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vcnavega
December 16th, 2012, 01:16 PM
“Are you okay, Vilminha?”

“Oh, I am sorry, Sam. Yes, I’m okay. I only overslept. I feel so comfortable when we sleep together.”

“Me too, dear. Do you want to continue telling me about your health problems?”

“Well, not yet. Instead I could tell you more about me on TV, me on the news, actually, if you like.”

“Of course I’d like to hear about you on TV, but I thought you gave up TV when you were 11.”

“Oh, that was just a kid thing. When I became an astrologer, actually a Hindu culture specialist, people would search me out to do interviews on the Vedic sciences. It started in 1988, when I was 24. The first interview I gave was to a magazine, they wanted me to make a forecast, it was close to the Presidential election. Actually I hated to do that, it was boring, difficult and compromising.”

“Why was it those things?”

“It was boring because I thought that I had more interesting things to say than making predictions; it was difficult because it involved many calculations, I had to go through many charts and it was a big math problem; and finally it was compromising because if I messed up my forecast it would mean that I was a bad astrologer, and it would ruin my career. But somehow, I did the thing right, and my first interview became a success. After that first one, other journalists came to me, because journalists communicate with each other, and I was recommended. It was not only for magazines, sometimes TV shows would come for me, and radio shows, newspapers, and other media. Thank God it was not only about forecasts, they wanted me to talk about other subjects, about Hindu culture in general, and about specific subjects in Hindu culture, such as beauty care. I got to talk about things I was innovating, things I was bringing from India to Brazil.”

“You became a celebrity.”

“Not really. Well-known, perhaps. I can talk, I am not shy, actually I feel more comfortable talking to many people, on a TV shows or something, than I do talking to a small group. I don’t feel intimidated, it is a natural thing. As I said, since my childhood I’ve been under the spotlight, it is not a big deal. But what bothered me were the stupid questions they asked me. Sometimes they didn’t do their research first, so they didn’t know what they were supposed to ask me. I am a teacher, you know, I know what I have to say. But sometimes I had to explain to the journalist what to ask me, because those people are so clueless, and so unprepared. Sometimes I had it planned with their producers, I didn’t have the chance to talk to the anchor of the show. Usually this person was masking their ignorance behind a pretty face. I hate ignorant people, but I had to tolerate them.”

“Was your mother proud of you when you went to those shows?”

“I am not sure. Perhaps. She always said to me that I looked good on the screen. Well, I suppose I did, I always dressed up.”

“What did you wear?”

“Most of the time I wore Indian clothes. Actually I was always wearing Indian clothes at home and at the institute, I felt comfortable wearing saris and Punjabi suits, and people on those TV shows liked it, they thought I was Indian.”
“Many times they shot the scenes at my institute because we had everything well organized there. I always brought paintings, little sculptures, and cushions home with me after my travels, so my place looked like India. They even shot some film of the deities once and of my students performing Yoga positions, they liked the whole India thing.”

“And you enjoyed doing that?”

“Hmm… I don’t know. In the beginning I thought it was fun, but then I realized it would never be the way I wanted it to be, they would never allow me to say what I wanted to say. I wanted to have my own TV show, and for that I’d need to find sponsors.”

“Were you able to find them?”

“I tried. But again, the problem is that they wanted to interfere with the content of the show, they wanted me to talk about other cultures, like Chinese or Japanese, or just about naturopathy in general, and I didn’t like that. It is not that I don’t like those other cultures, it is just that I don’t know much about them, I haven’t experienced them. I’ve been studying Hindu culture all my life, and even though it is such a complex culture, I am arrogant enough to claim some expertise about it. But I don’t want to talk about things that I haven’t studied.”

“But you could study.”

“I could, but I don’t want to. With all due respect I don’t think they have much to contribute. Most of those other cultures got their knowledge from Hindu culture. The few things I’ve learned from them I could see that they have taken from Hindu culture what they know, and it made me understand that I don’t need to waste my time with them.”

“Oh, Vilminha, you really like Hindu culture.”

“I can’t help it. It must be something from previous lives.”

“But you said you don’t believe in previous lives.”

“I don’t remember saying that. I said I don’t want to make this a matter of belief. I feel familiar with Hindu culture. I just remember this knowledge, it is not that I am learning it, I am remembering it.”

“I don’t understand how this is possible.”

“Me neither. It must be something that happened in my previous life.”

“See? You are saying it again. You do believe in previous lives!”

“No, Sam, I don’t. Well, perhaps, I do. Let it be, never mind.”
“As I was saying, I was on TV and on the news all the time, and by the time my name was changed from Vraja Devi to Sundari Shakti it was quite confusing. The journalists would search for me, and my assistant would tell them that Vraja Devi wasn’t here, but Sundari Shakti was.”

“Oh! What a mess!”

“At some point I had to say that my name was Vraja Sundari, just to let them know that I was the same person, otherwise it would be too confusing, let alone the fact that when I went to the studio I had to present my identification, and on my driver license it said ‘Vilma Cruz Navega’, and they were expecting ‘Vraja Devi’, ‘Sundari Shakti’, or ‘Vraja Sundari’.”

“Oh, I forgot about your many names.”

“Don’t worry about them, Sam. I am just your Vilminha.”

“And I am just your Sam.”

“Yes, you are. You are my Sam.”