Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Breakfast With Salman

#RewindWeek from June 2011

"With the brush we merely tint, while the imagination alone produces color." - Theodore Gericault

Once in a while you get the chance to brush by fame. In this case it was Salman Rushdie. Or so I believed it was he when having breakfast at my hotel in London one morning.

I was on a business trip and due to my frequent hotel stays, the club room is a convenience which makes the trip much easier. The quiet of these mornings away from the hustling restaurants are a pleasant and invigorating respite.

There are those who always asked me afterwards, "Why not ask to take a picture, why not engage in a conversation, why not...."

But I did not ask and here is why.

In all of my travels, it is very rare that I come within ear shot or even see famous people. For all of the media exposure so many people get, there are many others who are average, everyday people like you and me.

So it was with great interest to me that the man sitting one table away seemed very familiar. In my hotel in central London, the business lounge provides breakfast on the top floor for members. This particular morning I chose a later time to arrive.

With only three of us in the room, there was no particular reason I sat at a table near this man. The only thing which drove me in that direction was closeness to the television showing international news. It also gave me a clear view of the Thames River.

Maybe the river view was my primary reason for sitting where I did.

There was something about the presence of the man sitting near me. His familiar face told me he was of some importance or celebrity. After a short while it dawned on me that it could very well be Salman Rushdie. Yes, that famous author who wrote Satanic Verses which became the scorn of many Muslims worldwide.

In 1989, Ayatollah Khomeini, (religious leader of Iran at the time) issued a fatwa or decree telling all Muslims to kill Rushdie and his publishers. Salman Rushdie was placed under police protection by the British government. As best I have learned, Salman has not been harmed, but it is said thirty eight others connected with the book have been killed.

The power of the written word still amazes me.

So my mind kept thinking and rationalizing his presence in this place. No body guards or entourage, yet after so many years, I had to think he had slipped back into some level of obscurity and maybe it just was not as big of a concern anymore.

But was it really Salman Rushdie?

I never asked because I have always felt there are times of approach and there are times of quiet. This certainly seemed like a time of quiet. We both nodded a good morning to each other at one point and then left each other to our quiet, peaceful breakfast.

This man may have simply been a person who looked extremely similar to Salman, but I like to think otherwise. My story is that I had breakfast with Salman Rushdie and we enjoyed the peaceful quiet of the morning.

All of us need these quiet moments in time.

It allows us to pull ourselves back from the hurried and noise filled life which surrounds us each day. The quiet allows time to reflect on things that matter to us. A time to let down our guard a little bit and not have to be looking over our shoulder.

Maybe next time I'll ask to be sure, but then again knowing the real answer just might disappoint me. Then the peaceful and quiet breakfast I had with Salman Rushdie will disappear forever for me. And I chose to allow that memory to linger for myself and for Salman as well.

Stay inspired my friends.

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