From “Consider the Source” to “Who Am I?”

opening-imageI flew from south India to Manhattan in the summer of 1986 as a young bride with great expectations. Almost none of these hopes were met; as the saying goes, the Great Goddess laughs when you tell her your plans.

For one thing, I had yearned to study creative writing for film at New York University. My husband (now ex) had assured me I could. It didn’t take long for this exciting plan to be shot down by my mother-in-law, who wielded a powerfully negative influence on our life. I was urged to find a job instead, so I could get used to a new culture and lifestyle—and assured this was all for my own good. Once I found my feet, they both promised earnestly, I would be in a better position to really study.

Gnashing my teeth, I learned how to wear a suit and pumps so I could interview. Soon I had a job I did not deserve: I had been an advertising copywriter in south India but now I was Director of Media and Public Relations of a small but prosperous trade advertising agency located on downtown Broadway. Apparently the confident demeanor I had projected along with my excellent speaking English had impressed my new employer. Shell-shocked by the prospect of what lay ahead, I could see no way out of this predicament other than to brazen things out. Continue reading

Luminous Kalyanamitras – Part 3

images-ramana1Looking back, I guess my earliest kalyanamitras were Carol and Venu, who dispensed solace and help as I careened wildly in and out of their lives during my frenzied adolescence and twenties; without them, and without exaggeration, I may not have survived.

At a time in Manhattan when I could not see beyond the thicket of my personal problems, Joneve insisted I start writing again. Her persistence unleashed a force within me that soon began to roar like a tiger; simultaneously, a wellspring of courage began to flow, allowing me to grow to meet the challenges I faced.

Silver-haired and gracious talk-therapist Amy met with me once a week for years in her spacious office in lower Manhattan. As I listened to myself trot out a nauseating stream of excuses about why I could not change my domestic circumstances, I realized the sniveling coward in the mirror would have to die if I was to thrive again. Amy taught me how to cut through the babble of guilt, fear and social conditioning in order to hear the still small voice within. Continue reading