Geneva Diaries #55



Dear Roger,

How wonderful it is to get an email from you from right here in the depths of my lows. Everytime I feel I’ve hit rock bottom there seems more to go, and from this point i’m no longer sure which way is up!

Roger, you did something magical to me, you planted a kernel, a desire to write, to write about all my experiences, my feelings and everything that moved and inspired me. You inspired me. You supported me. You gave me a mission, something to absorb myself in so that I may pass my near impossible daily existence in Geneva in the throes of a bad marriage and messy divorce. I would make a note of all I did and saw, even the most mundane experiences, and weave a web trying it with my life and experiences sprinkled with the reading I did while in Geneva all to present to you a vividly gift wrapped box, in Indian pink. Then there was the anticipation and finally your response, which often put me over the moon as my fledgling attempts at story telling seemed to have your stamp of approval with a request for more. I survived Geneva because of you Roger, but now when I need you the most you seem to have moved far away. Or perhaps I have.

The tsunami of ideas and creative energy that you helped unleash seem to have receded, died a smothering death. I would spend innumerable hours taking mental notes of everything I saw, read and experienced to weave into my little tale to share with you. In fact, at one stage I was so inundated with ideas that I though I was somehow destined to fill all the libraries of cyberspace with my imagination. I felt I had so much to contribute that all the hours of the day would not suffice. Well guess what, its been three months, three long months without a flicker, a spark, a stirring in my soul. It’s as though I have been sabotaged, having all my breath taken from me.

My star returns to me this weekend, I shall then attempt to put pen to paper and reignite my soul.

Love and hugs to everybody.



Dear Purnima,

You are really wonderful to have remembered my BD, and I am terribly ashamed that I forgot to write to you on your birthday.  23rd of Sept., right ?  Can you ever forgive me and accept my on-bended-knees apology ?  I hope you had a wonderful day and did something that took your mind off of divorces, child custody battles and the heat in Delhi.

I had a delightful day.  We stayed home and A fixed a lovely Asian spicy dish for dinner.  We washed down the birthday cake from our favourite patisserie in La Roche sur Foron with a bottle of excellent champagne while we watched a Japanese movie I had downloaded.  We are leaving for ten days in Japan tomorrow and plan to continue the celebration there on Sunday with a meal in a Singaporean restaurant Annick found on internet.

Before we ever decided to return to Thailand for the winter, A had signed up for a week-long intensive Japanese class in Tokyo, so we leave tomorrow and will return on the 22nd.  It will be fun and relaxing to spend a week in Tokyo and not have too much to try and see and do.  I’m going to take a couple of short train trips while A is immersed in her Japanese lessons, and we are going to Kobe on Friday and Saturday to see friends there and then have invited some other friends to lunch in Tokyo on the following Sunday.

We’ll only have about a week at home again before we leave for Thailand on the 30th.   Busy, but exciting, times.

And what about you ?  Have things leveled off for you ?  Did you decide which school you wanted to put your star in ?  Any new and exciting adventures to write about ?  Are you writing ?! ! ! – please say yes !

There have been some interesting bits in the media about proposed reforms in India that would allow big-box style retail outlets like Walmart and Carrefour to set up shop in India.  I hate those stores with a passion and hope the demonstrations in India over this issue will have an impact on any final decision.

And, we are sad that Murakami didn’t win the Nobel Prize in Literature today.  Choosing a Chinese writer is probably worst thing the Nobel Committee could have done because of the on-going conflict between Japan and China.  Speaking of books, I just finished a fascinating book about Japanese women who came to the West Coast of the US in the early years of the 20th century.  They were all brides (arranged marriages, of course) of Japanese men who were already living in California.  It’s called The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka, an American of Japanese heritage.  It was a wonderful read and it made me think of how you must have felt when you arrived in Sunny California, although many years later than these women.  Now I’ve started reading Ian McEwan’s latest book, Sweet Tooth, which is about a ravishingly beautiful and intelligent young woman in England in the 70’s who is recruited by MI5 to work for the British Secret Service.  She is involved with an aspiring writer who isn’t aware of her secret life as a spy.  

Thanks again for the birthday greetings.  I was really very touched.  I miss you and our chats, and it would indeed be wonderful to try and see if we can’t use Skype to stay more in touch.  I’ll send you my Skype name when we get to Thailand.

Hugs and kisses,


Dear Roger,

Disaster has struck, there are absolutely no flights available to Geneva and on the eve of this much anticipated journey I’ve come crashing down! I have been floating on a cloud these last few weeks imagining myself revisiting old haunts, meeting friends, and once again inhaling that crisp Alpine air as I carve the mountainside kissing the azure blue skies. with great effort, I had my skies taken out from the dark dusty dungeon, the recesses of my sub conscious, that they had been resigned to for eternity. I even had my ski outfits and all my ski gear laid out across my apartment to breathe for a bit, I pranced and paraded feeling young, invigorated and alive once more. I even managed to persuade a friend to come down from London and open up her apartment in Chamonix, and now I have no ticket to paradise! This is totally absolutely unfair!! I cannot accept!!!

Roger, I was almost halfway to Geneva in my dreams. Over the last few weeks, as I watched the Sochi Olympics, I imagined myself straining my mind, body and soul down those precipitous runs, (of course in my instance these runs were in Chamonix) as I was eyeballed the curious chamois who had crawled out of the mountainside to view this strange bird from the Himalayas who had obviously lost her way. I had much planned, in addition to the skiing, I was hoping for moments of reflection, intense self revelation as the brilliant sunshine made its way to me through clouds and peaks. Like my ancestors who journeyed to the Himalayas for introspection and revelation, the Vedic sages of yore, I was hoping the Alps would sharpen my mind and stir my soul as I continued to ponder issues of morality in timelessness, morality in the virtual realm, Laws of Evidence and Predictive Coding. Of course, all this combined with lots of fondue, smelly French cheese and the most handsome men on earth, was a dream waiting to happen, but now, as usual I find myself splattered face first on the floor of my apartment!

Dear Roger, once again from a distance there is an eerie pull, a strange past life connection, The Matterhorn beckons, its calls out to me in a haunting rhythmic tone…”come to me, come to me”. 

Return once again to my fav theme from South Pacific, Bali Hi and the lonely island, the mountain calls out “come to me, come to me“:

Love and hugs




Dear Roger, 

But, YOU are from what I have seen, balanced, logical and a rational man, AND you are American! 

Where and how do you fit into this diaspora and where can we find more of you? In France?? Such a pity, because the likes of you are needed more than ever on the home-turf. And, home-turf as you may know is being gripped by a silent hysteria. Where paranoia is being drummed up about certain minorities, and the thunderingly pious streak in the majority is being tapped to “do good”. As we have discussed in the past, the scenery and clothes may have changed but the jury, the ten good men remain the same. The Japanese concentration camps on US soil of second and third generation immigrants who have and know no other home than the United States of America (like my children), is not a world away, a relic of the past but in my opinion the alarming future if the likes of you are not on the ground to restore the balance. 

Just yesterday, I found my kids laughing at the jokes of an American comedian on youtube who was parodying the inability to pronounce the alien name Ahmed, so he spelled it A+H+ (phlem)+M+E+D. I laughed sharing the humor with the kids but reminded them that the laugh was really on them, on the person with the inability to understand and pronounce a foreign name.  Where are these voices, this cultural infrastructure peering over the shoulders of our kids sharing their moment yet guiding them in the right direction. I think somehow the fault also lies with the immigrant population that has not been able to color the melting pot with its brilliant hues but has just melded into it blindly embracing Americana; after all, isn’t that what the journey was for in the first place? 

After being inundated with Percy Jackson books blogs and movies by the kids, a brilliant character part man part god, taken from greek mythology, incorporating the superpowers of the greek gods themselves which has so excited and connected with this generation, I have decided that my Japanese comic book character must follow a similar pattern, part girl, part goddess: incorporating the attributes of Saraswati or Benzaiten the beautiful goddess of knowledge and the fierce and blood curdling Blue Tara, slayer of demons. Characters little known outside our world and culture. My kids have abandoned me as loony, do you wish to be my co-author?

Percy Jackson: 


Blue Tara:

And, talking about loony…I seemed to have returned from Morocco back to “Purnima Au Pays Des Marveillles”! It’s the same story…

An upside down, irrational world. Nothing seems to fit. I seem to sometimes shrink and simultaneously expand drawing stares and glares.The deck of baddies seem to lurk around every street corner, eyeballing me as i walk past. The gnome with the briefcase, the evil man with the hat, the mad woman with the dog and the beer bellied bulging ogre seem to lie waiting for their opportunity to strike…

Yes, this outcry is from the same person who prides herself on her clear vision and rational mind. It is such a mind that is being put to its fullest test by both the gods and the demons, someone has stolen their thunder… how dare it be in the possession of the mortal or even the virtual world! 

I hear myself rambling on, spinning stories, expanding the truth, blurring the horizons between fiction and reality. Inconceivable, unacceptable! What happened to the rational person, a person with no agenda, no hidden interest and one who spoke out, clearly and logically most of the time? One who if she said “Ashwatthama is dead”, the great sages of yore would sit up and rethink their battle strategy changing the fate of the battle forever.

 Ashwatthama in the great Indian epic Mahabharata was the son of the  great guru, and military strategist and general,  Dronacharya, teacher to the future kings. Drona’s (mentioned in my earlier mail in the story of Eklavya) love for Arjuna, the brilliant Pandava prince and prime pupil was only second to his love for his son Ashwatthama. During the Mahabharata war, Drona was a formidable and devastating force on the side of the Kauravas (The State/The Kingdom) and a strategy was devised to eliminate him by the god Krishna who supported the Pandavas (The Exiled Contenders for the throne). 

An elephant named Ashwatthama was killed on the battlefield and the bugle was sounded announcing Ashwatthama’s death. Drona refused to believe it unless he heard it from Yudhisthir, the eldest of the Pandavas and the one who firmly adhered to honesty and Dharma. Upon hearing it from his lips and not hearing the part that it was Ashwatthama the elephant that had actually died, Drona got off his chariot, laid down his arms and bowed his head in grief when he was treacherously decapitated. Thus turning the fate of the battle in the favor of the Pandavas. What is interesting to note is that Drona was very conscious about upholding the code of war (very pertinent and topical today) where conventional weapons were to be pitted against conventional warfare, persons with special skills and knowledge pitted against their equal and celestial weapons (nukes) were not to be used unless the code of warfare was violated. Something tells me that he would not have condoned the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki under any of the then existing circumstances.



Returning to ME, as I delve into the turmoil within, I sense perhaps I am being discredited. I am no longer able to speak out with confidence. I sense, recognizing it to be the most irrational sensation, that my mind is being monitored, even manipulated. No longer can the veracity and wisdom of my words be relied upon. Beyond blending with fiction, I fear I am lost! 

Hope you have a wonderful trip!


P.S. I still have to keep you up for my 1001 nights, don’t go to bed 


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