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

Do You Want To Fly?

Manhattan January 1993: A friend offers to pay for a Vedic Astrological reading with James Kelleher, an American who studied with great teachers in India and returned to the west to share his amazing gifts of illumination.

I don’t believe in this outdated crap, I say to him, stubborn as ever—how the hell can a complete stranger possibly help me? But my friend insists—he cannot stand to see me continuing to reel, both emotionally and financially, without a clue about what I should do—at the time I was on the verge of losing considerable financial assets due to a pending divorce.

Believe it or not, Kelleher’s compassionate reading that freezing morning in Manhattan did save my life. He warned me that what was to come would test my emotional mettle to breaking point—and assured me that if I did make it through that hellish year, I would enter a period of progressive prosperity, creativity and renewed zest for life. It was listening to his calm voice on the audio tape he handed me after his reading that pulled me through that darkest of times. Why did I have such faith in him? Because his other predictions had rung so true. Continue reading