A stroopwafel never ceases to surprise me. Deliciously popular with its origin in my current city, yet I’ve never had one. Easy to miss the best things unless they dance in front of you wearing Dobby’s tea cosy. Syrup within the stiff dough, conflict between natural perception and reality, an ignorant soul won’t know what awaits him. Such complexity, yet it all melts when you keep it on a warm drink. A freezing Monday morning suddenly turns into a sunny Saturday afternoon.
I met Ekta Shetty at work. She was an intern elsewhere, enthusiastic yet understated. Not a word out of place, composed and with a bright smile with a tingle of mischief. Humans tend to box each other in harmless judgements – almost like filing away memories and first impressions – boxes that are often inaccurate and shallow. I put her in the wrong boxes and soon learnt a lesson. Through the years, she has been my eye opener and a doorway to an understanding of the big picture.
We stayed in touch, my route was steady and she was flying places – our first real meetings were just before she took off for Singapore on an impressive assignment that involved working with world class teams on projects dealing with world leaders in business. I was amazed and inspired then, sparking off a conversation that soon led to us working together.
A dear friend, Ekta helped me look within as we shared our demons and what got us down. Lars Dalgaard asks us to “kill the monsters of the mind” in his essay on building weatherproof companies. One of my monsters is anxiety – a particular train of thought that is a never ending self defeating battle – linked to a lack of fundamental self belief. In Ekta, I witnessed a comfortable self assurance. She made mistakes, owed up to them, publicly and privately, and without a trace of shattering embarrassment that I would imagine myself going through in the same situation. She helped me grow. This, in addition to introducing me to the world of finer fashion, finer music and finer food. And being my partner in crime for the most inappropriate sense of humour.
She is not an easy woman. Layers within layers, yet stark transparency when you least expect it and some hilarious behavioural patterns. Quite a limerick. Quite a dusk – neither the sun nor the night – neither melancholy nor a cheer – perhaps what you want to make of it. It is pleasantly surprising to note her achievements, a list which will not tumble out unless there is a careful attentive questioning. You may mistakenly box this stroopwafel with other basic cookies, thus missing out on a gem.
She codes, she runs, she teaches, saying she loves dogs would be an understatement, she works out like an expert, she runs, people know her, she knows people, she works very hard and she is rare. A fabulous colleague, a staunch compatriot and an absolute nut.
Lots of love, little one. Rule the world.