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Shakti Goes West

By Gotham Chopra

(Courtesy of Gotham Chopra and intentblog.com)

Not long ago, before I got married, I attended the most western of traditions: a bachelor party (not my own). It was filled with all of the requisite charms: steak and alcohol, gambling and cigars, and of course, strippers.

By the end of the night, our group found ourselves at an establishment by the name of Bare Elegance.

As things tend to go, one by one, members of our party were led to back rooms where ‘more intimate” sessions take place with girls who go by names like Chastity, Aura, Starr Ryder, Blaze, etc. For a variety of reasons, I refrained from the backroom activities, only to find myself alone with a dancer and ironically in the exact scenario I hoped to avoid.

She pulled me towards a pillowed chair, a small intimate setting where hundreds, perhaps thousands, before me had once ventured.

I sat down, got comfortable, lay my head back, and prepared myself. And then she started.

‘Oh my God!” She started. “I am so excited!’

“Me too!” I grinned.

“Your friend just told me who your father is! Wow!” She smiled. “I am, like, his biggest fan! I’ve read all his books and I meditate and am becoming a yoga instructor. I’m also studying in Ayurveda.”

I stared at her helplessly. “Great,” I croaked.

“My stage name is Shakti and everything!’ She was not going to be stopped. “This is, like, such synchrodestiny! What a meaningful coincidence! It’s amazing we would meet like this! Total Dharma!”

”Amazing,” I nodded sorrowfully.

”I am looking for a new Guru. I kind of like Sri Sri. He’s so the new Dalai Lama,’ she nodded.

”And oh, when my father was diagnosed last year with cancer, Quantum Healing became my Bible. Do you practice Ayurveda?”

No time for answers. And yes, strippers have fathers. Nasty, needless reminder.

“Actually maybe you could advise me on this strange cold I’ve had for, like two months. Weird!”

I backed away a little.

She was so wound up she just kept going. “And now I am reading some Rajneesh. Wow, like genius. Oh but really Ayurveda...it’s my calling. I am Vata...really vata. Can you tell? Sometimes with a pitta imbalance. What’s you dosha?”

“Tell me something,” she said all wide-eyed and jazzed, “do you think breast implants are, like, you know, bad karma?”

Being the son of Deepak ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.

GOTHAM CHOPRA, the son of bestselling author Deepak Chopra, is a correspondent for Channel One and the author of Child of the Dawn. He divides his time between New York and Los Angeles.

Read Kavita’s Cover Story on Tributes to Mom featuring Gotham Chopra

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A Time to Kill

By Rahul Khanna

(Courtesy of Rahul Khanna and intentblog.com)




(Photo: Subi Samuel)

I’m a firm believer in non-violence but I’m also aware that we all have limits we can be pushed to. I have often wondered if driven to it, could I kill?

Late last night I found out.

I had just come home and, as I was undressing, I suddenly felt I was not alone. I was being watched. I slowly turned around, scouring the room and focused on a slight movement in the corner. There he was. Peeping out from his hiding spot under the piano. Coldly staring me straight in the eye. I froze in terror.

It immediately occurred to me how different my life here in New York is from my life in Bombay. There, in a situation like this, all I’d have to do is intercom my staff and they’d march in armed with a selection of brooms, rolled up newspaper and other weaponry. I would point out the intruder and then leave the room while they took care of the assassination. Only once they had finished the dirty work and cleaned up, would I return.

Here, it was different. I was alone. I had no troops. No army of assassins. If I called up the doorman or super, I’d be the laughing stock of the building. No, I would have to face this trespasser myself. It was a rite of passage I had to go through. I felt like a lion cub about to hunt his first gazelle. The battle lines were drawn. It was man against cockroach.

I told myself I could do it. I was a grown man hundreds of times his size. I lift weights. I’ve shot guns and even done my own stunts in movies, for god’s sake. So then why was I suddenly breathless and why was my heart threatening to pound right out of my chest?

We both stood deathly still, surveying each other. Waiting to see who’d make the first move. I could sense the beast was hoping to cross the room and make it to the safe refuge under the bed. And I knew if he succeeded, chances of finding him in the labyrinth of exercise equipment there were slim. I had to get him before.

Suddenly, he made a dash for it. There was no time to think. I lunged for the closest weapon, a sneaker. He expertly dodged and swerved. I missed the first time but on my second strike I connected. There was a carpet underneath so I realised the impact hadn’t crushed him, but rather trapped him within the grooves of the sole and I knew the minute I so much as moved the shoe, he would dart out and be forever lost. There was only one option. It was time for chemical warfare.

Not caring that I was in just my boxers, I ran out into the hallway and grabbed a can of ant spray that I’d seen discarded in the compactor room. It would have to do. I came back in and began to plan my next move. I stared at the shoe for a couple of minutes. Then circled it a few times, evaluating the best angle to approach the next phase from. Strategy was key and I didn’t want to rush into it. Once decided, I took aim, a deep breath and quickly lifted the shoe as I simultaneously started spraying wildly. The wily bugger was quicker than I anticipated. He zipped out and managed to make it to the bed. But just as he disappeared under it, I nailed him with one well aimed squirt between the wings. Wounded and disoriented he would now be easy to hunt out.

With adrenalin induced Herculean strength, I hurled the bed aside and there he was, cowering besides a dumbbell. Panting and dripping with sweat, we stared at each other knowing these were the climactic seconds of the battle. And then he made one last brave but feeble run for it but he knew it was hopeless. The duel was over. I unleashed so much ant spray that I think he might have died from drowning rather than the poison.

As I looked at him lying belly up in a pool of pesticide, I was overcome with a mixture of accomplishment and guilt (or was I just high from the fumes?). I must have used half a roll of paper towel to lift his remains and carry them at arms length to the trash and the other half to scrub the floor, in true Lady Macbeth fashion, till the stain and smell were gone.

It was finished. I needed a drink.

Actor Rahul Khanna made his feature film debut in Deepa Mehta’s "Earth". His performance earned him several major Indian acting awards, including the prestigious Filmfare and Bollywood awards for Best Debut (2000). He was also named one of the ’Best and Brightest New Talents’ of the Toronto International Film Festival (1998) by the Toronto Star newspaper. After studying at the famed Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute and the School of Visual Arts in New York, Rahul began his career as a VJ with MTV Asia.

Read Kavita’s interview with Rahul Khanna

Read Rahul Khanna’s Book Review of Kiran Nagarkar’s "Cuckold"

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