Fuelled By Love: The Other Side of Flying.

My maiden voyage to the exotic country of Japan had been long, one half day stretching well into the night before finally landing early hours in the morning coupled with one stopover in between. I was too excited to sleep that night and woke up as early as around 4 AM the next morning. Peeping out of my aeroplane window through half sleepy eyes, I was amazed at the brilliant light that splashed across the horizon.

Sunrise from my flight to Japan

No wonder they call this land ‘The Land of the Rising Sun’!

My flight of joy was soon stimulated by the airhostess zeroing in with a plateful of morning breakfast. Dead hungry as I was, disappointment soon set in; as soon as I realized that the meal being served was non vegetarian.

I tried explaining the air hostess that we (I had my father for an amazing company!) were pure vegetarians and inquired if there was a vegetarian option onboard. The airhostess stared at me blankly for a few seconds and shrugged her shoulders. We were flying Japanese Airlines. And, it was at that moment that I got my first taste to what is popularly known as culture shock: She did not comprehend the language of English. I took resort to sign language and this time, she nodded her head eagerly, rushing out of our sight in a jiffy. I and my father exchanged a few glances hoping that she would soon return with something for us to eat.

She did. With two packets of “vegetarian” rice and curry. Unfortunately it still contained egg and we passed it for our own good thanking her generously for her enthusiastic efforts.

A Japanese showpiece showcasing their impeccable customs.

She smiled warmly with the most compassionate eyes
conveying a ‘Sorry’ simultaneously evaluating other eating alternatives
that could be OK with us.

Our flight landed in a couple of hours from then...

How evanescent that incident in this distance of time… an incident that I never mentioned anywhere in my Japan diary back when I took the trip in 2012. Until today that is, when I saw this new video by British Airways speaking showcasing a loving bond between a British Airways crew member and an Indian elderly lady which inspired me to pick this thread again.

This video reminded me of her, and of the innumerable deep loving bonds, attachments and friendships that we form while traversing on our respective ways in life and how deeply achingly beautiful some of these really are. The video reminded me of the power of love!

A big container vessel – this life, it holds within itself a gamut of people, fuelled with a wide variety of emotions, experiences and stories. We all fly individually, in different dimensions, draped in varied costumes of nationality, colours, races, religions, et al but when fuelled by love – we bind in humanity. The differences no longer make any difference. Instead, we find joy in our similarities. We transform. We heal. We open. We are vulnerable. We connect.

We become family.
Don't we?

Happy Joyful family

... FAMILY ...
Where hearts are warmed by the smiles that they give and the thank you’s that we say.
Where respect is earned by the service that they give and the gratitude that we feel.

British Airways couldn't have chosen a more apt title for their video – Fuelled by Love. Only when love is the source of our actions, do touching experiences gain wings in the temple of our spirits. Experiences so powerful... they transcend us into a heart-warming land that is created by love. That land where ways of love and loving back can never be taught or learnt or borrowed from one generation to the next. For they are felt by the heart to be shared munificently between one individual and the other. Like the lady and the crew member in the British Airways video. Like the airhostess and me in my flight from India to Japan.

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  1. Fabulously narrated. I could totally relate to the "vegetarian" part. It's really difficult for us to explain and for them to understand. But truly love breaks all barriers:)

  2. What a heart warming post,Arti! I feel like I am watching a film of you and the air hostess on the plane. I really can image that situation happened to you and your father. I liked to see the British Airways. Thank you for sharing. I hope love makes the world into one.
    Have a happy weekend.

  3. Beautiful, the way you narrated the incident and of course her response, understanding your need and trying to fulfilling it was quite touching. There’s no language for love, a feel that born with everyone… perhaps the way difference, but enhances the same.

  4. Travel brings so many good experiences . This British Airway ad is one such beautiful story. And as a vegetarian I can totally relate to your experience.. :)

  5. I wonder how you would fare in the US, Arti, as a true vegan. Was it hard to find foods you could eat in Japan and Australia? You are such a traveler, but I assume in India many places serve strictly vegan food.

    1. A bit I would say, Barb, especially in Japan where we read that fish is used as a base in most of their dishes. But it turned out pretty good in the end. Almost everyone we met there: strangers, friends, everyone was so helpful in understanding our needs and helping us in our quest for vegetarian food. Ask the beautiful lady commenting above - Tomoko-san; she walked miles just to find us vegetarian food in Nara and we were hosted by our Japanese blogger friends on an all exquisite vegetarian meal especially prepared for us. Besides that, we had a good stack of fruits, biscuits and chocolates to keep us company. It was an incredibly overwhelming experience for both, me and my father, as first time travellers to a foreign land.

      In Melbourne, we managed to find a temple that served pure vegetarian food, so we made frequent rounds there. You are absolutely bang on about India, there is no dearth of pure vegetarian restaurants and eateries here, such a lifestyle is common and forms a major part of our culture.

  6. Being in an Unknown land should I say unknown Sky : can feel the warmth of your words Arti :)

  7. Very Interesting Post! when i was reading this post i feel it's related to me. Thanks for this fabulous post.

  8. "Only when love is the source of our actions, do touching experiences gain wings in the temple of our spirits." - Love this Arti! You have become quite a poet and your writing is colored by love! Happy weekend!

  9. Thank you for sharing these experiences with us. Having visited Japan several years ago Mr T didn't so much have trouble with the food as the beds which his being six foot three inches were never long enough.

  10. A beautiful post Arti, and could relate it well being a vegetarian myself:)

  11. Touching and beautiful post. What an unforgettable experience! Love reading the message of love, Arti! :)

  12. Thank you for this post, Arti. I was reminded that even if we can’t do something special to meet other person’s need, love (in a word) including compassion, sensitiveness, thoughtfulness…and the efforts to try to make it real doesn’t fail to touch human heart. Regarding true vegetarian, I found Japanese “dashi” (soup stock) made out of fish and seaweeds is a big problem as it is invisible but is used in many sorts of Japanese cuisine including seemingly only tofu and vegetables. I still remember that we ate our modest lunch whispering to each other while breeze caressed our face comfortably in the corner of a temple; apples for you and a bean-jam bread for me.


  13. Love their video and love your post :-)

  14. Beautiful. It's rare to read such stories. :-) Travel gives us so much.

  15. How beautifully you have made the memories, such warmth.

  16. Such a heart-warming post, Arti! And, beautifully narrated...it was like watching a movie... :-)

  17. It is challenging to find vegetarian food, right?
    Nice put together,Arti.
    Have a lovely week. :)

  18. Heard the Veggie challenge before, My husband and my mother both great travellers ask for fruits. They say it is the safest.

  19. A touching post Arti!And yes, when fuelled by love- we bind in humanity! You have written it so well.. almost poetic..:) :)

  20. Arti , most of the japanese food items are natural non veg . But rice may be veg , ironically you could not get it as pure veg . Pictures attracts everyone , actually I appreciate their culture very much .

  21. That was a wonderful post Arti. And yes, as you rightly said, we have to be vulnerable to be able to connect !


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