Interview: Yogesh Pama

2013 will find more interviews with locals landing on Love Knysna. It’s a way for us and you to get to know some of the people we see regularly in town or, possibly do business with. And, if they have a business, it’s a lovely way to promote them too. Starting the year off is Yogesh Pama whom many know as a lawyer and long-time resident but few know the actual man, his passions and what makes him tick. He is a fascinating man so i’m sure you’ll enjoy this Q&A:

Yogesh PamaWicked Mike: Most people will know you as that lawyer from Mosdell, Pama & Cox. Is that who you want to be known as?
Yogesh Pama: No! Most certainly not! Perhaps as the Man who wasn’t there? Someone who, despite constant and loving reminders and intentions, still didn’t quite manage to live up to his highest potential.

Wicked Mike: We’ll chat more about that just now but first tell us how your conveyancing and divorce arena has been affected by the recession?
Yogesh Pama: It’s hard to say. Divorces not at all. These may even have increased but conveyancing only to some extent, in my particular case, as I have never been dependent on instructions from estate agents. My clientele appear to prefer to deal with me personally.

Wicked Mike: I don’t believe that it’s actually a recession. The credit boom was surreal. Now it’s a return to reality where we’re more likely to find out who we are…who everyone really is? Would you agree?
Yogesh Pama: Yes. Lack of finances will affect our primal instincts – something like losing at Poker.

Wicked Mike: What’s your best advice to those who are feeling frayed right now and considering divorce?
Yogesh Pama: Speak to someone who is able to assist in obtaining a measure of clarity. Not necessarily a professional, but preferably a confidant, someone who is able and prepared to communicate on a profound level. In other words; not someone who is likely to meet out consolation and sympathy, but someone capable of reflecting valuable feedback designed to putting the persons in touch with who they are and their needs, rather than discussing the actions of their partners and attributing blame.

Wicked Mike: People often characterize others according to their jobs but there’s generally more to being human. You are in a case in point. You are the most ‘unlawerly’ lawyer i’ve ever met which begs the question what got you into the profession?
Yogesh Pama: Limited options, terrible self-knowledge and bad career advice which was hard to come by in the early 60s:)

Wicked Mike: Before that you’d led an adventurous life; from hanging out in Alaska to living with gurus in India. Tell us about a memorable place or moment?
Yogesh Pama: Far too many to mention but none would have anything whatsoever to do with law.

Wicked Mike: Yet, despite all your travels, you chose Knysna. When did you settle here?
Yogesh Pama: October 1988.

Wicked Mike: Why?
Yogesh Pama: There was no conscious decision really. I returned to Africa and as I needed to set up a new home after my adventures abroad, I preferred to settle nearby my closest friends who lived in this area.

Wicked Mike: Which are your favourite places in Knysna? Beaches, coffee shops…?
Yogesh Pama: Mario’s for its consistently good fare and acceptable pricing; its relaxed and pretty location and its superb hosts; Coney Glen for its versatile beauty; above all – Mount Joy!

Yogesh Pama - Pieta

Wicked Mike: You’re a painter and a writer. I’ve seen your work which is remarkably unique. Why have you hidden it from the world?
Yogesh Pama: I haven’t really. I have always doubted that anyone else would be interested in a subject that is, after all, intensely personal.

Wicked Mike: As you inch closer to retirement, is there a possibility that your will explore those areas of your life again?
Yogesh Pama: I hope so. Like a child, I enjoy playing, particularly with words and images.

Wicked Mike: Will your memoirs, If I Had A Red Dress, I’d Learn to Fly, go public?
Yogesh Pama: The writing was always intended to cleanse and purge me. It actually did the job as some of the material was expelled like vomit. I guess the ego would like recognition in any available form, but it no longer matters to me.

Wicked Mike: Why that title?
Yogesh Pama: It signifies Man’s reluctance to do anything, without some or other pre-requisite. It appears that we must absolutely have some reason to act rather than daring to do so intuitively.

Wicked Mike: You are one of the biggest movie lovers i’ve ever met! What genres are your favourite?
Yogesh Pama: It’s far easier to exclude genres such as war, gratuitous violence and sex…as well as middle of the road entertainment. I dislike cheap sentiment and superficial romanticism. I prefer films as an art form…especially those that demand multiple viewing. Ingmar Bergman comes to mind as does the subtlety and sensitivity of some of the French and European directors.

Wicked Mike: Name 3 movies you wish everyone had watched…
Yogesh Pama: I don’t care much to educate “others” whilst I LOVE to share my experience with those whom I sense may be open to it.

Wicked Mike: And your favourite television series?
Yogesh Pama: I loved Breaking Bad for its unpredictability, ingenuity, writing, photography and characterizations. But there are many I enjoyed…mostly those that engage me beyond mere entertainment value.

Wicked Mike: Your name makes many people think that you are of Indian descent rather than the Dutch you are. How did you get your name?
Yogesh Pama: It’s an assumed name that someone in India gave me and one that stuck.

Mount Joy Cottages KnysnaWicked Mike: Why did you call your home the Hanging Gardens of Mount Joy?
Yogesh Pama: Someone else did. Today I would probably prefer to call it something that might remind me to live in the moment…such as “Kairos”.

Wicked Mike: It’s astoundingly beautiful! How much of it is your creation and how long has it taken you to build it?
Yogesh Pama: Thank you! That is truly appreciated and more than you know.

I see all of it as a joint non-effort of mine and Kheli, my loving companion who continues to stimulate me beyond myself.  All of it simply developed over the years with no prior plan.  Unintentionally, it became a monument to living in the moment, which I would like my life and work to be regarded as.

Wicked Mike: You’re a man of much philosophy. Leave us with a thought…
Yogesh Pama: No, not Philosophy. I regard that as mere mental masturbation. I prefer something far more elusive: the search for “Truth” – whatever that may be and wherever that may lead…


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