This month last year, I met Michael Phelps. The meeting was in the works for 15 years in the universe. It was the most crazy manifestation I ever brought about in my life, without even working for it. And the year before, that was about willing Will Smith into my life.

That meeting taught me a lot. I met Will Smith in 2018 at a high-profile dinner in Delhi, where the crème de la crème had gathered to bond over cocktails and great food. As he entered the venue with his limited entourage in tow, his energy changed the soirée’s feel. He went about meeting everyone like they were his best friends. He listened to everyone patiently, giving people fist bumps, high-fives, complimenting my friend on her Frida Kahlo wallpaper and discussing Indian pop culture scene with me. He towered over everyone, pun intended, and offered to click selfies when he didn’t fit the frame.

Unlike the celebrities who like to put on a pretence, Smith was very real and inspiring. It changed something inside me. Will Smith @teamwilldaily wants to inspire people by walking amongst them, by showing them that he is made of the same blood and bones. If he could achieve it, then anyone could. Click To Tweet

That’s why he likes to mingle with people, to inspire them. If that’s not genuinely kind then what is? This Hollywood bigwig, does he need to? So, Shalini Pandey to answer your question about who taught me to be loving towards strangers, Will Smith did. That day, I realised inspiring others to maximise their potential is love. Just meeting people mindfully is also kindness. And doing so without any expectation is easier (unless it is my book that you have borrowed, in which case I’d want it returned). Also, Hetal Sonpal, I have answered your question: how I met Michael Phelps. Since you are a prolific writer, would you please write a piece on the travails of a write-on-the-deadline writer, I could really do with some tips.

As the year comes to a close, it fills me with excitement for all the new things that will unfold in a few days. Is it just me or does December really intoxicate with gratitude for the amazing things that happened in the year gone by? Yes, the still-unrolling pandemic is a tough time. But it taught this hamster to jump off the wheel. I spent time with my kids, it brought us closer as a family, and I also got a job that was absolutely tailor-made for me. I also contracted Corona in August, and my husband and I were delighted that we would be able to roam about freely, because immunity. The only complaint I have from Covid the great teacher is that everyone told me it leads to weight loss, but I just grew, erm, weightier.

When I tell people I am kinda enjoying this phase, they think I am being an optimist. They haven’t met Harshita Goyal yet. She got hit by a truck, is working to recover movement in her body, and her point of view on life is legendary. 

Not a day has passed when I have not thought of writing about how helpless I felt reading about your accident, Harshita. But I don’t want to corrupt your spirit with my emotional prattle. You inspire me so much.

This platform has introduced me to a world full of magical people, who share the best slice (and hot dogs) from their life for everyone to relish. You sure agree with me, because in December (which still has a few days to go), this community published 166 posts in the first half of the month.

A big applause to Swati Gunwat, for she alone published 9 posts (until Dec18). And in the same period, more than 5,600 comments were made. Ankit Vyas, just so you know, not forgetting “those who gave nice comments”. Here’s a shoutout to Ankit, Niren, Akshay, Shalini, Diya and Mira who always have the right word of encouragement, they leave such wonderful comments on every post. That one member who has said the most number of great things is Amruta, 340 comments at the last count. Ravi Trivedi if you are still wondering, Mira, Sushree Diya and Amruta got the highest number of upvotes on their comments. And Sushree Diya was quite a star with two of her posts getting the maximum number of comments, one was the Christmas post and the other, The Little Girl Who Loved Flowers.

Subhas Iyer has inspired me to aspire to get The Best Compliment from My Children. In case my kids fail to recognise the gift of me in their life, I already know how to handle criticism. If that also doesn’t help, I have handy tips on changing behavioural patterns (you think these will work on pre-schoolers?). Just kidding, I do know what is foundational to relationships.

As for professional success, there is Walk the Dragon for me. If you wish, you could check out SMisra’s posts, she sums up the key points from the sessions well. Some more entrepreneurship lessons, if you please. Otherwise be like Vejay Mehta, just read a nice book and implement the learnings.

There is just so much for everyone on this platform. There are writers, poets, even singers — we could have our own season of OSDotMeGot Talent. Some poems (here, here, here, and here). Our Indian Idols here, here and here. As for dancing, well, wasn’t it amazing to shake a leg with Om Swamji at his virtual birthday party? It was an absolute joy. And then I read an evocative description of Swamiji’s Sufi dance of the Sema ritual. Lucky!

And that’s what makes this platform unique, it allows us to be ourselves, it gives us tools to support each other, it gives me a purpose. Peeush puts it beautifully when he says we are beautiful souls connected through thoughts. Some call it a place where they can write and grow. It’s the most truthful and kindest corner on the internet. But what does mean to you, do tell me in the comments below.

I hope you had a merry Christmas. Wishing you a happy New Year! Until next…

PS: Did you get a chance to catch up with Kailash Kher

Will smith medha shri dahiya
Back to the times when i met author amish tripathi and actor will smith