An event I look forward to attend every year is the annual conference organised by WCA, a network of global logistic companies, at different cities in the world. This year it was held at Abu Dhabi, the oil rich nation of the Middle East. The Gulf, I think truly represents man’s indefatigable resolve and his indomitable spirit to put life in any inhabitable place on the earth. The vast stretches of sand in between sky kissing buildings, long and wide running roads, stand testimony to its once inhospitable terrain. As a first time traveller to this part of world, I was glued to the Etihad airline window peeking out at the legendary land of Camels and Bedouins as it was touching base.
With more than 2500 delegates from 140 countries, the world descends at the WCA event for a week full of business opportunities, forging partnerships, networking over cocktails and savouring the world’s best cuisine.
My most favourite part of the event is the one-on-one meetings with various global players while introducing them to my company and our software to ease their operations. These half hourly pre-scheduled meetings are akin to speed dating, only here two strangers from diverse cultures and nationalities sit across the table and explore mutually benefitting commercial engagements. Towards the end of 30 minutes, the bell chimes nudging both to move on to another half hourly session at some separate table with a new stranger. At the end of the day no one leaves the venue as strangers anymore, they connect for a lifetime.
With a sincere intent to know them and their interests, I often break ice by inquiring about their country, their politics, sports, movies, profession, families, kids, et al. Seldom did I meet anyone who was reluctant or half-hearted in this conversation. Mostly all have been forthcoming in filling an attentive me with information, helping establish a connect.
“What and how much you know about India…?” is a question I frequently ask and have seen many come alive in recounting their tales of their visit here, the cities and people they have met, the food and souvenirs they have bought.
The never-been-here-yet says that India is well up on their bucket lists and a must do before they sign off. Ask them what comes to mind when they hear “India”, its Taj Mahal which tops the list. Surprisingly, Varanasi was the next for quite a few spiritually confused who spoke about the tranquil banks of the Ganges. The enthusiastic Portuguese still see Goa, their colony in the past as a second home and seek updates on their favourite beaches. The female delegates from Algeria were enamoured by our humble Sarees and Indian women who drape the cloth so elegantly. The bonhomie and camaraderie among the delegates from the sub-continent, especially Pakistan is seen to be believed. All from their contingent remember you from the previous events and are eager to catch up and look forward for a day when trade and commerce overcomes historical disputes. The long lines seen at the Indian counter during the daily lunch break shows how much everyone wants a slice of India.
You can’t help but ask the Lebanese, Iraqis, Syrians and people from such conflict ridden countries of the situation there and the challenges they face in doing business. You come to know first-hand how grave the refugee crisis there is when Europeans speak how they are struggling to deal the influx across their borders. Many know how India too dealt with such humanitarian crisis post the 1971 war.
Some well-read and informed participants acknowledge upfront the economic and political powerhouse India is emerging as while retaining its ethnic diversity which is coming apart in many countries.
The level of togetherness and geniality displayed by everyone during the event the place is seen to be believed. How I wish we can replicate this level camaraderie and bonhomie across the man drawn borders transforming it into an Earth Without Boundaries