All you need is jugaad, says John Lennon's Indian letter | music | Hindustan Times
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All you need is jugaad, says John Lennon's Indian letter

All you need is love, sang The Beatles in 1967. But here’s what John Lennon wrote to an Indian man just a year later: “All you need is initiative.” Dipankar De Sarkar reports.

music Updated: Oct 20, 2012 00:55 IST
Dipankar De Sarkar

All you need is love, sang The Beatles in 1967. But here’s what John Lennon wrote to an Indian man just a year later: “All you need is initiative.”

Lennon, who was assassinated in 1980, was a compulsive correspondent and doodler — and many of his letters that have remained unseen have just been published in a volume called The John Lennon Letters.

His letter to a Mr Bulla, one of many he wrote to complete strangers while meditating and composing in Rishikesh in the spring and summer of 1968, is a terrific example. Apparently, Mr Bulla — a “poor clerk” — had written asking if Lennon, sitting on a huge treasure, could spare a bit of dosh so Mr Bulla could, you know, see the world.

Here is Lennon’s good-humoured and gentle reply:

"To Mr Bulla
April 1968
Thanks for your letter.
If every request like yours was granted, there would be no ‘huge treasure’ as you call it…

Even a ‘poor’ clerk can travel the world — as many people do — including friends of mine, some of whom are at this academy, nearly all equally ‘poor’. All you need is initiative — if you don’t have this, I suggest you try transcendental meditation through which all things are possible.

With love, John Lennon."

Arguably, Mr Bulla did show some initiative in writing to Lennon. And guess what: it paid off.

More than 30 years after being turned down, Bulla’s family sold the letter off in 2001 (apparently for around $10,000). Last month, the letter was re-sold for $17,365 in Los Angeles.

Irrespective of whether Mr Bulla ever got to see the world, the world did get a glimpse of an early example of Indian jugaad — or initiative.