Remarkable persons; sweet people, kind people, talented and/or unique personalities. From now on I will portray one of those persons in a special post each monday: Monday Meetings.
Today’s portrait is that of a young Indian woman named Pooja.
We stayed in the Westin Hotel in Pune, India, for months. In the mornings we were met for breakfast, almost daily, by one particular hostess of hotel restaurant Seasonal Tastes.
|Pooja and me, posing in restaurant Seasonal Tastes, Westin Hotel, Pune|
Although she was young and tiny built, she made a professional and strong impression. Her approach and assistance were perfect and personal.
One day I fell ill and was feeling really under the weather for a week or so. When I re-appeared at breakfast she surprised me with a sweet get-well-card from the staff. Clearly initiated and fabricated by her. I teared up on the spot ;-).
|Such a sweet card and gesture! I was very moved by it.|
A few months later we left India for a while and this coincided with her quitting her job in order to focus on her studies again.
She then sent me a FaceBook request, which I hesitantly accepted.
For me, that was that.
But not for her. She took more initiative and showed more enthusiasm towards me then vice versa. I was a bit puzzled by this contact and what to do with it.
When we returned to Pune, months later, Pooja got all excited on FaceBook. She insisted we should meet, saying she had missed me.
“Well, we can always meet once and have a coffee…”, I said to myself. So we arranged a meeting.
When she saw me she practically ran into my arms, overloading me with gifts. Several cards that she had fabricated and decorated herself, with sweet words written on them. And two bracelets, especially made for me. Very cute, red, made with the tiniest beads possible.
|Pooja in informal attitre.|
|One of many gifts from Pooja.|
|She makes the cards herself.|
|She also makes the flower decorations from rolled up paper.|
|First of many bracelets that she made. It must be so much work, with all the miniscule beads!|
I never expected this and was touched. We talked and talked and arranged another meeting.
Over the next months we saw each other a number of times and I can honestly say that we became real friends. She amazed me again and again. I liked her already, but when I got to know her better I discovered what a special girl she is.
Maybe you wonder what makes her so special…. Well, let me tell you a bit more about her:
Pooja is 21 years old and has a younger brother and sister.
|With Pooja’s younger brother, who often picks her up with his motorbike at night, for safety reasons.|
Her mother was married of to Pooja’s father at the age of 13!!!! She gave birth to Pooja when she was only 14!. Fortunately her parents have a good marriage, despite this beginning. Her mother though, has decided upon her own experience, that she does not want Pooja to get married at that young age. She wants her to develop herself. To study, to have a career, to follow her dreams.
This already, I find very remarkable. Her mother must be a smart, strong woman, with modern ideas.
And so is Pooja. Her ideas are autonomous, intelligent, modern and brave.
I am always amazed by people who think out of the box, who break patterns and conventions.
Pooja wants to become an air hostess, mainly to discover the world. She wants to travel; Pune and India are too small for her.
Getting a passport was step one. This may sound easy, but this is India, so it has been a struggle and a wait, but she succeeded. Now she is in the process of job interviews with airlines. She is determined, strong-willed and ambitious. Her future employer is going to be happy to have her work for them; no doubt she will be a real asset for any company.
She wants to wait with marriage untill she is about 28 years old. And she does not want one of those marriages with 700 people, lasting 7 days, leaving her family bankrupted or in debt, as is not unusual in India. If her future husband does not agree with that, he can leave;-). Unorthodox thoughts, again!
Initially I wondered why a 21 year old Indian girl would be drawn to me, a white 57 year old woman….
Talking to her I began to understand. For her I am a role model. She sees me as an older woman who leeds a lively life. With travels, photography, and looking fashionable. “You are my style icon”, she said to me, “every morning when you stepped into the breakfast restaurant looking fashionable and pretty, you made my day.” How surprising and sweet, to hear that from a young girl!
She makes jewelry and she told me: “Before I knew you, I had only two designs in my head. But now…..! You are my inspiration! Ideas are flowing over. I’m gonna make you a new piece of jewelry each time we meet!”.
And she did. Unbelievable how many bracelets, earrings and even a headpiece she made for me. All very pretty and such a meticulous work it must be, with these tiny beads.
|The collection kept growing.|
|After the bracelets came the earrings. All different colors and designs.|
|And finally there is this headpiece. Something I will probably not wear in Holland, but who knows…|
(If you are interested in purchasing a piece of jewelry by Pooja, you can message her on FaceBook. She can make a customized piece for you. You will have a unique, affordable piece and you are helping Pooja in realizing her dreams.
No, this is not a sponsored post;-). Just putting the spotlights on a friend who’s creations deserve some attention.)
Pooja, sometimes on her own, sometimes with her good friend Ruby, went for dinner and tango with us several times.
Open-minded as she is, Pooja was eager to give it a try.
|Leading and teaching Pooja.|
Ruby, one of her best friends, is a professional musician. She sings, plays guitar and piano. Despite never doing much networking or advertising, she gets asked for performances a lot.
If you would like to know and hear more from her, check out her FaceBook Page here and here.
You know my feelings and concerns about India and in particular about women in India. You can read more about that here, here, here, here and here.
Women like Pooja, however, give me hope for India;-). I see a bright future for her. Initially as an air hostess. In the further future she might become a manager, an entrepreneur or even a politician. Who knows…time will tell…
Unexpected encounters like these are precious and special. Meeting amazing people is what it is all about, don’t you think?
Did you have any special encounters lately?