CHEAP THRILLS

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9e1a511e7a9166a72e30bd913768d213Growing up in south India at a time when the West was not as accessible as it is to Indians today, my first glimmerings of the wild life I (delusionally) believed all Americans and Europeans led was via the thrillers of writers like James Hadley Chase. Yes, I read Agatha Christie too, and more sedate authors, but it was the paperback thrillers I found most addictive, for they spoke of hippies and drugs and scarlet women pouting at bad guys and getting murdered—and of course there was always the unwary bystander or canny detective who got dragged willy-nilly into the spicy stew.

Oh, how exciting it was to get one of those books in my greedy hands and to devour it at a single stretch! There were times I’d read a book a day, and since it wasn’t easy to find this kind of material lying around then, I’d woo anyone who had a home library and was willing to share his/her hoard with me.

It was my brother-in-law, an academic and professor, who dourly pointed out to me the effects that reading what he called ‘trash’ would have on my impressionable mind. It’s a hard addiction to break, he warned, and when you need to digest serious stuff, you won’t be able to. I dismissed his warnings since I was doing very well in academics myself, and believed, with all the raw arrogance of youth, that I knew better than preachy fuddy-duddies how to separate study from fun. Continue reading

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Rejection is God’s Protection…

image-1Years ago in Manhattan I enjoyed attending a spiritual meeting where people of varied ethnic backgrounds, professions and ages congregated to remind themselves of the power of the Divine running through their often thorny lives.

One guy—a talented young actor who’d made it big in a Broadway show, and who had then been fired unceremoniously when its sponsor went bankrupt, had been breaking my heart with his stark honesty about the frightening situation into which he’d been hurled: on the strength of the lucrative role he’d just lost, he’d bought an expensive east side condo and married his girlfriend—who, to top it all, was now heavily pregnant.

Success, he confessed miserably, had gone to his head like pink champagne used to: anticipating a large income for an indefinite period of time—Broadway shows can run forever—he and his wife had extravagantly remodeled their new home and taken a slew of expensive mini vacations. Now unemployment and other benefits were barely keeping them afloat; when the baby arrived, things would get worse: if he could not pay his mortgage, he would lose his condo.

The blues had not kept him cowering at home. He’d already begun to audition for other roles—and been rejected time after time, even when it was clear his rivals could not hold a candle to his own thespian skills. Terror would flash across his face at the thought of being forced to move back to his conservative family in the Midwest—just so his girlfriend could have their child minus the stress of living in penury in the Big Apple. Dear God, he begged out loud, give me a break! Continue reading

Me & Bobby McGee…Live!

That spooky stage....

That spooky stage….

This post fits bang into the “mundane” aspect of our blog title…but it also deals with the greatest foe we each must duel on the long and winding road to freedom — voila, Monsieur EGO! 

I made my debut as diva at the age of four. Garbed in virginal white, I stood brave as a soldier on the auditorium stage of our lovely school in Bangalore, run by British, Scottish and Indian nuns. I resisted the urge to flee backstage as the curtains rose and the spotlight focused on my terrified little face—and, according to my mother, burst into a faultless rendition of an old hymn known as Immaculate Mary.

Other kids followed my opening act with a variety of performances—for an audience comprising a vast throng of parents who clapped and cheered decorously at the end of each piece. This was Parents Day, and obedient kids that we were at the time (I changed radically), our chief desire was to impress our anxious elders.

10270747-high-jumpI was also the top athlete in my class: high jump, long jump and the hundred meters sprint. Never a team player, I did not succeed at playing basketball or any sport requiring cooperative effort; today I suspect my debut on that dark stage spoiled me—after that, nothing would do but to shine as the lone star in my own constellation. Continue reading