Friday, July 29, 2011

Rakhi Sawant, Gershwin, Hendrix and Sex Addiction

Amy Winehouse made it with a couple of months to spare.  One of the most amazing voices to appear on the scene in recent times, with amazing attention to detail, be it in lyrical or dissonant, the tragedy of her short life will forever lie in the fact that she will be remembered more for her struggle with her addictions than for the gravity of her music.  The collectively held breath was finally released as she passed away.  What would we all have done if she had stayed alive another 54 days and become 28?

The life and death of Amy Winehouse adds to the perverse fascination that the public has with the struggles of celebrities with self destructive obsessions.  Will her death lead to more people choosing to refrain from experimenting with addictive substances?  Will it lead to a more compassionate and humane understanding of the suffering that the active addict goes through?  The answers are obvious.

A few other interesting arguments, however, made me feel much better about my life.  On documented proof that he denotified land for personal gain, the ex Karnataka Chief Minister (ex CM, not ex Karnataka) Mr. Yeddyurappa cried foul, pointing out that others had done much more in terms of using their office for personal gain than he had, that he had profited from only a few acres whereas others had cornered 100s of acres.  Poor guy, really not fair.  Another “high” point came with the media focus on Telugu film celebrities in the recent cocaine busts in the city, with some of the stars reportedly upset that they get to face the music because of their being stars while the others get away.  Really not fair.  In the meantime, Tihar jail inmates decided to use a similar argument.  Raja, the telecom scam accused, took over from his defence to go on a why me trip, claiming that everyone was in on “the deal,” from the Prime Minister to the then Finance Minister.  I had my hand in the till, but so did he, and he, and she, and he.  For one thing, his argument was better than the one brewing at the Suresh Kalmadi end of the yard.  The poor chap can’t remember anything, thanks to a medical condition, it was reported.  What organizing committee?  Then a day later, outside a hospital, he tells the media that his mind is fine, it is just the heart that is rotten.  How true, Mr. Kalmadi, whichever way you look at it.

Finally, I must thank Rakhi Sawant for being who she is and teaching me what she does.I honestly thought C strings were what Soundgarden used till she opened my eyes.  Here is one lady who can make things perk up in a way no Cyrus Broacha can.  She apparently has given up her pursuit of wanting to marry Rahul Gandhi, and now has her eyes set on Baba Ramdev’s.  A spot of relief in a month that has seen cabinet ministers, chief ministers, and media barons do and say things that violates all sensibilities.  

It has been a tumultuous 12 months for me on the personal front, one of gains and losses of the wildest and most unimaginable variety, ones that I will look back at as the silver lining to the cloud of attachment and discontent.  I will save the horror stories for another day, but on to some other silver linings.  My friends in Kolkata celebrated the fifth anniversary of their unique experiment of value creation.  Given the strange times that corporates find themselves in, the consistency and determination of this team is an oasis of hope.  Read more about their journey over at the MTAnywhere blog.

A post on another blog reminded me how Rhapsody in Blue changed me as a teenager, and laid the foundation for understanding the so called “freedom” of jazz as against the formal structure of classical music.  I realized this was another item on my list of essential things that I want my son to know about and wrote down what I thought about George Gershwin and his work for him to read about when he grows up.  Do take a look at my tribute to Gershwin over at The Story of Parth blog.

Jimi Hendrix’s legacy continues to be remastered and reissued by the Hendrix Experience Project, and on the cards are reissues of Hendrix in the West and Winterland.  A lot of these albums never made it to Indian shelves when they were released earlier, but with these reissues, Hendrix heads here can experience the delight of picking up these albums from local stores.  Read more about Hendrix In The West at the Operative Notes blog.

My lay enquiry into addiction and recovery continues, even as Hyderabad is forced to look at the prevalence of drug use in the city.  Looking beyond drugs and alcohol, and reflecting on what I learned working with others back in the early 90s, I can clearly see how most of what we document as “victory over addiction” is in reality nothing more than substituting one form of addictive behavior with another.  In therapeutic communities, it is typically food and exercise, followed by god and sex, that addicts turn to in their search for a replacement of their drug of choice.  Outside the confines of the therapeutic community, it is typically sex and money first, usually followed by work and “fixing” others (now that we have recovered and turned into saints and saviours).  Taking a break from my usual ranting against the injustices of the addiction treatment world, this month I took a look at love and sex addiction.

What a month!!

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