had earlier shared his Skype ID as well, but we never got around to actually having a chat there. Anyway, coming back to the point – we started chatting.
Dr Gill mentioned his long terms plan of bringing his training programmes, films, and books to India, and I was thrilled to hear that, because I have long wished for a one-to-one interaction with him. As we were speaking, he also mentioned that over the weekend he would be visiting Bangkok to conduct a seminar. I was elated to hear this – Thailand has visa on arrival facility for Indians. Here was an opportunity to get to meet him in person ! However, just as soon as my elation had appeared, it was replaced by a sense of despair. My passport had been submitted for renewal just a few days ago and there was no hope of getting it so quickly.
Little did I realize then that destiny was playing a hand again. My passport got delivered to me the next day ! And with the passport returned the hope of flying out to meet Dr Gill in Bangkok. Next step- to organize a ticket to Bangkok and back. My wife happens to be an airline employee and is entitled to rebated tickets for self and family, so I asked her to apply for a ticket for me, which she did promptly, only to be told that there was an embargo on staff travel on the Bangkok route. And so my hopes took a dive again.
However, she learnt that the embargo could be waived by the higher authorities, and so began the running around to get the waiver, which eventually happened the next day – a day before I was scheduled to fly out. By the time we got the ticket issued it was already late afternoon, and thereafter I rushed to the office of a very dear friend who is also an industry colleague. Within a matter of a few minutes, he had my hotel booked, and my airport transfers in Bangkok arranged. Last step was to pick up foreign exchange. BY the time I got back home it was late evening, finally relieved that all had been organized and I was all set to fly out the next morning.
But once again I was jolted out of this sense of complacency by a phone call that my wife received from a colleague of hers, who informed her that staff ticket holders were only accepted for travel if they had obtained a prior visa from India, and once again my hopes were dashed. A few phone calls later to friends in the airline, I was finally relieved to know that the shift duty officer had the discretion to accept such cases, and was assured that such a discretion would be applied in my case.
And so I flew to Bangkok on Friday, 7th March 2014, and arrived there late in the evening. The sole purpose of this trip was supposed to be to get to meet Dr Gill – someone whom I have idolized for a long time. After checking into the hotel, I called Jes, his associate in Bangkok to inquire as to when I could get to meet Dr Gill, and once again got a pleasant surprise. Not only did Dr Gill want to meet with me, he also wanted me to attend his seminar on both the days. This was too good to be true and I just couldn’t believe my luck !
So next morning I found myself on a cab heading towards the seminar venue, and reached there well before it was due to start. Shortly thereafter, Dr Gill arrived there and I finally got to meet him face to face. A big hug later, we sat down and chatted for a while, before the seminar commenced. Dr Gill and his Thai associates treated me like a guest of honour and I was humbled at the warmth of their welcome. They went out of their way to make me comfortable. The seminar, which was titled “Developing An Enlightened Mind” was an excellent one. Dr Gill is an accomplished speaker who holds the audience in rapt attention throughout. That, coupled with his tremendous sense of humor makes a great combination, and it was a huge privilege for me to be able to participate in this amazing event.
As a person, I found Dr Gill to be wonderful, warm and very down to earth, despite his formidable reputation as a speaker and motivational coach. When I had initially met him, I was in awe of him but soon found myself warming up to him, as he went out of his way to make me feel comfortable. I was the only foreigner in the seminar room, and though the initial moments were awkward for me, I soon found myself feeling a part of the group, differences of nationality and cultures notwithstanding. The other attendees, all Thai nationals, went out of their way to make me feel at ease. On both the days I found myself seated at Dr Gill’s table for lunch, and on both the evenings, he invited me to join him for dinner at his hotel, where I got an opportunity to know him even better. The more I got to know him, the more I found myself liking him. What also excited me was the fact that he wanted to bring his programmes, films and books to India and that somewhere in the coming future, I would perhaps be able to play a small role in it.
Which brings me back to the subject of destiny. I am a strong believer that destiny has a strong role to play in our lives, and the way this whole trip came about has only served to reinforce this belief. It was no coincidence that I had not logged out of Skype on the day of our first contact. It was no coincidence that my passport arrived when I least expected it to. It was no coincidence that despite all odds I was able to get the staff ticket to travel to Bangkok at such a short notice. And it was no coincidence that I managed to travel even without an advance visa being stamped in my passport. This was destiny at work. We were destined to meet, and I was destined to get an opportunity to enhance my learning through him. And who knows what the future has in store, but one thing I am sure of – there is a grand design at work somewhere and perhaps when the time is right, things will fall in place. And I am eagerly looking forward to that happening.
This trip was no accident, and I am sure that this is only the beginning.