by Vandana to her friend Anutosh (1944 – 2016).
Nine month ago I visited England and spent time with my dear friend Pankaja in London and in France where one of her films was showing at the St Tropez Festival.
Panky said she would try to unearth Anutosh, who had lived in London for many years, but that he might not respond as in recent years he had become reclusive, by his own admission spending days on end alone in his flat, hiding under the covers, not answering phone calls or e-mails.
Tosh did respond and came to dinner at Pankaja’s the next day.
We had first met as members of the Pune 1 Theatre Group which toured India in the late 1970’s with marvellous productions including A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Twelfth Night – Anutosh was both director and lead actor.
And we had last seen each other in Santa Fe in 1983 – 32 years ago! A group of sannyasins had driven across to New Mexico from LA where we’d lived in a ‘notorious’ sannyasin house in the Hollywood Hills (once home to the Monkees) where many came and stayed on route to and from the Oregon Ranch. There was lots of partying, and large quantities of mind altering substances including alcohol consumed poolside in that Laurel Canyon mansion.
Santa Fe had sounded like a good change of scene – and I ended up living in that beautiful mountain town for the next 9 years.
Panky had described Anutosh as looking just the same, scarcely aging – accurate indeed for he not only looked the same, handsome and debonair, but had the same self-deprecating witticism and lively humour. During that evening, Tosh said he was tired of London and had thought of coming to Australia (where I have lived for the past 25 years). Many old friends in Byron Bay on the East coast had invited him and I said he’d be welcome to my spare room in Perth at any time, though he might find Western Australia rather dull and conservative.
Since last seeing each other, we both had stopped drinking, a pivotal decision, and had spent time in AA. In the mid-eighties I had withdrawn from contact with a partying group of sannyasins in Santa Fe which included Anutosh, realising I had to create a different lifestyle from the excessive and drinking and indulgence of my years following ‘Pune 1’.
Over the years I‘d heard news of Tosh, including his recovery from prostate cancer and journey in sobriety.
When another dear friend, Gayaka, blew all fuses and left his body in Beijing in 2007, Tosh and I exchanged a few e-mails but had had not contact since then.
At Panky’s dinner last May, despite his lively demeanour and good will, I had a sense that Anutosh was generally unconvinced about life. Concerned about his depression, I e-mailed him later in the year repeating my invitation to visit Oz and commenting on the fragility and significance of our life as non-drinkers.
I don’t know if Tosh got the e-mail and there was no reply.
When Pankaja e-mailed two days ago that Tosh had been found in his flat, sitting dead in his chair, elegant as ever, I was not surprised – but immediately burst into tears, which doesn’t always happen when hearing of friends passing.
I remember hearing sometime, it may have been from Osho, that when a person is preparing to leave their body there is a process which takes 9 months, the same as the time spent in the womb preparing to enter this world.
That dinner at Pankaja’s in London, with our beloved friend Swami Deva Anutosh, was just nine months ago….
Sadly Pankaja’s planned film of Anutosh and Madhura, re-enacting Oberon and Titania 30 years on without their dentures, will now never happen.
Farewell beloved friend,
Vandana is a regular contributor to Osho News
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