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my childhood was spent with such frequent occurrences
something inside told me that it was normal
but it put a strange fear into me
talking about my experiences to my friends
i soon began to realise that perhaps there was something abnormal about me
and i soon became reclusive and a loner
talking long walks alone in the playground
hiding such subjects from others…remaining silent and alone


our secret kung fu club
the attraction was immense…kung fu practise was forbidden
boys will be boys…exactly what we need to get into…kung fu
bruce lee fired our imagination…our secret gatherings in the locked gym

i was doing gymnastics against the wishes of my father
i could get hurt somersaulting over the high horse
walking on my hands on the parallel bars
whirling on the roman rings…back handspring on floor exercises
danger and risk was food for men…diving through fire rings
just our kind of life…risk and laugh at danger

but kung fu was banned…even more exciting
our top secret club…brotherhood of risk takers was formed
being the son of a movie star…i got special training
and worked hard to prove my place in the group
i had to be the best as they were all watching me
intense training was the result and it worked out perfectly

on one trip home to our steel factory
i secretly prepared a pair of stainless steel rods
of the lethal and banned nan chuk
with steel chains…in leather stitched covers
it was the hottest pair of nan chuks
all my other friends with simple wooden sticks
swish swish swish…practising like bruce lee…in fury
lose control and a smashing sound into my lower back skull
knocked out dead cold
am found in a sleep chanting tibetan mantras by a scared group of my friends
what strange sounds and voices are you speaking in…this freaked them out
afraid of my strange past life chanting…i was a tibetan lama

the ten years at st pauls darjeeling were like a fairytale for me
excelling in every activity i took part in…be it sports, marathons,
gymnastics, athletics, chess, drama, arts, just about everything
always winning awards and merits
always in the limelight and leaving a trail of achievements
ending up with the headmasters award
to become the next school captain in the year 1977

then suddenly in 1976 the year of my final exams this whole dream
crashed for me…as film magazines and newspapers started to report the
separation between my mother and father
and their application for divorce
i was devastated as this was my final year and i was looking forward to
creating my new life back home with them for the first time
i saw them only during winter holidays for three months each year
with great difficulty i got special permission to leave the school and see
my parents just three weeks before my final icse exams


i knew my mother was going through great difficulties living with my
dictator like father…and i immediately let her know that i was on her
side and that i understood her and gave her my total support
my father blamed my mother for their separation and was furious with me
for supporting her always threatening that he would cut me off financially
if i ever spoke in her favour with the rest of the family


my mother came from a very poor family of four children…her parents
were just simple school teachers…my maternal grandparents mataji and pitaji were absolutely honest and humble human beings…they were very
graceful and integrated and always spoke of living for higher values in life

my father came from an industrial business family with seven children
each famous and wealthy in their own right within india

my vocal and rebellious support for my mother brought me disrepute
and separated me from my uncles, their children and my grandparents
they had the power and wealth and did not like to hear me attacking my
fathers reputation…blood is thicker than water they all said
it was unheard of that a child had the audacity and guts to speak against
elders in this orthodox industrial business family

my mothers parents remained silent and just accepted their inability to do
anything against such powerful people…being poor they were unable to
intervene saying that it would have been better to marry their daughters
into poor families and to live a simple and happy life

i went back to school and in a depressed state and missing a few final
exam papers and without any studying half heartedly sat my final exams

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