Last week Bollywood actress Shabana Azmi while interacting with some film students in an online session remembered her interaction with Hollywood actor, Kevin Spacey years ago in which he apparently said that how he disguised himself and travelled in New York metro—to remain connected with the world. He used to observe their lifestyle to bring that realistic acting in his role.
Azmi said “What happens in the process of becoming a star, is that you will start losing your contact of everyday people. You never get into a rickshaw, you never travel by bus, you never speak to the grocer. So you get more and more isolated. In the process of becoming a star you lose what it is to be an actor, which is basic connection to your life.” Azmi asked the young students to follow this mantra and said that even established actors did so. She concluded saying “You have to develop the humility that you are not the centre of the earth.”
I remembered this on this Tuesday while traveling between Indore and Bhopal by road. I stopped over at Sole Retreat hotel to use their bathroom. I got down and straight went to the washroom with mask covering my face. The hotel eating out area was completely empty except four people eating their snacks standing in one corner. I generally have the habit of asking the front desk personnel’s permission to use their washroom since am not going to spend any money on any of their facilities. Since the front desk was also empty at that moment I walked straight to the washroom. Their washroom was not just well maintained but no hotel in my entire trip of 600 odd kms from Nashik could come closer to it when it came to washroom hygiene.
One may argue saying that these facilities had no guest for the last six months and even now people are not coming to hotels, so obviously it could be maintained. But my argument is even other hotels were also in the same situation.
On my return, while crossing the front desk again, my attention was on the entire ambience of the eating out area. I completely missed, that the front desk staff has returned. As I was walking away from them showing my back, a voice from the front desk gave me a sense of warmth. It just said “namaste sir.”
Since am a regular traveller, I understand the hidden agenda behind such greetings. When the guest turn to greet them back, the front desk is trained to lure them by saying that why they don’t try out their food court. Most decent guests, out of guilt, at least buy a cup of hot beverage or a water bottle. So when he feels not spending, he walks away as if he didn’t hear the greetings.
But to me that “namaste” was a pure greeting. It had no hidden agenda. I just turned and said “namaste” in a tone, which a person with of lot of humility can understand. It meant “I will return later as am in a hurry now.” He simply said “sir” in another tone by keeping his hand to his chest—which meant “thank you sir for assuring me to return.” And Azmi said exactly this—a well “connected” actor (read also professional) speaks less but conveys several meanings through his eyes, actions and tonality.
Funda is that humility keeps you grounded, strengthen observation power, and help you understand several unspoken words.