Chat with an ex-film star
Chat with an ex-film star: Fall from the sky! Life, that is
Some of you may have spent time in Singapore Changi Airport. All the three terminals are worth seeing experience. I have spent lot of hours in my life in that Airport. I have had vivid experience because of my habit of speaking to fellow passengers.
There is a vegetarian restaurant in the mezzanine floor- after a long hours in aircraft with alien dishes, I would go there for desi idly sambar, though not very tasty. Three years ago, I have seen a man in late fifties having a coffee there. His face, which looked little pale and down, was very very familiar. After some time, I recognized the face – he was a famous film star during my college time.
He had acted in Tamil, Kannada, Telugu and Malayalam movies and a contemporary of today’s top super stars in South Indian movies. (I am not mentioning his name for reasons obvious)
I have rushed near him and asked: “Sir, Are you Mr.X”
He gave me a blank look and said:”Unfortunately yes, you are right!”
I smiled and introduced myself.
“Oh, a journalist. A vulture who wants to dig story of a fallen star!!!”
“I am sorry Sir…I am not a film journalist. My area is techno-economy. I informed you about my profession, that’s all. I have been seeing your movies during my teen”
“Oh, a fan of ex-super-star”
“Wrong guess again, sorry. I am not your fan. I liked your movies and I do remember few scenes too…”
“Ok Ok…Now I am not in the field…I am gone….” Then he has shown some gestures that I didn’t understand.
“Sir, if you don’t want to talk, I shall leave. I have six more hours to board the connection flight to India…”
“Oh, same as mine…Ok…OK, let’s talk…What’ there? What do you want to know…?”
“How are you sir?”
“Not good…:”Curt answer.
After a while, I asked: “So, you left movie…”
“It is a long story Sir… I am very depressed man …and totally ruined”
“Oh, I am sorry to hear that. Didn’t you try to overcome that?”
“I tried everything I can, but of no use…Nobody can…it is fate…When bad times come nothing will work. Every bad thing will come together…Desitny…fate…my karma” he has run his thumb nail through his forehead.
“Sir, I feel there is a mix of free-will and destiny in all our life. We have freedom, but within a bandwidth limit…”
“Scrap….” he looked at me and nodded himself: “You look honest, may be a cheat in disguise, who knows? But let me tell you…You won’t understand. One day, people adore you….next day everything has gone… I am on almost the verge of suicide my friend, nothing is clicking…I am facing the bad, toughest time for the last few years….” he said. He really meant it. He looked sad and depressed. It’s all written in his face.
I felt empathy for him. “You said nothing worked for you…can you please tell me what all are the things you did?”
“I tried out all the usual methods to come out of depressive and anxious state- watched a lot of television, actively involved myself in sports, got away from it all with a vacation. Also, I tried some of the most common methods – stimulants – smoke drink and even drugs. All those things when we sail in a rough weather in life… Eventually, I found that none of these methods work. Because mind keeps working overtime and frustrating thoughts never cease…So I am on stronger drugs now”
“Oh, you mean medications?”
“Yes. Otherwise I would have been a dead man now. I take drugs and treatments for hypertension, cholesterol, panicky, anxiety neurosis and horror. I have diabetics too”
Psychosomatic diseases are very dangerous indeed. “Sir, I also have faced such depressing situation in my life…”
“Did you do all these things?” his eyed popped.
“No Sir. I used some other methods to get out of it, will talk about it later…but I must say there are different ways to different people…”
“It is easy when you have money and backing. I have lost all my money. During the days of helm, I was so egotist and didn’t make any friends…Hmm…There is no friendship in film field…I could have saved, invested wisely like today’s stars do…But what to do…fate…”
I didn’t say anything…
“Ok…we were talking about medications…I know…I know drugs and medications are no long-term cure for such mind-related problems. But, do you know, I have turned to spiritual leaders, religions, psychologists, and all other people in the business of personality development… They teach us many techniques and methods to control your thoughts and thus the mind. With the assumption that mind control is the essence of peace and happiness…I tried all those things…”
“There are numerous mind controlling techniques available in the market” I said…”What did you specifically?”
“Various types of meditation techniques I learned….all with an aim is concentration of mind and then controlling it…”
“Actually, it worked for me the other way around, meditation should be de-concentration, focusing on the mind and observing oneself in the moment, while not resisting thoughts or emotions…” that was a slip of my tongue.
“Oh yeah, really?” he got irritated and raised voice:”Do you think you are Mr. Know-all?”
I kept mum for a minute, then asked: “Is it possible to concentrate on single object or a mantra or a positive thought for long? It is not very possible to control your mind – according to me, it is a myth.”
“Because, you are using your own mind to control it… It is like entrusting the key of your treasure box to a thief. The mind will keep on producing thoughts, and you don’t have any control over it. If I tell you don’t think of monkey, only thoughts related to monkey will come up. In fact mind has a tendency to cling on the negative side to a large extend. Try this today – tell your mind that you want to have a sound sleep. Most likely you won’t get a sleep until mid-night…”
“Hmmm…That’s true…yes…I have experienced it…you know, I have insomania too”
“I am also a light sleeper Sir” I said. That means he has got a support which made him more confident to talk.
“Hmm…Then, I turned to spirituality…”
“You mean to say, you were not spiritual until then?”
“No. I was very materialistic and egotic…Not spiritual…”
“Sir, I don’t understand the difference between being spiritual and being materialistic…”I said.
“Spiritual means….related to god…”
“Sir, you mean to say god doesn’t exist in any materials? I think, different people define spirituality in different ways, depending upon their concepts and conditioning. For some, it is being religious. For some it is related to rituals and prayer…And regarding ego…material ego is less harmful than spiritual ego, the latter being very subtle… I really don’t know how one is separate from other. Both spirituality and materialism is the same. One cannot exist without another. So why should we classify? ”
He thought for a while. Then said: “I mean prayers….Even gods left me. I was praying and doing all the rituals earnestly…What about prayer? Why it didn’t help. Lot of spiritual/religious heads advised me for strong payers for holistic healing. But nothing worked…Even gods’ lost interest in me”
“I don’t know if prayer works for all. Sometimes it worked for me…Sometimes not…So we cannot generalize it. Sometimes it works. Some people say it works. Some says it is rubbish…It depends on various factors. It is a relative issue…But whatever said and done, I do agree that prayer has some psychological value. It works like a medicine or as a sort of placebo or eye-wash at times….”
“Hmm…When I was totally broke, I have borrowed money from others to perform rituals…”
“I don’t know if any gods have stated that “you do that, I will do this for you”. The entire universe belongs to god, so why should he/she/it wants some coins from you as a barter with happiness? Isn’t it silly kiddish thinking? Is god a trader? Priests or astrologers may tell such cock-and-bull stories about rituals…”
“Hmm..You are talking sense…So; you also know that prayer doesn’t work”
“I didn’t say that..it may, it may not…If we slightly change the script of praying, results would be wonderful. Instead of praying ‘Oh, God, I have a problem/situation here, save me’, pray: ‘See, Mister Problem or Mister Situation, I have God here to save me’ you will get better experience…”
“Thanks for the tip” he said mockingly…”It is easy to give free advice…but when it comes to you, you will know…”
I passed it. I asked: “What other methods did you try?”
“I went hiatus…Was in Himalays for sometime…to run away from all my problems…Solitude for happiness…it was okay for sometime…But you know what happens after we come back to this world full of sound and fury?”
“Yes sir, I know… here also I have an argument. Solitude is not the absence of noise – it is the quieting of the human mind. One may be surrounded by sounds and noises in the lively world and yet maintain perfect serenity of mind. Such a person is always in solitude. Another person may live in the forest or sound-proof air-conditioned room but still be unable to quite his/her mind. He cannot be said to be in solitude. Solitude is an attitude of the mind…”
“Yeah – but I don’t understand what you say, I tried yoga too…”
He explained about some yoga postures.
I told him:”Patanjali in his text of Yoga Sutras mentions a hundred thousand yoga postures…How you will know which one is suitable for you? Yes, yoga is an age-old proven system which helps fight stress. But how many of those “instant yoga” teachers really understand the concept of yoga and its methods? ”
– Yoga is all about being awake, being mindful of your actions along with 100 percent relaxation. While doing the postures we must be mindful of our breath and should be relaxed. Yoga means “union” in Sanskrit.
– According to Yogis, true happiness, liberation and enlightenment comes from the union of the transcendent self with the divine consciousness.
“It is imperative that you learn from a genuine Yogi. Actual yogis are not motivated by money or material appeasements. I don’t know why it didn’t work for you …you should have avoided the ‘Super Market Yoga’ or ‘Instant Yoga’ kind of teachers that are plentiful.”
“How did you know that? There was this yoga master who taught me yoga in three weeks!!!”
“I know. In the West too, there are hundreds of yoga masters making a living out of it. I saw many people and instructors approach yoga with the gym mentality – got to sweat and get a good work out. Actually, the principles of Yoga happen to be just the opposite…”
“Oh yeah? I tried breathing technique…”
“I have attended a course and learned it in two days…”
“Should be some branded product from the market…”
“Yes- I paid for it…”
“Our ancestors in-stored thousands of pranayama techniques. But now-a-days we are selling those techniques using modern marketing strategies…what to do? If you don’t know what kind of pranayama suits you, what’s the point in doing it?”
“What pranayama will suit me?”
“How do I know? I am not an expert in yoga or pranayama…what I know is everybody is a unique expression and a technique suitable for one person won’t be suitable for another one….”
“So you say there is no way for me to escape? No, nothing? Hmm….In short there are no guaranteed ways to control mind for attaining happiness…”
“As long as you seek any techniques or methods from outside, you may not get happiness…” I said.
“So what do I do now?” he asked.
“Simple! Drop the idea of controlling your mind. Do not waste your time, money, energy and life on such ideas. I am not negating those things…Some or many of these methods may help some people, it definitely cannot help all. Do not ever try to control your mind and thoughts forcefully. It is a futile effort.”
“So you are denying everything…are you an atheist or philosopher something? Or are you trying to act smart with me?”
“I am no nothing…I am just a truth seeker…Whenever I get time like this, I don’t go sleep – instead, I talk to a person and share his/her experience for hours together. I like discussing various aspects of life and learn from others. I am seeing cosmic message in each and everything in this world…But without healthy disrespect to all existing methods and technique, concepts and notions, how can you learn? I need to experience as much as possible…”
“So there is no solution?”
“Sir, we always seek psychological security in scriptures, holy texts, gurus, techniques, rituals and methods…there is no security in anything. Nothing is permanat in the universe…Nothing…No security in any ideas… no gaurantee…you will have to find your solution…”
“Ok, so, there is no solution for my problem…”
“Every problem comes with a solution. Instead of being part of the problem by fighting it, accept and acknowledge your problem…you believe in god, right?
“Yes, of course…”
“Then why can’t you accept any situation or problem has come to you with the knowledge of god. You feel stressed because you create conflict with what is given to you (problem or situation) by god, that way insulting god’s wisdom. Accept the situation AS IS. Once you acknowledge your problem without string in it, you will be relaxed. Then only you will see solution…”
“I am totally broke my friend. I have nothing…Nobody wants me…Not even my family. Agreed, I was arrogant and stubborn…but still I loved my family. Now they think I am a burden…Do you know why did I come to Singapore? I heard that old people will get some jobs here…” he became very emotional.
I really felt sorry for him. I got up and held his hand. Then I told him: “Sir, you have lot of experience in the film field. You are a talented person. You will have market, only that you have to find the niche market where in you can place yourself…”
“You look very confident….”his face brightened.
“Yes, I am…but nothing comes free in this world… I have two conditions…”
“1.Do not believe in any beliefs…free yourself from beliefs…and 2. Break your conditioning…You have to de-condition your mind…”
“How’s it possible?”
“Simple – (1) Please understands that belief is not truth. Beliefs can manipulate your mind. (2) Be aware about your thoughts…Observe your thoughts, that’s all…do not judge thoughts, do not classify thoughts into good and bad”
“Imagine yourself as a sky. All thoughts are clouds. There are white clouds or (during rainy seasons) dark clouds…whatever. But see those as just clouds, irrespective of the color… Cloud comes, cloud goes…the sky doesn’t move with the cloud…You be like a sky…thoughts come, thoughts go. But you don’t go with thoughts…”
“Is it possible?”
“Yes – difficult, but not impossible. Sir you were a star…fallen or risen, whatever, you is still a star…be like a star…”
His face beamed…He looked at me very happily.
“Are you some sort of guru or master?”
“No Sir…I am sharing whatever little I have learned from my experience…I already have a profession that gives me bread and butter… so I don’t want anything from you – that includes your respect”
“So I can?”
“Yes. Everybody is perfect with all their imperfections. You are already good. You want to be better, that’s all. I don’t have a generalized solution for everything. Solution depends upon person to person…”
“Solution doesn’t depend upon problems, but on people, you said?”
“That’s a different way of thinking…”
“When I talked to you, intuitively I felt empathy and I travelled along with you. I still don’t understand your real problem. I can’t read your mind. Coming to that, I can’t even read my own mind – it is so complicated and complex. People who say they can read others mind are just joking… But I have the solution for you – that’s been clicked in my mind by divine grace…So please don’t think I am better than you anyways…”
We have had a log chat on conditioning, de-conditioning, awareness and witnessing. I shall write about it when I get time. But let me tell you about a happy-ending. This star is my best friend now. He is in film field. Not as an actor, but he is making a decent living. That makes me very happy. That makes me think that I am worthy of living too. Without sharing and caring what’s there in life?
We all have such incidents in life. Somebody helps us in crucial times. And sometimes we become instrumental in helping others. That’s something known as divine grace.
Let’s share and care. Let’s get connected:
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