Love saga of a pirate & a princess

This is the love story of a princess and a pirate. The princess; lovely and conventional, from European royalty, who hobnobbed with the crème de la crème of Swiss society, doing her princessly duties and staying within the confines of the dos and don’ts that go with it.

The pirate; a product of the brutal and harsh environment, that led him to be a man on the run and the most wanted criminal in Australia. It all started for him because of a wounded heart.
The princess on one of her trips to India fell in love with the country, and later got involved in a project that led to her opening a big centre in Chennai for underprivileged children, called Heart for India Foundation. This drove her to keep coming to India repeatedly and pouring into her foundation, the funds that she raised in Europe.
The pirate went into deep depression after losing the custody of his only child, and he sank into the dark side of life. He made his base in the “gulleys” of Colaba and sold everything illegal from drugs to stolen watches, and acquired a notorious reputation, while at the same time, a humanitarian one, after he set up a clinic in our slums of Mumbai. He finally gave himself up to the government of his country and served a harsh sentence, which also included two years in solitary confinement, where he did not see sunlight for the entire duration.
“There was only the guard that I saw, but I could hear the voices of the other inmates.” The pirate started meditation classes for the other inmates just by listening to their voices. The jailor in charge, pleased with the result of the group meditation, granted him a pen and paper and this is when he started writing Shantaram, which became an all time best seller. His love affair with India continued after his release.
Gregory Robberts met Princess Francoise Sturdza on one of their independent trips to India. They fell in love. “What was cupid thinking?” I asked them sitting over coffee in Geneva. “Gregory has an exceptional heart of gold. I connected with the real man inside of him. I could feel his suffering and understand him without blinkers on. I love him the way he is. Admiration, love and respect, the three main components I feel for him, can’t fail you.” She said.
“I was always attracted towards downtrodden and needy women. More than an attraction it was the desire to be with someone who needs me. In fact, the day I met Francoise I had met a woman I would typically have gone for. However, life had taught me that I deserve better. I didn’t hold anything against Francoise because she was a princess!” he laughed with a mischevious glint in his eye.
“Francoise is an exceptional woman, in control, yet a little girl inside,” he said gazing at her. I agreed with him. I also noted that about Francoise, and always told her that despise her extraordinary work, that required tremendous fortitude, the way she breaks into giggles with shining eyes has the fresh energy of a little girl.
As far as the snooty society is concerned, “How did they accept this bond?” I asked them. “People have prejudices that are not correct. It makes your life false.” I agreed with her.
I was sitting next to Gregory at a sit down dinner in Mumbai, when Tommy Hilfiger was visiting in May 2007. Gregory told me he had proposed to the Princess and she had accepted. They were both thrilled and later that year, got married.
Women swoon over the character of Shantaram and die to meet him. “Does that bother you?” I asked Francoise. “No,” She said definitively. “I am proud of him.” “And you?” I directed the question to Greg. “Do you feel a flinch of jealousy when you see young men admiring the Princess?” His answer has become a precedent in my mind. “When you are right within yourself there is no negativity. When you are with the right person there is no question of jealousy. Jealousy is a fear of love,” he said wisely.
“There are two kinds of people that love, the ones that say they feel love and the others that act upon it, and do for love. They dance together, work together, work for each other and live the love,” he adds.

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