Sunday, June 10, 2018

The ex-PW club

#101st POST:
I wrote this story almost a decade back. This is one of the 30 stories I wrote that felt intuitively a movie script. I tried marketing it on Twitter by writing to Tamil and Hindi movie production houses but nothing transpired. I showed it a half a dozen friends and they also felt: This looks a movie script.
           “The ex-PW club” is a story of a model who is a born survivor and reaches the pinnacle of glamour world through grit and smart networking. I based this story from pUsHpA my sole date in life so far – this model Pushpa (the fictional one) had four lovers and this I conjured from my own Sindhi tryst. Bits and pieces of her past lovers and oodles of imagination and this story felt tailored to a cine screen. But I never had the energy to chase any director or production houses. Last month I sent this tale to my IMT friends on Facebook:  Smita, Anu, Deepak, Ashish, Lakina and Darbari.
            Smita is turning out to be a great friend. Now back in London she called and she got my life tale out of me. I spoke to her twice in the last fortnight and these felt more affectionate than I ever had with my own two sisters. She knows how to connect, something we all saw even at IMT, Ghaziabad during the 1990-92 days.
            Darbari is in Los Angeles and he writes: Sathya, this is a professional work and I am sure you will hit the headlines big in a while. But the best value I got was from Deepak  who is  a banker in Dubai.
Dear Sathya,

Loved reading the story. It is fast, racy and gripping. Four episodes of Pushpa’s life.

Frankly, both the climaxes do not do justice to this lively and entertaining narration. I would possibly take a cue from what you have mentioned in the last line; about the doctor. Maybe, the climax can be about a secret that Yadeesh is hiding from his wife all this time – about his affair with Pushpa. But even this fifth episode of Pushpa’s life would not be unexpected. Climax should have a twist in the tale – somehow!!

Best regards,
Deepak Mehra

One thing led to the other as I explained that the third character in the story, “Surya” was me and Deepak wrote a great mail which I immediately saved it in a special folder so as to preserve it. 
Dear Sathya,

Let us be clear, you want a wife not a high-maintenance girlfriend. Please define this as your goal.

I just hope you get a simple, homely Tamil girl who is culturally and socially compatible with you, who will look after you, make your home, raise your children and be a good wife. She will look up to you and respect you for your wisdom and kind heart. You will never have to prove yourself in front of her, you will not have to bother about how you look, what you wear or what you do. You will not be smitten by her beauty at first but over time you will fall in love with her beautiful heart.

If I were in Chennai I would have gone asking all elders in my social circle and would have found a wife like this for you. There will be so many good girls like this in Chennai.

As your friend, who feels that you deserve the best in life, I have to say that the core issue is that if you don’t know what you are looking for, you are unlikely to find.

Happy to hear your views on this.

Best regards,
Deepak Mehra

I replied and it came almost as a flow:
Deepakji, you are truly great.

Yeah, I never articulated with that much clarity on a woman. 

LOVE is so difficult to predict. In my life, I felt drawn and attracted to many but anything with a staying power were only KIRTI, who was my classmate during graduation (for one of the hottest infatuation known to man!!! I did not even introduce myself to her though we were only 8-9 students in the class). Then Madhulika Vajpayee when I was 34 and Pushpa when I was 38. Both M and P were women I was drawn into by their writing. In fact with Pushpa, we were exchanging "I love you's" even without a photograph being exchanged (just reading and talking on the phones led us to that point).

I still remember praying at a Besant Nagar temple, “God, let Pushpa be beautiful,” on the day when our photos were exchanged." 

I really think every man and every woman is LOOKING for UNDERSTANDING in a relation. Words that bind and soothe. Seriously caste and language are secondary. 

Pushpa was very brave to LOVE me and then almost put a seal as it were. Look, I was 38; just starting at TOI, my salary was 50 k while she was twice that. Mine was very, very short careers (I would average less than 5 months of work each year) while she was climbing up the ranks. She had built a house, owned cars and a manager for over a decade. But where she failed was SHE INSISTED ON THAT BARE MINIMUM of a TOI job. Once that went off, it made no difference to me for I was OBSESSED WITH WRITING and never to a job. So my inference of her was: Brave enough to explore a romance with a writer, chickened out at the last minute.

I loved your definition of a wife; companion with a great heart where love grows by the day. I also loved the part of not bothering about how much I make as earnings or what dress I wear. This is really amazing even for a concept. Certainly, there is no need for a high maintenance girlfriend (I loved this part). 

You are right. How would I imagine a future wife for me? YOUR DESCRIPTION IS BEAUTIFUL and if there is one editing I would do, I would remove the word TAMIL from that. You want a UNDERSTANDING person and she can be from anywhere even if her past were like Vivian in PRETTY WOMAN. 

I also learnt so many things from Pushpa's encounter: WE LOVE A WOMAN ONLY AS LONG AS SHE LOVES US. Once that love is removed then the entire edifice falls down. My mistake in this relation was:
- I should have WALKED OUT the moment she refused to learn a smattering of Tamil and show any interest in my cuisine
- I should have walked out every time she kept postponing the wedding.
- Certainly I should have walked out when she converted a love and romance thing to a friendship.

Next time I will never give such a long rope to a woman if I am caught in the vortex of romance. 

We are just tennis balls to be played by gods in areas like a lover or a spouse, one's job and earnings and also one's children. These are things which no one can fix; they are given to you by nature. 

Love between a man and a woman is the grandest emotion on earth. It even beats the mother and child relation. And if anyone were to trivialize this emotion, then the society gets corrupted. This was also Pushpa's error. My most charitable explanation is that she lost that innocence after her first break up. 

I certainly would like to love a woman if only to erase this scar. It is also important to die in the arms or company of a loved one. Being alone or living alone is really not the way nature intended of a man or a woman. I think romance or marriage is about one long conversation where you would love to talk and love to listen. This is just one parameter that I will abide by when I fall again. 

Deepak, thank you so much for your friendship. No one ever said, "Sathya, I will search a woman for you so far." I will try my best to meet you next week in Dubai. I get the dates tomorrow and then the process of Visa and tickets start straightaway. I would love that interview to click. But in my heart, I feel no sense of anticipation or excitement. I really was thrilled on the Bangalore thing; it almost was a sealed thing. That job was managerial in terms of supervising others; that rejection did hurt me a while. 

As I keep saying: Career and earnings as also love and romance is God's territory and largess. I love this definition: any person who gives you understanding and unconditional love is GOD and anywhere you find them is HEAVEN. So a good marriage is like meeting one's god and one's home can be heaven. Every being looks for God to love and a heaven to reside. 


Wednesday, May 30, 2018

A turn of the tide???

As a writer one is a sucker for idioms.  But this week seems special, feels special, and maybe ends up with lasting gains. At times like these, it feels like all the cards are falling in place and prayfully someone else does not put down the RUMMY.
            But then there is this old age maturity that values prudence over sudden bursts of good fortune accruing to long standing gains. Don’t count the chickens before they are hatched is a call for patience; which is more in tune to anyone approaching 50 on the scale and who has had my kind of turbulent life.
            Let me address the dead past for there is a belief that once you CORRECT the past the future automatically is course corrected. My mother PARVATHI is 78 with one foot on the grave. She did as much damage as an asura can do in life. I have a natural forgiving nature and “wipe the slate clean” mentality. I still feel helpless that I cannot do a thing to drill any sense into this woman. But I have learnt this lesson: Forgive her but don’t transact. In fact I don’t even look at her face while speaking; avoid as much as possible.
            pUsHpa is exactly similar. Even to store the images of the PAST in a better light is not possible; she is too egoistic and high-handed.  Here again my attitude is IF MY MOTHER and this SINDHI are trapped in a burning house and none to rescue, they will roast to death and I will not lift a little finger. Of all the worst things DESTINY has in store for me in this life and beyond, I feel an enormous relief that I have gone past these two stodgy irascible characters. There were the scums of humanity, the very pits, and so any other character coming into my life will be more a cakewalk than a trial by fire. These two are bank accounts that's closed; no point either depositing or withdrawing from non-existent obsolete account.  
            On 23rd May, I learnt that the interview at MINDLOGICX came a cropper. This
felt a hard smack on the head. This was my first interview in four years; they ran the entire sequence from shortlisting, telephonic interview to a personal interview at Bangalore where I met the VP and Managing Director. I felt the bird was in the bag and so this came as a bit of a shock.
            Then on 24th May things started to change. It is one of my special days in a long long long time.
            At 7:30 am Smita Narayan from my IMT days of 1990-92 called on my landline. She said, “I like your writing. I want you to edit my book. So as a hiring fee, I am transferring 50 k today.” She fixed a price far too high and paid the money – something I have not seen in the last 12 years since I turned a professional writer. This brought a lot of colour to the face, energy to the heart, felt that the universe had not entirely abandoned me. Smita also added, “There is a demand for good writers. I will speak to my celebrity friends and also ex-IMT people and see how best I can help you.”
            At 11;00 on the same day Arunanjali called; again a IMT alumnus. We passed out in 1992 and almost every one of them is a VP is a MNC bank or a Airtel or a Samsung while I never got started as a marketing fellow. I followed my heart and passion settling for a penurious peddler of words in a graveyard Chennai of a market. No cribs as long as I earned enough to bring food to the table; my aspirations never rose higher than this since my birth in 1969.
            Anu spoke from Hong Kong and she was like, “Smita was talking about you. I run a soft skill company both in Chennai and HK and maybe we can involve you. Meet my person there and we will take it from there.”
            I felt in seventh heaven. Two of my batchmate from the remotest past of 1992 called me up and said, “We have some faith in you and we will help you tide over in your hunt for a gainful occupation and earning part bit.” There is something readily resonating part in us when people from past come into the present bearing fruits and you are in need of them with the urgency of a next meal. As my Dhamma friend Mani Sir said the next day, “This is last ball six in a IPL match to win.”
            These two calls got me gloating and thinking: maybe I am not all that bad. There are unknown virtues and skills within me when I ran into TV Ramprasad the famous singer at Vishranti over a tiffin. He was the one who sent me to Abu Dhabi; and I avoided his face for a good couple years after the rough weather I experienced there from a devil called Mohan Natesan. TVR said, “Sathya, I am on the look-out for a soft skill trainer at Mahindra School. Would you be interested? Say 3 days a week and how about 25k?” I said, “I have not earned such monies in a couple of years and so will be glad. Thanks man, this news helps me save my M-90 for 2018.”
            Three good news in one single day is not something I have had since my father and mother copulated in the dinghy rooms at TSV koil Street in Mylapore in 1968. More was to come the next day. Paarvathy Rajiv is one of those FB friends and she seemed to have read my last post: the answer is SURRENDER. She wrote to me: my sister is in Dubai and is a recruiter. If you are interested in a career in Dubai, kindly register with her and she will find a job for you within a month. There is a small registration fee; but what the hell if it gives you some confidence and hope. I jumped at the offer and started daydreaming shaking hands with the Arabs after that conversation.
            The point of this post is this: it takes very little for darkness to go away. You could be trapped in a dungeon for a decade but it takes a little flame to light and awash your mind with light and hope.
            As a prudent man, everything can be washed away in a second. Smita may cancel her order in which case I have to return the money; nothing may transpire from Anu’s soft skill training, Ramprasad may not make a formal offer on the Mahindra School, and the Dubai thing may fizzle out. But for the moment, I dance with joy. I get to meet people who care for me and wish me to succeed. Maybe some prayers will come true; just maybe even my stubborn fate may see a resurrection.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The answer is SURRENDER

The Whitefield job interview tanked. They wrote to say: we appreciate and have regard for your skills and accomplishments but you are not selected.  To be honest, starting a new life in Bangalore is difficult and I even feel that a UAE now would be a strain on both body and mind; I am used to Besant nagar and I must find 50 k monthly income soonest or dispose off this flat. There are no heartbreaks.  I did my best and if this is my destiny, why should I resist it or make a song and dance of misfortune? On a lighter side after the Whitefield abortion, at least I got "Soulful encounters @ Bangalore" blog post for my expenses of money and efforts. 
            There are two lessons that is CRYSTAL to me: Love and respect yourself without a shadow of doubt. Two, Surrender to the flow of events. As I age I feel I have no right to even plan, let me do what I ought to do and bring in my best beyond which there is nothing to add or subtract.
            2018 is the year of anniversaries:
a)     10 years of Vipassana
b)     20 years of heart surgery as on 27th June. Seriously I never thought my engine would run so long given a million unresolved issues in life. Handling loneliness, joblessness after a heart surgery, I think I am SUPERMAN to endure.
c)      20 years of Swamiji’s classes and Theosophical Society. Now I visit TS once in 6 months and less than four classes in a year at Swamiji’s classes. But for a time they were my main source of electricity to life.
I also realize one thing CRYSTAL CLEAR: I am hero or villain of my life. Since I reside alone this is as recluse as it can get in nature. So any SUCCESS or FAILURE is 100% my own creation; my responsibility. Frankly I don’t like too many people and too much noise around me; but this silence is also getting to my nerves. But then remember lesson two: SURRENDER to what comes before you.
            I take my morning walks daily. I am grateful to TH Iyer mama who cares for me. I also value my interaction with Mani Sir, a recent friend from Vipassana. He is friendly and sympathetic to my flotsam status in life. Then there is FB for human warmth which I find in a Deepak Mehra (he says that I deserve so much more than just a newspaper column and middle class earnings), and so many others who have nice things to comment on my wry posts.
            I feel that there are many who read my blogs especially in THINKSATHYA and they do feel nice about it. I wish there was some money and some success somewhere but if this is going to be my script then let me not make it a 70 mm technicolour drama except take it on the chin. I am sick and tired of this wastrel existence of FB, television, siesta and even music and guitar start to grate.
            Things are lousy at the moment and I am more than willing to sell this place. I feel stranded like a castaway in an island on nobody's map and waiting for some angel or devil for deliverance to anywhere. This feels like a STUCK-UP WHEEL in the sands and I could do with some human or divine assistance.   

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Sometimes LIFE stinks

The pUsHpA virus is over. It caught me for a week and I always learn a few things about myself.
            Life at this moment for me stinks without adding this imported trouble. I took a bank loan for 5 lacs and I have not earned anything in the six months to follow. For a while I was deadly serious on a catering line before an expert dished it down. I also had in mind MY BESSIE for a weekly tabloid to take on ADYAR TIMES but that needed an investor and considering my pathetic run in this life, it was never on though I did have fantasies of it. These two squandered three months even as I kept applying for CONTENT WRITING jobs in CHENNAI. It was only at Bangalore Satipatthana Vipassana course that I realized the error of applying to CHENNAI.  Four years of applying has not net me two interviews and so this is a graveyard of a market. So I started to look towards BANGALORE and relax my own rules of working.
             After my heart surgery in 1998 I resolved not to work anywhere but MADRAS and GULF for I have an infrastructure here at Besant Nagar and in the GULF my kind of food is easily available. But now I knew I had to bend a little if only to service this loan. I had couple of interviews in the last 10 days – which is like a LIMCA records of kinds for me – and I am waiting with bated breath. The WHITEFIELD jobs looks great on job description and compensation and it will be a career redemption should I make it. I need a bit of fortune at the roulette wheel of life.
            Frankly I am really TALENTED in two streams: CONTENT WRITING to a world class level and I am very competent SOFT SKILLS TRAINER. I am also anaemic to a 9 to 5 slavery which to my mind is wearing a dog’s collar when other people will determine my time and even my mental condition. Rarely do you get a friendly atmosphere at work, in INDIA we have to be alert to any whisper and intrigue in the air. If you get a terrible boss as a Panneer Chelvam at India Cements or Mohan Natesan at Adline then life becomes unbearable and that’s when you throw in the towel. I had a 1.8 lacs monthly income something I don’t even dream in my fantasies at Abu Dhabi but I cannot stomach that kind of verbal violence and office bully. Actually in UAE everyone loved me from my boss to clients and colleagues but my nerves could not stand the daily battering between Mohan and Sabeesh. This is one of those rare instances where my mental health suffered from someone’s shouts directed toward someone and my part was no more than a bystander. That’s when you realize: even a passing strong dose of hate and anger on the mind gets it very weak and depressed.
            Four years have passed from those days. I came to India exactly on 20th May, 2014. That I live four years ON is truly a miracle. I lost heart and suffered two years of absolute hell from a stubborn depression and only in the last 12 months I found fresh energies through MINDFULNESS and a dramatic healing.
            Last week my mind did think of pushpa and this time NO NAME CALLING for let me analyse for my own understanding. After 11 years I see three different phases:
a)    June 2007 to March 2008 (Seductress phase)
We met in May and by June of 2007 on a blog medium before we were on the phones and we had a wonderful chemistry. Initially I was not warm to an idea of dating a woman more than two years my senior. My first phone to pushpa left me like a windless bag and she said, “Sathya, don’t give up too soon. Just meet me and you will know.” Then those were days of daily motivational SMS from Ahmedabad.  But once we found a level of conversation, I loved the banter and humour.  Even today I rate pUsHpA in the top five conversationalist in my life; she belongs to this elite league of a Balakanth, Rajaram, Manikandan, Prabhakar on banter and a healthy humour.
            I proposed to her in Aug and really thought that it was a DONE deal while for the female it was a start of DAILY EVALUATIONS. She was just not convinced to take the leap; kept delaying marriage dates and that was proving detrimental to the relation.
            I was infinitely patient, hoping and praying she would come around. From her perspective she was on a 1 lac pay packet to my measly 50 k at Worldwide Media; she had invested over 15 years in the social sector with a solid reputation while I was just starting out as a writer besides I never had any career goals. I remember telling pUsHpA in those days,” Let’s settle down in the Nilgiris. Both of us have enough money and we will never starve or go roofless. Of course we will work but let us live off the beaten path. There are no children or families to support. Both of us are smart to earn without slogging and sweating for it.”
b)    April 2008 to February 2009 (wait and watch phase)
I lost Worldwide Media as they wound up the web team and immediately I could sense the frostiness in the air. Gone were the “I love you’s” and “coochie-cooings”. I kept begging her in this phase: PLEASE COME TO CHENNAI AND WE WILL TAKE A CALL. I definitely love you and want you as my wife. If you have any issues, we will meet and thrash it out. Love is life’s best emotion and it is criminally stupid to kick and squander it in this frivolous manner. Who knows we may never experience such an emotion in this life again or ever.
            It was a voice of reason but then you don’t know the workings of a diva’s mind. She refused to listen but insisted on a friendship even as I cried: PLEASE STOP CALLING, I cannot take this in-between state.
c)      Feb 2009 onwards was the SLUT phase
She used to visit Bangalore on a monthly basis to her corporate office and never found time to visit me in Chennai. My mind did draw those inferences, by this time we had no star-stuck innocence or daisy stars on a moonless night of romance. The sindhi went to Goa for a holiday in Feb and that was when I formally wrote off this relation. By this time, it looked to me that she had found someone and the calling frequency went down from once a week to once a month kinds while in the first phase we were conversing for 2 hours a day.
            I came to know of her engagement on 10/10/2009 on ORKUT and since then I have never called or spoken or written a mail. I did however write to her bosses in Azim Premji Foundation where this woman was cowering like a leaf in utmost fear saying: I am not a prostitute. I am sorry to have hurt you. But I have a right to choose my partner. I did write defamatory blogs for a year before another event forced me to abandon those self-hurting ways.
            Since that October day in 2009, I never even shagged to her image. I was sad and regretful that I had one chance at love and romance and it was kicked and abused so trivially and so wantonly. There was almost a kind of a devilish glee in toppling me down. She went ahead with her romance and marriage elsewhere sneaking like a thief. There was no grace left, she had no guts to face me, and behaved so HIGH-HANDED all through. If I have to go through it all over again, I would have SNAPPED ties in the WAIT AND WATCH period. I read those signs but I was weak of WILL to follow it through. My career continued to slide. I worked in India Cements for a year under a tyrant (life always seems to dump the worst characters on me) and at Abu Dhabi I really felt that I could not take load of life any longer. This led to Theni and on 27/11/2016 where I was one breath and one thought away from a suicide when I had engaged a person to inject me with a lethal dose.
            Then a slow recovery, I found MINDFULNESS and I heard hundreds of best minds on PYSCHOTHERAPY and even as I heard, I was being healed. All my past learning INTEGRATED and ADDED-UP and I feel like a new person since. My nerves these days are strong; my mind does not reach those desperate states of FEAR and HELPLESSNESS and I have learnt to cultivate a positive self-image.
            Then that stupid LINKEDIN invite last fortnight and I had an opportunity to analyse this personality. The woman from Sindh was exceptionally beautiful; her natural beauty added to her dress sense and her personality felt you were in the presence of a queen. She was always HAUGHTY and OVER REACHING and that destroyed everything we built or dreamed to build. But she has no self-respect. Any other person in her boat would have brought peace with me if only to having any offensive blog posts removed. I am a WRITER and this is too JUICY a story to skip. If she could treat me so dismissively, I too reserve the right to treat the STORY with contemptuous triviality. Even last week, she had an OPPORTUNITY to settle our accounts and bid a good bye with some grace. But for that a tiny speck of WISDOM was required; this woman never bothered to learn. 
            As for me, it was a good riddance. However charming a woman is, if there is no reliability and deceit in store then that relation is better wound up. All I want is a little love and a destiny’s help in making my go-to fantasy come true: I get to live in Nilgiris with a partner with whom we could cycle down the mountain curves, have a bit of guitar and music and do some silly thing for a living like running a coffee shop or even being a tourist guide or a car operator.  Make friends in the community, keep writing stories and blogs for whatever it is worth, and die in peace is STILL my idea of a life. Destiny never seems to give me a hand.  I dwell on pushpa here as a sort of catharsis and a bit of perspective. Nothing more or less, just for some clarity for my own mind. 

Post Script: I will never, of my volition, speak or see this person again. But if destiny were to conspire, I will just bow my head down and walk without a second glance. I don't fancy playing with scorpions the second time round. Seriously, whether she wins the Nobel Prize or starves to death or commits suicide or slips into coma or a cardiac arrest, even the news of her demise or fame does not interest me. I will always take pUsHpA and my mother's name in the same breath; my mother at least was sick in the head while this woman was sick in values and character which is infinitely more worse. And if I do become world famous or reach a position to inflict hurt; I will exercise that option with prudence. Naturally forgiving, I will allow the matter to pass, but one more starry behaviour and I would be sorely tempted.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Some rocky week & calm

I hated my very soft and large-hearted mails to Dr. pUsHpA wHoReWaNi but it was very kind destiny at work. This pervert is my negative inspiration; I get new ideas at the speed of light. Look, I did not ever send a SMS or placed a call or wrote a mail to this hot pants of a woman since the day I came to know she had hooked and shacked up.
My mistake with pw was not realizing or acting on the insights as I made a typical type 2 error. I had mistaken a snake for a rope and it had to bite me sooner.  It was MINDFULNESS that convinced me that pUsHpa had committed a CHARACTER MISTAKE which was kissing me too early and rolling in bed too early and then going on to kissing and rolling with tens and hundreds of men. 
But one corner of the mind would say: KISSED BY AN ANGEL AND KICKED BY A DEVIL. This thing sounds good for a sound byte but it carries a lot of mischief for it still gives a benefit of doubt to the SHITTY WOMAN and has more than a ring of  ambivalence about it. This means that the DEVIL gave the KICK to what was once kisses and angels. Truth is pw was an adulteress slut all along with no beginning or ending. I read this character wrong in 2007 despite a lot of hints. But that is to be expected from a first timer.
I wrote a couple of very large-hearted and generous mails last week to the hetaira (this is Greek in origin meaning a high class prostitute who provides body as well as intellectual stimulation. Typically heteiras have a long standing relation with a client, defines pw to a "T") and got no respone.  9 years is a long time for any human mind to evolve and refinement; but pw is still arrogant and haughty and not bother to acknowledge VERY DECENT mails. 
I UNBLOCKED her facebook pages and it confirms that SLUT image. Every FB post of this female is POSING and SMILING for the camera. She is sickeningly so full of herself and crowing about her CHICKNA SKIN and FAKE SMILE and PROPORTIONED face. If any person at the age of 50+ has nothing to post but their profiles all the time; what is the inference? At 51 you are supposed to introspect, learn new things, be more giving and compassionate, take a new hobby like that Saharanpur doctor, or something like that. Her Facebook page smells and reeks of a slut who is a pro – PROFESSIONAL SLUT for a word coinage and that’s how I am going to store this character in my mind henceforth.
Zaidi is a friend who pointed this defect in me: Sathya, you are so kind-hearted that you revel in paying the cost again and again. These mails I wrote last week to pw shows I am still foolish and hopelessly gullible. She had an opportunity to be pleasant last week that she squandered while my gain is I get to revise any past memories. Now there is no grey here; this is BLACK and WHITE case of WRONG. Worst she provokes a Vipassana meditator and Mindfulness expert into a rage if only for a while. My heart is so large I could have even helped her, if requested, when she is in a deep hole. Now there is no chance. 
Now let's explore SUNNIER side of life; just real characters and no high strungs. 
I was so happy when Prithvi called me 16/5. With him the constant humour opening piece is: How is Anushka Shetty, the Baahubali heroine? It is your job to bring her before me. I ran into Prithvi at AVG in middle of 2016 and very and very close to the edge. Each time we speak he ends up saying,” I am so happy to see you Sathya or read your blogs. Truly you are now a transformed Sathya or Sathya 2.0.” He was the first one to enroll his son for my communication workshop and these are memories one never forgets. Then Gopalan connected as we ran into each at the beach. Said he, "I was thinking about you but I had a fall and it has been a slow recovery.” Gopalan was my third student for the workshop and right from day one, we were more friends than any instructor/mentor nonsense. It was he who sold me the Modfurn furniture as I said, "Please visit me and sit in your furniture. I can always spare you a coffee.”
pw stirred this thought: This female earns good money, on the surface seems to have a rocking life but look at where she has landed? She earns the ire of one of India’s best writers and blog posts that can potentially SHAME her for eternity. In contrast I hardly earn anything and barely manage to earn my expenses but I am a lot happier.
I learnt at 21 that life is not about MONEY and RELATIONS; all our scriptures shout that ARTHA and KAMA don’t give a decimal measure of peace and happiness. I just watched two men from close quarters as I imbibed this lesson almost intuitively, My father worked like a DONKEY for four decades and his usual refrain was. “I have to feed four other mouths,” as an explanation to his slavery. He worked at PHOTOPHONE for 25 years putting in 10-12 hours a day. In contrast Balakanth never even made an attempt to earn. He was more than happy to earn enough to meet his bills as a wedding photographer and part-time Basketball coach. But he knew how to live: cycle from Madras to some fuckin place in Punjab or a trek in the Himalayas or taking off to a Kodaikanal or Ooty with friends at a moment’s notice. BK got so much love and fun out of life almost very moment of the day. And this attitude definitely spilled on to me even while I was a student at IMT - G.
If money and relations don’t give security then pray what does? I think it is FOLLOWING YOUR HEART'S STIRRINGS. Destiny gave me a gift for writing and I explored that to the full. I have nearly a thousand blog posts in 12 years of work and over 30 short stories. I have not earned a penny but they give me so much joy. I have spent thousands of hours on a non-paying hobby; but they have earned me a lot of friends and respect. MUSIC gives so much more joy that I forget myself in a guitar or listening to a Adele or Mark Knopfler. I have lived my life nicely and what’s more nobody ever writes nasty blog posts on me!
In the last three months I had at least half a dozen people saying: Sathya you are a genius. Many hated my Mahabharat blog but they said, “Only an original thinker like you can do this.” Deepak Mehra, my senior at IMT, wrote a wonderful mail saying "Sathya you are an amazing talent and I am so happy to have friends like you." 
I had two interviews this week - the firsts in 2018- and I hope I get an offer sooner. This is one area I have not be able to crack. Ramesh was saying,” I have some assignment for you.” So there are a lot of friends who think of me and even explore ways for a source of earning…. Mani Sir, Shyam, Krish, Ramesh, Iyer mama and so many really. Mani Sir was saying, " You get that Bangalore job and you will give me a treat at Echoes in Koramangala." Gopalan says," Sathya, before you go to Bangalore or any job, come to my house with a packet of Krishna Sweets." 
I saw the movie “Mahaanati” in Telugu on 14/5 a biopic on the actor Savitri and loved it so much than I am planning a blog post on it. I fell in love with Savitri all over again. She is the best actor to have graced the Indian cinema. That she was such a philanthropist and it was heart-warming. Savitri would give her necklace to anyone who said, “I have a daughter’s wedding and I am desperate for money.” Her heart was so large that she kept giving and giving even when she was bankrupt. She pawned her sarees to help car drivers or any friend who had a need for money on health emergencies or marriages. I almost had tears as she slips into coma and dies at the age of 45. I thought: how nice it would be to have had a Savitri for a sister or mother or aunt or a person even from the same village. There are some women for whom I store nothing but adoration and respect in your eyes and devotion in your heart. I idolize Mother Teresa, singer Adele and MS Subbulakshmi, actors like Savitri and Sridevi  and Meryl Streep as something on a divine plane. In real life I worshipped Sarada Mami. They are always sisters and mothers and never a love object whereas I had nothing but lust for a Madhuri Dixit, Zeenat Aman, Parveen Bibi and our gujju sindhi Dr. pUsHpA whorewani (stink mami). Anything associated with pw will always be in small letters in my blogs. Life is great despite such worms around.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Mercy, forgiveness and its scope

Thanks to a certain quirk of fate I was forced to answer this question at least intellectually: is forgiveness absolute or does it come with constraints? Once the mind forms a rational basis then at least the emotional mind knows which direction to pull.
            Mindfulness and Vipassana affirm that FORGIVENESS is absolute. The story given is that of a sage who keeps rescuing a scorpion on a beach. It keeps stinging the man even as he comes to its aid repeatedly. One of the students asked,” Great master, why do you bother with this nuisance? Why don’t you leave it to its fate?” The wise man is reported to have said, “The scorpion is following its vicious nature, in fact it can’t help it while I follow my kind and gentle nature. Rescuing it each time strengthens my soft nature and so it is a good spiritual practice.”
            My experience in life tells me that such WHOLESOME goodness is either mocked or made a fool of. My view is FORGIVENESS is CONDITIONAL.
            I had a Linkedin invite from pushpa whorewani and as almost inevitable it afforded plenty of insights.  I only have problems with four women in my life and let’s see how it plays out.
Amma: I realized very early in life that my mother was hopelessly and pathetically sick in the head, maybe when I was as young as 5 or 6. I had to pay huge cost growing in this acrid atmosphere; another long story which has been repeatedly analysed.  My experience with my mother is this: Anytime I have a kind and gentle thought or a warm attitude towards her, it boomerangs. as it has happened times without count. Even in March, 2018 I had a bitter fight with my eldest sister on my mother’s account. Viji kept blabbering in a despairing voice,” I can’t take this mother’s nuisance anymore. I am going to put her in an old age home as early as possible before I go crazy.” Naturally I resented and we had a bitter exchange.  Next month I visited my mother and saw that she was impossible to manage and then all my respects and affections for Viji welled up as I said,” I did not realize it is so horrific. Amma’s hallucinations are so bad that even a saint can’t manage. I am sorry, my dear akka. Anything you do with regard to mother has my full backing.”  I came home and this insight got drilled and hammered into: ANY TIME I WAS SOFT AND KIND TO AMMA, IT SIMPLY CRUMBLED.
            On Viji amd Latha my constant crib is THEY HAVE NOT INVITED ME TO FESTIVALS FOR THREE DECADES but we are not a nuisance to one another. We are completely independent and zero overlap as we only meet in family weddings and cremations. They suffer from an attitudinal conditioning of a typical Tambrahm women that after matrimony their duties solely lie in their new homes; their former homes can go to hell and they have no duties except mouth a few empty platitudes and commiserations. This might have been the case in the last generations where families were huge and the sons took care of their parents and siblings; the new bride is advised solely to concentrate on new relations. Anyway, I realized that it does not pay to have a chip on my shoulder on this score. Both my sisters are pleasant conversationalist, raised wonderful families of their own (One son in Bahrain who has purchased a swanky apartment and brought 4 cars in 11 years of work; another fellow is in Colorado; Latha’s son is in Norway while the last one is still in college – this is 100% strike rate for success and if there is a dent of a frustrated brother, well it does not change the picture. I soon learnt to forgive and not carry this angst if only for the sake of my own mental health. If they wish to connect with me and be pleasant, I will not sully the moment by raking this contentious issue. 
            This is an important part of my own development as I am not in the least interested in the past tensions and pulls of a relation. Every person changes with every thought almost every second and so I really have no problem if they choose to connect or disconnect with me.
             This is one lesson of FORGIVENESS I love. Latha is a petulant personality; those “touch-me-not” sensitive plants. She finds hurt in a social context even where none is intended. One has to extremely careful handling such sensitive jerks. I never was keen on attending Gautam’s wedding but the moment my sister, brother-in-law and Aravind visited my house and invited me; I just could not refuse. They sent a car to pick me up and I love to play this visual image in my mind. I reached the wedding venue at 6:00 in the morning and my brother-in-law was so floored upon seeing me that he rushed to hug me. This is a picture postcard for the benefits of forgiveness.
            Then we come to my perennial bĂȘte noir, pUsHpA the wHoReWaNi.
             She sent a harmless Linkedin invite last week which I instantly deleted on view. On Monday I was showing her picture to my cook Thangam when I pressed something on the mobile screen and a moment later it read “Invite Accepted”. Immediately I rushed to Linkedin and delete this new friend. I should have kept quiet but FOOLISH ME thought it best to explain. I wrote her a couple of mails on Linkedin Accept and Reject in the politest tone possible. It read: I was immature and you have every right to CHOOSE whom to marry.  I was rancorous for I had a terrible family upbringing and couldn’t help getting neurotic. But I am really not interested in any LINKEDIN invite. You and your husband may be very powerful people with lots of networking but I am not looking for your assistance to my CONTENT WRITING domain. 
            Dr. pUsHpa wHoRwani did not deem it fit to reply. A simple two-liner would have done much to assuage. Something on the lines like: Sathya, I am sorry for sending the invite. I wish you well in your career and life.
            Now what are my memories of this dubious character of questionable reputation in my mind? pw walked out of my life in 2009, I fumed and fretted for couple of years before I learnt to bury the ghosts. Frankly I don’t think of her at all, if at all it is only in the negative. With my growing embrace of MINDFULNESS I knew without an atom of doubt that she committed a character mistake. No woman should fall in love in haste; charm and seduce a man with thousands of kisses and roll in bed unless she is convinced that her life is inextricably linked to the man. You can't have a ONE MOMENT KISS and ANOTHER MOMENT FREEZE.
            Now what are CHARACTER MISTAKES?  I define it as any one of these three: To kill someone, or to steal something, or a person with a frivolous attitude to sex. My mind raced with these jumbling thoughts before they found some order:
a)     pUshpa certainly fell in love with me in 2007; to my mind she never had the slightest interest in marriage. I was like a RESTING ROOM in an Airport Lounge for her till she found a bigger and better fish. I was like a toy she got amused by but she never had any marriage plans.
b)     So when she found a first escape route or an option emerge, she flew straight and fast. This Sindhi is not of a character to pause and reflect: what happens to this dumb Tambrahm who built such a romantic fantasy?
We are terribly mismatched for a couple. I am a writer and I have no worldly ambitions of earning piles of money or foreign vacations. My aspiration has always been more like: LET ME EARN THIS MONTH”S EXPENSES while she was one of those in the market for cruises, latest cars, swanky apartments and designer clothes. So the parting was very well made; I was SLOW of mind to get this but over time I realized that we are water and oil.
      Destiny was indeed very kind to us. Had I wed this woman, we would not have lasted 6 months under one roof.  And as the years rolled by, I was cribbing at my destiny than PW  My moans were, "Bloody God! I fell in love with a floozy and it was terrible judgement. Why did not fate reserve a woman more in my wavelength." was my lament in my prayers. I also realized that she had a right to choose another man; spray kisses and roll in bed to any number of my successors for we are in Kali yuga and 2009 times. I maybe conservative but it is my problem.  But one thing I was very sure, certain as hell: I DON”T EVER WISH TO SPEAK OR MEET THIS DEBASED SELF-CENTERED PERSON EVER AGAIN IN MY LIFE. I long realized this specimen was a prime instance of my foolishness and misjudgment. 
      With passing years my mind reconciled to loneliness, my writings and music and things like that which drifters down the ages engage. My mind resolved not to squander thoughts or any mental energy on this foul Gujarati; I do not visit her Facebook pages or Googled to know how she was faring in life. NOTHING.  pUsHpa simply stopped interesting me. She was bad for my nerves and mind in 2009 and once the bird flew it took away the negativity too.
      Then after 9 years this “testing the waters” with a Linkedin Invite. I fell for the bait as I wrote a couple of mails full of generosity and large-heartedness. The least the worst pond scum would have done was: Thanks Sathya, I appreciate your stand. Here’s wishing the best. Bye and regards.
      When my decency was not returned, I realized that she has not changed one bit from the arrogant and errant ways of 2009; not even the cancer death of her decrepit mother got her to learn.  I did a portrait of her “POOP pushpa” on thinksathya which I had removed and saved it in my draft folder.  Now when my good wishes hit a brick-wall (I foolishly shared even the MINDFULNESS self-designed primary course material and a MINDFULNESS PPT), I was piqued enough to go to the DRAFT and hit the PUBLISH icon of that personality blog post.
      She is exactly like my mother. Even if you accidentally have a noble thought about them, they crash land it. I win a little freedom and clarity here: Dr. pUsHpa wHOREwani is 100% evil and verily the university of hate. She is a headstrong person with a career in Unicef or some such nonsense. Whatever little fragrance sprang from my natural good nature. they just froze as I realized: This woman is really a fungal infection. With such characters you deal with them like you treat your hands after a toilet; use liquid soap.
                  So we come to the question: Is forgiveness absolute? It is for a Gautama Buddha and noble sages dealing with scorpions on the beach. But while dealing with pushpas the sluts and Parvathis the sick of the planet earth, the best attitude is WRITE THEM OFF AS HUMAN GARBAGE AND DON”T GET YOUR HANDS DIRTY.  Just as you don’t play with fire and get your hands singed again or risk getting bitten by the same snake the second time or as one would separate the wheat from the chaff.  These two - Parvathi at 78 and pUsHpA at 51 -are certified devils and so wring your hands and find something better to do. They don't deserve "Metta Bhavana" rather confer yourself a lot of Metta even while thinking about such Satans; shrews, termagant, piss-o-shit. farts, maggots, stinks.  

Post Script; pushpa  behanji or mataji or flirt mami ji inspires as ever with this simile. I hate her so much that I will cut her boobs and feed it to the crows; even then the full measure of justice is not served. This is what a Vipassana meditator and Mindfulness expert is reduced to; of course the strength of this HATE with dissipate with time; idioms and word skill apart pw was bad, and is still bad. 

Sunday, April 29, 2018

FOSWL Talk on 15/4

TH Iyer mama featured me as a guest speaker for this month’s talk. FOSWL stands for Friends of Same Wavelength and it is a neighbourhood gathering. We invite a speaker who rattles off for 40 minutes on a semi-spiritual or health topic and then questions for 20 minutes before we are served two Marie biscuits and a paper cup of Tropicana juice. TH Iyer is the President of this initiative and he really packs in good speakers despite the attendance never crossing 20.
            I had a PPT prepared where I segmented the talk in three areas: Definition of Mindfulness and its origins, Buddha’s teaching in a nutshell on Anitya and Dukka, and finally the concept of Metha Bhavana or loving kindness. I was at the venue at 5:00 pm for  a 5:30 start and one of those early birds and arrange plastic chairs. Yogalaya is a wonderful venue. The crowd trickled in and we started off exactly with Swiss efficiency; T H Iyer is a man who spent four decades in Germany and he observes punctuality to time scale of an European or Japanese metro trains to the precision of a 8:31 and 6:38 kinds.
            Ms. Uma Seshadri had gotten the slide projector for me to plug on to my laptop and project it on a white screen. She got everything including the white screen but forgot the linking chord to the source which meant no PPT. Since this is a subject I breathe in daily, it was no sweat as I planned my talk more on practical experience than a theoretical construct. TH Iyer introduced me to the audience and said,” Sathya is one of those genuine thinkers and he speaks so fast. I will now request him to speak slowly,” and got the show started.
            I spoke for 40 minutes and speaking before an audience is not my cup of tea. It is real time show and you have get a lot of things right including tone of voice, content should flow and you make eye-contact with the audience and throw in a smile now and then. I did all this amateurishly. I was adequate for the day but a long way to go before reaching professional standards of a MC or a TV anchor level.
            My sister was there and so was my brother-in-law and it felt nice as I could talk uninterruptedly. Speaking from a dais feels like a money lender with so many ears and faces staring at you and you are literally on a pedestal. There were a crowd of 25 which was the highest in recent months. I had personally invited over a dozen friends at the beach and but non stirred on a Sunday evening and an IPL match. Ravi and Jacob said: SORRY on meeting me next day. Satish the actor said,” I wanted to come but I had a heavy lunch and dozed off after putting the AC at full volume.” I realized that on the count of reliability we can write the names of our friends and contacts on the beach sand close to the waves.
After the talk, Viji got me Idlies and Bajji and a coffee for I was ravenously hungry at a self-service at Adyar Signal. I was sure excited as hell with all this talking and being the cynosure for the evening; being on the spotlight does not sit nicely on my shoulders. I would rather be a writer any day where you write to your strength and to your time convenience whereas public speaking is ON TIME activity but the rewards are immediate too. You get a round of applause and lots of people wanting to talk to you after the show.
The next day at the beach TH Iyer mama asked for the speech notes. He loved the PPT content and a couple of weblinks I had mailed. Mrs. TH Iyer and their son-in-law in Australia loved the piece and it came as a sigh of relief that this was not altogether a squandered effort.  On Monday the 16/4, I was feeling jumpy and stressed for a post speech hangover. Give me writing any day was the thought I was left after this experience. Teaching soft-skills in contrast is not such a fanfare and tension thing.
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Vivek and his wife visited me on 14/3.  This is my second meeting of the Saharanpur doctor in flesh, the first was in 2010. There is an air of affluence and positivity about the Banerjees. He said, “Both my kids are more or less settled and we as a couple are in a stage of life to afford monthly vacations. Last month it was Kaziranga and now Pondicherry.”  He looks so perfect as a doctor, a family man, a compatible partner, a proud parent that I envied him for a second. ARROGANCE and ENVY are two qualities entirely foreign to my genes but that day I felt a green monster thinking: even if I had 10% of his contentment and affluence, I will settle for them with unabashed glee and gratitude.
            There were here in Besant Nagar for 90 minutes as I took them to Vishranti in the hot midday sun. Vivek showed the Eliots beach to his wife and he also spotted a few rare birds which only a naturalists like him can spot.  On camera he said, “This is low end camera while my camera equipment is over 6 lacs and even the lens is imported,” as I told his wife,” Vivek and I are two unlikely characters.  He sees hundred patients a day and I get to see hundred TV serials a day.”  As they departed in the Ola cab I was left thinking: In my next birth I will be more than happy being a Vivek Banerjee. He packs in so much reliability and trust and competence in one frame. 

Monday, April 2, 2018

Sathya is a genius

Dr. Rajaram makes me feel special. I flower in his company. After chucking the plan to start PONGAL+VADA breakfast and impose on my Besant Nagar friends, I had another of those squeaky brainwaves of publishing a weekly neighbourhood tabloid with help from friends, of course, on the investing side. Everyone from the Prime Minister onwards talks of STARTUPS and so why shouldn’t I join the bandwagon and be its best ambassador?
           On 23/3 I whatsapped to the doctor, “How about meeting this Sunday weekend?”    The busy ENT replied, “Hopefully yes.”
            I responded with a lot of cheek,” I wanted to discuss a business idea and if we don’t meet this week then we will be hopefully friends?” I take zilch liberties with the general public but I am never short of over-smart quip with friends who have a stomach for humour.
            “Full of devilish humour, aren’t you? I will find an appropriate time on Sunday and meet you. Comprehendo!”
            I smiled and whatsapped: I am a pious devotee who has been praying for the Lord and when the Lord finally relents to give darshan, the devotee has had too much, he is way too exhausted and pissed off.” I added a couple of smileys and kept the banter going.
            On 25/3 I was proceeding to the beach when the Doctor called, “Sathya, I am starting from my house now and will be in Besant Nagar in 20 minutes. You had some crazy business idea to discuss.”
            My heart warmed up immediately for the ENT doctor is incredibly busy and for him to drive down for my sake felt that LORD indeed was karuna sagar, ocean of kindness.
            This is fast becoming a habit with us as he said;” Sathya, hop in and we can talk during a drive.” I kept regaling him as he drove through OMR then joined ECR at Neelankarai before we had breakfast at Hotspot at Thiruvanmiyur.” He loves my quotes as I said,” A smart man knows when and where to talk while a wise man knows when to shut up.” I also quoted him the Buddha’s “sorrow will follow a man with mental defilements like his shadow” or “his metha bhavana will follow him as the wheels of a chariot.” In doctor’s presence, I talk with the excitement of a 5 year old and nonstop at the 80 kmph. Dr. Rajaram in fact fuels my ego saying, “wow, that’s brilliant. Sathya, where did you pick that one from?” and it would be even more an incentive for me to keep my vocal chords rattling not that I need any in his company.
            I tell the doctor: there are very few people I love to listen and I love to talk and thankfully you trigger both my ears and mouth.  On the MY BESSIE project he said,” It is in your area of competence and even if you fail, it will teach you a lot of lessons. I will speak to my friends for a likely sponsor.”
            At the Hotspot table where we spread a plate of Idly and Plain dosa, he said,” Last week I met a mutual friend. He was asking as to why I stick with you?”
            I sat up with interest as to who this devilish mutual friend was as the Doctor continued, “I told him that in every interaction I learn more out of Sathya than he does out of me. The other man gasped in disbelief and I laid it to him: Sathya is a genius and he just does not know how to make money. None of us are perfect but at least we are nearer the money tree than Sathya who frankly is in the opposite direction.”
            I laughed and others around turned around at the eruption. I asked, “Who is this nosy friend who talks to you about me?”
            Rajaram answered beautifully: Knowing the name will not help you, it will not help me and it will not help him.  I smile saying, “Okay, have it your way.”
            As he dropped me at my residence he said, “I am glad to sit and listen to you all day for you are a genius. You are like an inventor of an airplane while I am a rustic passenger enthralled with the excitement of flying while you will be worried about those machinery and feverish calculations.”
            Without doubt I get so much joy interacting with this amiable doctor. We should record a conversation and put it on youtube for a definition of banter and leg-pulling and false humility. Dr. Rajaram is indeed the person who gives me the most joys for a companionship since the days of Balakanth.
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Again it was Friday when I learnt that my father’s paternal cousin T S Arunachalam passed away ten days back. I was speaking to my Bangalore Uncle when he dropped the news. I took his daughter’s telephone number and spoke to her on Monday.  I said, “I am Sathi. Only two days back I heard of your father’s death. I wish to meet you in person. How about Tuesday?” She acquiesced and that took me to the other end of the city in Virugambakkam. 
            I took a 5E to Pondicherry House on 27/3  leaving home at 3:30 pm. The summer is blazing hot now and body losing fluids all the time. The climate change and global warming is real if you live on a seashore and the afternoons feels a furnace.  Anyway reached Ms. Jayashree’s house at 4:30 and I was surprised to see that part of town. It is a beehive of activity and a throbbing college on that stretch of road.
            I am seeing Jayashree after 25 years. She welcomed me and narrated the last few days of her parents: Sathi, my mother had a block in the main artery and five doctors recommended a surgery. We did the surgery at Vijaya and she collapsed there, it was so sudden. She died in June, 2017 and after that my father simply lost the will to live. He was undergoing cancer treatments at Adyar Institute and he was really progressing and remissions and all that; but after mom’ s death he just did not care.
            Prakash got married to a handicapped woman and Balaji is alone. He has been working for 25 years with HCL and now he simply cannot stand (both her brothers are afflicted with muscular dystrophy).  Jayashree told me how she and her son Ashish would clean the aged parents including sponge baths and toilets. My son never shied away from cleaning urine and excreta. Even in the last few days I was pleading with dad to find some mental strength to live.
            This tale brought home to me the value of family bonding and my heart warmed up to bless the family. There are few real heroes in our times and the real ones are always swept under the carpet in this apathetic society. How much I wished that both my sisters had a fraction of this love and service.
            I came home feeling refreshed and even Jayashree said, “My father in fact everyone from my aunts Girija and Mangalam refer to SATHI as a brainy person.” I felt flattered and also the kind of impact I created even when young. Jayashree got married to a Hyderabad boy and so we were well acquainted in the eighties.
            I wrote to Vaithy Chitappa about the visit and he responded like a dream: Sathi, you are a genuine person to match your words and actions. I am so happy that you met TS’s daughter and they must have found strength from your visit.
            Now let me end this twin tales with a heavy dose of FALSE HUMILITY: I don’t believe I am a genius or great but if long standing friends like Dr. Rajaram and distant relations Jayashree and Vaithy uncle feel, then there must be some truth in there!