A few nights ago, my family and I had the pleasure of attending a delightful dinner party at the home of an incredibly interesting individual whom I had been hoping to meet for quite a while.
Our host (who ~ as fate would have it ~ also happens to be a close friend of my wife’s uncle) founded, and is head of, an institute here in Pakistan which is internationally recognized for its research, development, manufacturing and distribution of alternative food and heath products, derived from natural sources. We discovered that his passions for promoting holistic and healthy living were represented even more vividly through his gracious and humble personality, than through the product line of his company, which my family and I utilize often. Both he and his wife seemed to radiate with timeless charm and, during our evening at their simple but elegant home, we engaged in several discussions of mutual interest, including ~ the importance of following one’s passions in life, the excitement which comes with research and experimentation, the quest for new ideas, and the sharing of knowledge internationally for the betterment of all.
The evening’s food was also reflective of our host’s professional work. A gargantuan platter of miti chaval (sweet rice) ~ one of the evening’s deserts ~ was scrumptiously made with only two tablespoons of stivia, replacing what would have been gruesome amounts of bleached and refined white sugar. Though the stivia plant is not indigenous to south-eastern Asia, our visionary host explained to my wife and I how he had been given a few seeds by a friend ~ one of which germinated. Through cloning, his laboratory now grows the plants and he utilizes their sweet extract in many of his products.
Before leaving, each family in attendance was given a crate of fresh organic oranges alongside a decorative wicker gift basket ~ overflowing with herbal remedies, concentrated cinnamon, cardamom and rose flavoured sherbet syrups, as well as a wild assortment of organic preserves, marmalades and jams (ginger, orange, fig, mulberry, carrot…enough to last us well into spring!) ~ testimony to our hosts generous nature and his desire to share the products he is so proud of. In exchange, I too gifted he and his family with several of my little musical offerings and books ~ meager in comparison though to the hospitality, warmth and inspiration my family and I received during the evening.
Since the dinner party, I have been reflecting upon how, in my life ~ in my time and the era of this word’s history that I have occupied ~ I have been somehow gifted with the blessing of meeting not only many of my own personal “heroes” (musicians, writers, thinkers, social activists and others) but also, many incredible individuals who have accomplished tremendous things in their short life spans. Regardless of social popularity, Facebook “Likes” or the number of hits our names may yield in a Google search, I believe that every human being has so much to share with the world. Sadly, however, it seems that so many of us underestimate our experiences, our knowledge or our talents…we let bitterness, irrational fears or our own egos consume us and keep us from contributing to our world in healthy, positive ways.
I discovered later that, my dinner party host had gone through a great many trials and tests in his personal life before he even embarked upon his chosen passions and highly successful professional initiatives. That information raised my opinion of him even higher, for often times, even when we inevitably discover the unpleasant struggles of a hero’s human side, we can still be inspired by their lives if their graciousness overshadows their mistakes, their gratefulness overshadows their bitterness and their humility overshadows their pride.