I was just enjoying a bit of a foray into the internet and social media world when, suddenly, a greeting flashed up at the bottom of my screen. “Moi,” it said. The word, “hi” was thoroughly Finnish but spoken by a former member of our cabin crew from Mumbai.
We said a quick hello and compared our rosters. I had a spell of no shifts coming up, marked with a long row of OFFs on my roster. “Wow, take off and come here. Stay with us and do a course or volunteer or something. Too many offs doesn`t suit you!” he replied.
His reply made me smile and reminded me of something an Indian acquaintance once said about his home country; Indians might be separated by a multitude of languages and culinary traditions, but one thing they all have in common is the warmth of their hospitality. I thought that was beautifully put.
The idea began to grow wings and our messages were rapidly flying back and forth across the information highway. I nodded and shook my head in proper Indian style to express my enthusiasm as I listened to my friend talk about the unifying impact of Bollywood on the Indian nation. We also discussed the role of dance as a shared global language. I didn’t voice my suspicion that we reserved Finns might well find it easier to master Hindi and Marathi than to get our hips moving.
As our flurry of communications began to wind down and I had a chance to draw breath, I suddenly recognised what I was feeling – it was most definitely a strong sense of joy. An emotion that is rarely associated with either of our countries, but is demonstrably very much alive in both.
And there we had it, a Finnish-Indian, or should I say Findian, grand plan and instead of a row of OFFs, my roster now said “Take-off to Bollywood!”.
Before my keyboard had a chance to cool down, I phoned a colleague who is familiar with the company slogan “Designed for you”, but who also has a genuine love for everything home-made, hand-made and genuine. Under these values, we brought together a group of colleagues, even drafting in a pilot, and set about turning that plan into reality on flight AY 021 Helsinki to Delhi. All sorts of funny things happened on our spontaneous trip but that is a whole other story.
Today, the 26th of January, is the Republic Day of India and we were extremely happy to Bolly through the woods to send you our greeting with respect and joy to spend this special day with you all over India!