Kafez

Literary

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Location: Dublin, Republic of, Ireland

Saturday, 21 October 2006

5 Things You Didn't Know About Me (at least not my blogger friends)

Tagged by the irrepressible Atyllah. From a meme created by (forgive me if I'm wrong),
Sharon J
I think we're each of us suppose to leave the following paragraph as we go along:

Remember that it isn’t always the sensational stuff that writers are looking for, it can just as easily be something that you take for granted like having raised twins or knowing how to grow beetroot. Mind you, if you know how to fly a helicopter or have worked as a film extra, do feel free to let the rest of us know about it :-)

Unfortunately, I've had a dramatic life, so 'sensationalism' is normal to me. The ordinary things, some of you may already know. All true, swear to God! I'm also going to add on fuller details, to make each remembrance a personal story for you. Sorry about the name-dropping!

by Susan Abraham


ShahRukh Khan

For A Touch of Comedy


1) I am an accident-prone bitch!

An Example: My accident-prone nature (that had blessed my mother with a permanent frown on her pretty crown - I had broken her best Pyrex & caused her to curse that no sensible man would marry me if I kept to the habit of breaking cutlery) was finally put to good use on a quiet London afternoon last year when I nearly tumbled, collided and fell straight into the shocked suspicious arms of Bollywood heartthrob Shah Rukh Khan.

The reality was that with me having dashed out of a record store in Marble Arch, - I did not see him about to pass me on the left - and we almost collapsed in a clumsy heap on the London street. We had to steady ourselves and as Khan looked at me, he wondered all at once, is she Hindustani? Only my mother is of course. A galaxy of stars shot into my eyes and I grinned in what I hoped to be a shy, romantic fashion. I failed. His 2 middle-aged friends stared worriedly. A few kind words, winks, sympathetic smiles all round and we parted ways.

I thought of an enemy back home who had indulged in a fair bit of slander about me.

She was an old classmate who had declared war because I said she had put on weight. It must be known that Thanaletchumy was round and very fat and spotted Bugs Bunny teeth and her Miss Universe beauty was defined by how courageously she could hold her Bugs Bunny teeth in, when it came to weddings and dinners. Could just be a glint be seen or the whole chunk?

I sent a Victorian postcard of a lady in a corset to Thana. "Hello, it is a cold, cheery afternoon in England. How are you? Slimmed down yet? Oh, by the way, bumped into Shah Rukh Khan. Fell down. He rescued me and pulled me up to normal life. Wish you were here. (ShahRukh Khan is Thanaletchumy's idol. It is also very expensive to catch him in an annual concert wriggling his hips, in Singapore.)

The Marble Arch post-office stood close by. I waited some weeks but no reply. My friends, do you wonder why?

When I returned to Malaysia for a week, I called Thanaletchumy from somewhere far away. "Hi...blah...blah....and all that. She was short and ill-tempered. I asked very pleasantly, if she received my postcard. Her venom was unmistakable.

"Ohh...very smart...you think only you have seen a movie star. ..In fact, my husband was asking, who does that woman think she is? As if only she can be entertaining movie stars. Only ShahRukhKhan is handsome ah...no one else is handsome...what about me? Why did you marry? And I was saying never mind Samy. You know that Susan...she is one kind of a woman...I'm always cooking for you good curry and then my husband was saying...he was saying...darling, you tell that woman so what if my wife is fat. That is a sign of prosperity, what!

span >"Who is feeding my wife? Is she feeding my wife? Are the crows feeding my wife? No, I am the one. I am the one feeding my wife rice. Why, she is jealous uh? She thinks I cannot look like ShahRukh Kah...jealous, because I am the one feeding you perfume rice from Siam.


I hung up, rolled about on the floor and laughed and laughed.

Marianne Faithfull
For a Touch of the Serious - An Excellent Memory

2) I hold an excellent memory for telephone numbers, dates, dialogues and incidents and can also remember every injured, remark made to me from childhood. I am forgiving but will never forget a wrong done to me. I have used this ability to my great advantage in my study of human nature for my writing.

An Example:


When I was 4 years old, I had a crush for Faithfull's song "As Tears Go By." It had already been around for some years. My mother tried to interest me in old Hindustani classics and ghazals. I do appreciate ghazals but in the same way today , that I love opera or Beethoven. At the time, I also liked the hippies. I thought it fascinating that they didn't have to bathe and could wear flowers in their hair. At 6, I would know the lyrics to Kiss & Say Goodbye, by heart.
One day, my mother said to me, in a scornful tone. "Stop trying to pretend to be English when you're not."
I was shocked. How could I define myself to my own parent. At 4, I was still incapable of pretensions. I was simply being myself, I protested to my mother, that what I liked I really liked. She kept saying I was just pretending.
That was the first major sign of my misconstrued identity.
Later, there were others in the local Asian society where I come from; often fraught with tradition, conservatism and insular beliefs. Not all but a good few too, from the writing community.
I'm very glad I had the courage to follow my heart from very young that makes my writing voice what it is today. For an Asian, it is completely universal in approach. Otherwise, I don't think I could have acquired the skills to involve myself with the mastery of the English Language as I did or I would be writing nothing at all but Eastern issues. And I personally consider to be labelled such (I haven't yet) an ethnic segregation and an insult. That is, if everyone thought my capabilities as an Asian writer could only go that far.

Joan Collins
In my work as a magazine journalist, I have lunched privately with the actress Joan Collins who played the famous Alexis Carrington in Dynasty. This came about by chance. I was present with other reporters at a press conference and asked her about her work as guest editor with the Marie Claire magazine, UK edition. She was so surprised that I had gleaned this information. She asked that the hotel where she stayed, ring the magazine and invite me to be seated next to her at lunch. She rewarded me with a delicious private interview that so delighted my editors in Singapore. I found Collins to be a sparkly conversationalist and very interested in world affairs.
She also commanded a high respect for authors and loved the book world. I remembered her looking at my watch where the numbers couldn't be seen and asking, in that typical common sense tone, "how on earth did we girls learn to tell time," while twirling my wrist this way and that. She studied everything about me from my body language to my clothes. It was simply in the way that one woman looks with interest at another. That was real and nothing actressy. On the other hand, Collins was simply exquisite just to gaze at.

Vivienne Westwood
span >I have spent an afternoon with Vivienne Westwood doing a private celebrity interview. Westwood invented punk in England and stays one of the world's top designers. Through a strange miracle, we got on very well. At first Westwood would be rude and crudely forthcoming in her usual come-uppance style but I stood my ground and just in my honest, straightforward and liberal way, appeared not to be shocked at anything she said.
When she realised that I wasn't pretentious or superficial in the least, she turned into a diamond. She became totally maternal and and allowed me to ask her anything I wanted.
Later, after a fashion event in a hotel ballroom, I took my Singaporean editor to meet her backstage. I was very nervous. Would she be suddenly rude?
But she stayed delightful, "Oh Susan," she said and came over and gave my editor and myself a rousing welcome. I was surprised she still remembered my name. She shared anecdotes with us and gave me advice for my writing , saying to me that like football, I should always aim for First Division and never Third Division. She hadn't seen anything I wrote but wanted to offer me a tip for any ensuing success. Then, she hugged me. I never forgot that. I found her completely ethereal and lovely.


For A Touch of Darkness

5) A woman stalked me for 5 years.

I'll tell you about this stalker on another day if you want to know but I don't feel like talking about her here. Except to say that my life changed completely from 2000 to 2005 with this lady who was once a friend and confidante. Then she turned against me and brought the darkness.
She knew too much about me and would hound me with letters and other things especially employing vicious gossip and would proceed to destroy relationships around me that included a precious romantic one.
I couldn't write a word during this time. She almost destroyed me completely. I lost my joy and was very distressed. She engulfed me with very bad energy vibes because I remember that it was very hard to achieve anything successful during this time and that life before she started stalking me seemed brighter and lighter.
The only thing that worked for me and gave me relief was my travels. But Australia was my base so she was always there when I went back. Then she followed me to England.
It's only this year that I've escaped her and could pick up my writing seriously again. But my personality changed in retrospect.
I stopped being gullible and naive. I became sharply cautious and alert to my surroundings and to people around me.
Today I find it hard to trust anyone. I do but it takes time.
If seriously betrayed or especially if I have been slandered and a friend willingly or carelessly linked himself/herself to the connection that stung me, and it has come to my attention, I will never return to that person.
I will cut off links straightaway without a word because of memories of what happened with the stalking.
So now everyone knows a good way to get rid of me.
I never return to snake-pits or where there was once distrust and suspicion for me. I choose not to defend myself but instead to guard my destiny and sense of wellbeing far more closely and tightly. You won't even know I've slipped away until one day when you come back and I'm no longer there. That's what I've become.


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