Remembering My Friend Zelma Lazarus
In a world of hate and division where leaders are crawling over each other to get ahead, Zelma was one of the few who brought love, writes Anthony A. Rose.
A few days ago I received the sad news that my beloved friend Zelma Lazarus was no more.
Zelma was one of the greatest influences in my life. A personality that I had only read about earlier, surrounded by her fame, recognition and influence arising from her amazing creation – The Lifeline Express.
When we connected in early 2011 to feature her in my book “Daddy’s Logic: live a life of No limits, No Excuses, No Regrets”, I expected to meet someone who was coasting in life on her success– but instead I met the ever zestful, eloquent, loving, magical and amazing ZELMA. Of the 90 mins of that first conversation, she spent just 15 of them on the past – and the rest on what was yet to come. Her hopes, her ambitions for the Lifeline Express and IMPACT INDIA, her dreams in support of the country she truly loved – India.
In a world of hate and division where leaders are crawling over each other to get ahead, Zelma was one of the few who brought love. Love simply for the sake of building you up, of making you better, of making you the best version of yourself you could be.
Her soft exterior hid a deadly, steely will that blitzed through any challenge or obstacle that dared to stand in her way. Ideas and suggestions rolled off her head in an avalanche of support and encouragement. Her passion for an idea, a big dream, of making the world a better place left a lasting impression on me. I remember that first interview I did with her for my book and left feeling “WOW. WOW. WOW.” Little wonder that Zelma’s chapter in my book was titled “DREAM BIG.”
In a world of political correctness, Zelma was more interested in doing what was right! And getting the job done! She wasted little time or patience on fools. But not in a disrespectful way. Gently, through her actions. She was focused on her goals, on what she could contribute to society and the world, and she was unstoppable.
On Feb 18, 2016 when we launched the India Edition of Break the Ceiling touch the sky® - the success and leadership summit for women, Zelma was there with us at the summit in Mumbai in her beautiful pink sari, and I will never ever forget the words she used onstage to underline her core principles that led to her own success. She held the audience spellbound as she talked about her popular theme “Stick your neck out”.(She also carried onstage her own props which she very causally brought out for a great photo opportunity)
“Don’t take NO for an answer if you believe in something” shared Zelma.
She added; “Because NO simply means NEXT OPPORTUNITY.”
Thunderous applause from the audience.
Zelma had given all of us a rallying cry that has sustained me over the years in the best and worst of times.
Rest easy my beloved friend. Guide. Mentor. Thank you for your love. Your support. Your friendship. In India and around the world, millions are saddened by your death, but inspired by your life. I’ll miss your one liners of encouragement and support. I will miss you.
Your words NO MEANS NEXT OPPORTUNITY resonate in my ears, fill my heart with hope and mind with resolve as we seek to emulate your example of shaping a better world.
I love you ZELMA., Zelma the ZESTFUL, Zelma the ELOQUENT, Zelma the LOVING, Zelma the Magical, Zelma the Amazing.
Till we meet in heaven.
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