I met the most fascinating man this week. The connection came through a member of my professional consultants group locally. Terry Lund, a web analytics expert, is working with me on my website stats and he thought Nat Yogachandra would be a good person for me to meet, considering the path I am taking. How right he was.
Nat Yogachandra is a small man who appears to be a giant. He has what we call presence. Without even knowng it. His dazzling smile and frank gaze give one a glimpse into worlds of knowledge he is happy and eager to share.
We met at a local coffee shop-- oh if only we'd all known the power of coffee and put our money into it, instead of those Dick and Jane tech companies of days gone by!--anyway, the coffee shop was new to me. It was small, dimly lit, and bustling with activity, folks coming and going, sitting at the small tables conversing and gesturing with intense concentration. The attractive young woman at the cash register noticed that my "Web Browser" pin--a spider crawling a web-- was upside down, allowing me to fix that faux pax before I met Nat. When he came in, we chose a table in "the other" room, around from the condiments table. Nat takes his coffee black, but I load mine with cream and Equal.
The reason Terry arranged our meeting was to give me a chance to convince Nat to share some of his thoughts and experiences on multiculturalism with me. Why? Because he is deeply into not only the Internet, but into teaching Americans about other cultures, in order to help them be more successful online. His website, KEY Zen International, is a testament to his purpose, and a glance at his board shows the power of his circle of friends and colleagues.
What a marvelous conversation ensued! I listened to Nat tell me about the Baha'i Faith, which promotes the equality of men and women. He shared a family picture with me...a proud Dad and husband, eyes sparkling like sunlight on calm waters-- and he told me stories of his life, stories that resonate with accomplishment-- years spent working for the good of the people, as well as the good of his family. Then he asked about me, sat forward in his chair, attention glued to my face, eyes focused on me, as if I were the most important person in the world and listening to every word I spoke was vital to his existence. After a few moments, we relaxed and began chatting like old friends!
Before parting, Nat and I exchanged copies of our recent books. His book: "Beauty, Bureaucrats and Breaking the Silence: The Status of Women in Asia," is a must-read for all. This book is a wealth of valuable information on the women of Asia. Anyone who truly believes the Internet is global-marketing, needs to read this book and learn how Asian culture is not like our culture, despite the fact that many Asians speak English.
Here is an excerpt from the Preface to whet your appetite:
"From Bangkok to Beijing, women have made significant progress in reducing gender disparities. They are now speaking out against century old traditions of repression and adversity. As the region becomes modernized and economically advanced, the women have become less inhibited about coming to terms with the past. In recent months, women in South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Phillipines-- who were recruited to provide sexual services to Japanese troops occupying their countries in World War II-- have joined their voices to demand compensation and an apology for their victimization. By doing so, they have increased the awareness of the exploitation of Asian women across national and cultural boundaries, and have become united to demand justice."
I plan on many more meetings with Nat. We have much to discuss, and his help on writing on women and multiculturalism, is crucial for my next book. Out of that, I see a warm friendship developing. What better world is there to live in than one that allows your colleagues to also be your friends?
And, what's not to like about that?