This appeared in Bombay Times on monday....Mumbai experienced 'winter' for exactly three days and thirty-six minutes! Put your toosh away, Mumbaikars, and get ready for Mumbai's only 'real' season - muggy!
I am reading a delightful interview with me conducted by London- based literary journo Anita Sethi. It appeared as a full page piece in The National ( Arts & Life ) - the leading daily published in the UAE. Why delightful? Well .... my daughter Arundhati was holidaying in Dubai over New Year's and she came across the paper quite by chance! That was a lovely surprise. If you guys want to read it, I guess you'll have to log on to http://www.thenational.ae/ (monday, 3rd Jan). Good luck!
One World – One Life – Pyar hi Pyar!
I have to say SRK’s ‘new, improved’ loving mood in 2011 is highly infectious! I woke up on New Year’s Day to find his cheerful, upbeat interview (“Let there be love…”) on the front page of this very paper! I blinked… and blinked again. Wow! Something wonderful has happened to SRK…and he has reconnected with the child in him. Why not? His words and sentiments sounded sincere. He seems to mean what he is saying about love being the only true emotion in the world. He is in a giving, forgiving mood – and we are ready to receive! New beginnings are meant for just such positive feelings. Coincidentally enough, my mood was similar when I accepted Kia Scherr’s persuasive invitation to meet her for a cup of tea at the Trident where she has been staying for a while. Who is Kia? Let me put it this way : she is a grieving wife and mother, who is coming to terms with the loss of her daughter Naomi and husband Alan who died at one of the restaurants in the hotel during the 26\11 Terror Attacks in 2008. She herself was thousands of miles away in Florida at a reunion with other members of her family, when someone called her to say, ‘Switch on the television… Mumbai is under attack… the hotel Naomi and Alan are staying in has been taken over by terrorists.” Even as she watched the grim drama…. numbed by the horrific images , she was somehow convinced that her loved ones would be safe. It was a belief she clung on to during the entire period, till she received a call from the FBI to confirm that her beloved little girl and devoted husband were both dead. Sitting by the large bay windows of the lounge on the 28th floor, Kia recreated the aftermath of those dreadful days, and broke down several times, recovering swiftly and bravely to talk about why she is in the city. Kia has decided to convert her personal tragedy into a lifelong mission by launching ‘One Life Alliance’. When she speaks passionately about honouring the sacredness of life, it is easy to sense her total commitment to the cause. As a meditation teacher for over 30 years ( she started with Transcedental Meditation and later moved on to join Master Charles who is an ordained monk in the Vedic tradition).Today, all that experience is helping her to heal… and more importantly, to reach out to others. While in Mumbai she had the opportunity to meet both President Obama and President Sarkozy when they met the survivors and families of those who died during 26\11. This weekend, Kia is planning an important seminar at the hotel where she hopes to communicate her message of peace and forgiveness to a large audience. I told her bluntly that in order to get extensive media coverage, she would have to approach a big Bollywood star. She said she had watched ‘My Name is Khan’ in America and loved the film. I promptly suggested Shah Rukh Khan’s name. Kia looked a little hesitant as she confessed she had zero contacts with Bollywood, and the closest she’d come to a big star was when she briefly shook hands with Salman Khan before the tight security cordon around him made it impossible for her to actually talk to him. Not one to give up easily, she is determined to get through to one of the biggies and has managed to reach Aamir Khan! She asked me whether our Chief Minister would support her initiative and agree to take a pledge in public. I laughed…. sorry…. Couldn’t help it. I am sure our new Chief Minister is a great guy… but at the end of the day, he’s a politician. I honestly cannot see a single politician in India taking a pledge in public that he\she is willing to honour. And what good is an insincere pledge meant for television?
To the question – ‘How can I make a difference?’ Kia has an answer : “One person at a time. One community at a time.”
It is remarkable to see such fortitude . Kia maybe a long, long way from America But I get the feeling she has found her spiritual home right here in Mumbai…
Kia is no longer alone…
I watched ‘The Tourist’ last week and loved it! That the performances of Johnny Depp and Anjelina Jolie are not exactly award worthy ( forget the Golden Globe nominations) is pretty obvious. But, my God! Aren’t they just the most glamourous couple alive???Which other duo on earth can come anywhere close to these two red hot superstars? The movie is entertaining in an unadulterated Bollywood way - so far fetched, so shallow. B -ut as pure eye candy, it’s hard to beat the lead pair . Throw in Venice at its sensuous best as the locale for all the mad action and you get a big, fat bonus! Aur kya chahiye, boss?
Here’s to a deliciously wicked 2011.