Aishwarya, Abishek & Magic Bus India
It is one of the many pleasures of my job that I get to see past perceptions and meet ‘real’ people.
On the 14th November Magic Bus India hosted a children’s party to celebrate ‘Children’s Day’ at the Mumbai Cricket Association in Mumbai. The honoured guests were Bollywood stars Abishek Bachchan and Aiswarya Rai.
The children from one of the communities in Mumbai were full of energy and excitement. Preoccupied as children ar with laughing and playing. It still is one of the wonders of the world that young people from such difficult backgrounds smile and engage with such warmth.
The Magic Bus Staff and Mentors were their usual professional selves. None appeared to be star stuck or inhibited by being in the presence of such illuminati – despite the media crush of photographers, film and reporters all wanting their ‘piece’ of the guests time.
And Abishek and Aishwarya. When I told people I would be attending this function on behalf of my work everyone went ‘WOW!’ Our guests are Bollywood royalty. So I was a little concerned that they would just be attending for a media coup to further their own interests. How wrong I was!
There are a few people in the world who can engage with others, no matter their background, colour or creed and help them feel the most important people to them at that moment in time. Abishek and Aishwarya are two of those people. They played with the children. Laughed and joked. They had conversations with the Magic Bus Mentors and the Staff.
They gave the media what they needed – and their was very special interest as their daughter is one year’s old on the 16th – a very special birthday for the parents in India.
They then spent time after the media had finished with the children and staff of Magic Bus. Natural and engaging at whatever stage of the event. Yes, they are actors – but even actors would struggle to maintain a level of confidence and humility under such media pressure.
I also managed to have a 15 minute conversation with them over dinner. They were interested in me, who I am and what I do. They also answered my questions on their lifestyle and India with a certain pride and confidence but never making me feel ‘you are in the presence of higher beings’. It was a wonderful 15 minutes and once again restored my faith in humanity. Those that ‘have’ are human beings too.
It was a great experience where the contradictions that is India, and Mumbai in particular collided. But the resulting collision wasn’t a tragedy, but a fusion of human energy. All who took part in the event showed what is possible when positive human nature is allowed to prosper.
I won’t forget the experience, and I doubt the Magic Bus Children will either. I hope it is also etched on the memories of Abishek and Aishwarya too.
If I get to meet them in the future I will ask.