Intelligent Eyes. That’s the first thing one notices about Manjeet Rajkumar Hirani, the author and lady pilot. Having been a commercial pilot for the past 32 years, there is something about Manjeet that is very different from the rest. It’s like she is able to take an aerial view of life itself.
Growing up as an Army kid, with two elder brothers, Manjeet chose the surprising route of being an air hostess first, before realising her dream of being a pilot. Standing on a podium, beneath a majestic tree, Manjeet conducted a charming interactive session where she spoke of her newly-launched book How to be Human. The book primarily deals with the very many things ‘Buddy’ – her dog – can teach the world with regard to being human.
There is something almost touchingly honest about Manjeet. In a film world populated with airheads and glitz, she comes across as strikingly intelligent and is emphatic in stating that she makes sure to keep a book close to her, no matter where she is. Manjeet has an abiding faith in the Force above and she narrates a comical incident involving a broken zip during a flight over Kathmandu, a region that can truly test the mettle of any pilot.
On first glance, she appears as slightly reserved but once she opens up, she seems like that friend, whose judgment one can truly rely on. Rajkumar Hirani, the celebrated director, may be her better half, but there is a certain quiet strength about Manjeet that is hard to match.
Perhaps, a pilot has to naturally acquire the trait of being equanimous, while manning a huge aircraft and it is this very quality that sets her apart. The film world is often perceived as flaky, with star wives being arm candy, so a star wife being a pilot is a refreshing change indeed!
During the course of our conversation, she spoke about fate and her second book will apparently deal in depth about this subject. When Manjeet Lamba, as she was known in her maiden days, speaks about “fate” and “kismet”, there’s almost a transporting effect one feels as a listener, especially since she was kind enough to give us a glimpse into what she saw while undergoing past life regression therapy.
This commercial pilot seems to have an uncanny talent for remembering dates, a quality both rare and unique. While speaking about her past life, the commercial pilot states that she saw herself in the 16th century and her husband of this lifetime was her spouse even then. Souls apparently migrate in groups and especially in the case of close relationships such as life partners, there is indeed a recurring pattern through many lifetimes.
At many levels, Manjeet feels that past life regression is, in fact, a play of the subconscious, since apparently some of the images that came to her were of places and events of this lifetime. Being an Army kid, she spent the early part of her childhood in Kashmir and during regression, when she was asked to visit a garden, in her mind’s eye, she could only see the garden she saw as a child, growing up in the Switzerland of India.
Raahul S Dutta, a doctor and a hypnotherapist who can help one unravel issues from one’s past life, is the brother of the celebrated actor Divya Dutta. It is him that Manjeet visited for her regression session. Going to a reputed therapist also helps greatly and it helps to stay away from anyone who seems “shady”. Manjeet, who follows the teachings of Osho, says that as pragmatic as he was, Osho himself believed in the concept of reincarnation, simply since it gives one hope. It’s almost as if anything one misses out in this lifetime, one can always come back the next time, to do it. It is strangely comforting, that thought.
Manjeet said that the book Courage by Osho is what started her on her reading journey, since there is always that one book that has the magic of converting one into a real book lover.
Reading the book How to be Human is truly an experience, simply since it is just everyday observations so thoughtfully put. Much like the phrase “common sense is anything but common…” a major portion of the book deals with just simple philosophies that most people tend to forget!
For instance, Manjeet states that Buddy, her dog, is partial towards those who shower him with love and rightly so!
If there is one common thought that runs through the book How to be Human, it is the fact that at its very core, this book is actually about empowering ourselves with wisdom. On the surface, it might seem that the book is a cute and funny tribute to ‘man’s best friend’, but look closer and you will realise that this book actually teaches you how to live.