By | Nathan SV | Partner and Chief Talent Officer at Deloitte India
This happened a long time ago. I always loved mother’s pickles, the lemon ones were just finger-licking good. My mother had packed a small bottle all packed and was in my cabin luggage, a small satchel. The airlines had introduced some serious checking at the airports, something new in those days. And I was not aware of it. In all ignorance I placed my bag on the scanner and the security guard at the other end stopped me and asked me what I had in the bag.
‘My mother’s home made pickle’, I said with a sense of pride. He looked at me and said in a rather rude way that I could not take it in my handbag. And I asked him what a pickle bottle could possibly do, and tried all my ways of persuasion. He did not budge. ‘Put this into the checked in bag’ he said. And I had nothing to check it in I pleaded. He was adamant, as he should be. The queue was getting backed up.
And then I started pleading with him, and did I look like a person who could do any harm. My words fell on deaf ears and he was getting irritated. Finally, in a rather sentimental way I gifted the bottle to him asking him not throw it into the waste bin. It was my mother’s gift to him I said. And quickly added that he would thank mother if he tasted it. He gave me a blank stare. Just then a smart young man in a white shirt asked me where I was going, walked to the guard said a few words, and took the carefully packed bottle.
It was the commander of the flight I was taking to Hyderabad and he said that he would take it with him for safekeeping. And would give it to me on landing. Upon landing, I was called out and the captain gave me the bottle. He had gone out of his way to do something extraordinary for me. I was touched. I looked into his kind eyes and thanked him profusely and asked him why he stepped out to do this for me. His eyes moistened and he said that he had lost his mother a week ago. ‘I know the value of love packed in a bottle of pickles’ he said. I hugged him, took the bottle and walked away, my eyes welling up with tears.