It was summer holidays after 10th. I was 17 and awkward like hell! My body felt like the ugliest thing on this planet. I hated the high pitch sound of my voice. I could never get the wave of my hair right. When I was with people of my age, I was constantly on high alert, wondering “What are they thinking about me? Am I cool enough?"
Then, one day he came home to meet my mother. He asked me what I’m doing. I asked him what he does. He said he is a carpenter. Seemed strange. I’d never met a carpenter who drove a red Lamborghini! I told him I have a set of tools and love making things every now and then. He invited me to his workshop. I went.
I started spending hours at his workshop every day. I would just sit and watch. I would pick up some sandpaper and help the workers. I would ask him hundreds of questions. He would tell me his stories. He would tell me about the stupid mistakes he’s made in his life.
He was a 6’3" tall, 55 year old Parsi gentleman, who has silver hair, and lived next door to his girlfriend’s apartment! They even had a connecting door between their living rooms. We became great friends. I could open up and be myself with him.
Last evening I received this note from a dear young friend “You are the first older person who I feel is of my age... So it feels good to share things with you 🙂❤". She had made me smile. I closed my eyes and remembered my friend Adi Billimoria, who passed away when I was around 20. May God bless his soul!
Adi (yep, my friends call me that too!), taught me to look at people with eyes of respect. He never made me feel I was younger. He treated me like an equal. He challenged me. He questioned me. At times, he even mocked me. But, he saw me as me, not as member of my age group. That made all the difference. He played an important role in making me who I am, because he gave me his “eyes of respect". Thank you, Adi!