Struggling newcomer opens a condom business in rural Newfoundland | The Condom King of Newfoundland
Hello, my, name is Madhu put up. I'm. Just good luck to you women. Is about my. Native language, any. One two three here. We go life. They said by Soria they're. Gonna say I heard. Me, let. Me see come here. But. First, world by. Soria means. Five. Craziest things my dad's done. You. Want good things or bad. Top. Five okay. No. One, coming. To Canada I'd say is probably one of the craziest things done. You. Met my, mother he. Asked her out at. A gas station he. Wrote. A letter to. Prince. Harry to, try and sell him a portrait, of him and his mom that he painted and. Was. Offended, by the letter that he received. And. Cursed, on the Queen I'd have to say that the. Number, one crazy, thing that Madhu did was. The condom, Factory. October. 6 2003. Honorable, Your, Highness Prince. Harry once, upon a time dad found a, picture. Of Prince. Diana and Prince Harry I take. This opportunity to, introduce myself as an artist in a photographer, who would like to submit a photograph, of one of my paintings and he. Really the, picture really struck out to him he really you, know had. Some you know emotional, connection with it so, I decided he was going to paint it the subject of the painting is your highness, with Princess Diana for. A long time I've been interested in reproducing, this painting to help the charity which supports the, mine victims and other charities that, Princess Diana supported. So when he painted it after a while he decided he was going to try. And send. It to Prince. Harry I would, appreciate your highness guiding, me with this endeavor thank, you sincerely Madhu. And Purab. He. Got a rejection letter from the from. The you, know des Princes it's. Secretary. Service and he, was he was pretty upset about that, you know it just simply said there. Mr.. Mac, mu ker, po, robbed or something of that sort and then it just said unfortunately Prince, Harry is not interested this time and purchasing, your painting and dad was like do you know what that means is that no. Idea he's, like well, he says mu ker / up it basically means uh fart. And, I was like what he's, like he's calling me mr. part and, I was like oh he was. Prince Harry. The Queen and, then they did the big which. Was his way of saying which was a bizarre way, yeah. It was he that did the. Name spelling was, you know that set, that off because he. Clearly wrote his name and they. Still spelled it wrong and you know so yeah he wasn't happy about that it. Was funny their loss. You. Saw was an edgy with the royal family anyways of course being East Indian but that. That was kind of the nail in the coffin so we still watched cricket and he, still ate crumpets. And he, still loved his you, know his nice, pants, he's, kind of very English, ways, despite. The fact that he told the Queen to go herself. He. Was an artist and a photographer and, a, commercial artist as well he did I don't know how many weddings, every, few weekends he'd, be gone somewhere. In ruined Oakland taking pictures of somebody's wedding and there'd be people coming to her house to look at the negatives just pick out which ones they wanted pizza. Places mr. Jin's pizza and you know Venice I think sales, and. Dad do dollar signs for him and their menus and everything like that photography. Was how, I perceive, it anyways was his, bread and butter of, how. He had, to make a go of it to keep food. On the table so to speak. His. Art, is. Sort. Of like. Traditional. In some ways so, there is a bit of romance in the. Way that Madhu painted, and what he painted like the bower you know for instance you know kind, of like a treasured, piece. In. The family, was. This ballerina the, ballerina is probably my favorite he took about a year on that one he did that when he retired and he, really, poured a lot of time, and effort into it and I would see him have, a piece of it done not, like it kind, of erased it a bit you know started, over paint over it until, he got it just right. I. Don't. Think these art got to recognition deserved. And, I do struggle with that because, I.
Feel. Like. It's. Something that now, maybe. People would, enjoy. More. What. He was. Producing as an artist was. Was. Not uncommon, to see in many commercial. Galleries, in Saint John's and elsewhere at the same time and for. Whatever, reason, it. Was, never shown in that. Context. I mean, I know from my own experience growing, up I experienced. A lot of racism so, I assume dad experienced, a lot of racism as as even, more so. So. Yeah, so I'm sure race had a part to play dad. Could be someone who was a bit aggressive, in. His ways as well so even in during the negotiations, maybe he was overly aggressive certainly. There may have been some racism at play certainly. There could have been some classes, and at play and. Almost. Certainly as certain as anything else Madhu. Madhu's, personality, was in play. Because, he was. The type of guy that if he, didn't, get. What. He wanted right away it was, you I know. He was interviewed for Memorial. University at one point as a photographer. Dad, is sitting there in the interview and the. Man bringing. Sandals with socks and he's feed, her up on the desk dad. Got really, angry. Because. Of the fact he knew the interview was going nowhere and this. Man's feet were up in front. Of his face and he. Threatened, him and he says take, your feet down before I cut. The throat right, and it's. Typical. Of dad like t goes from zero, to a hundred like, that obviously, didn't get the job. But. It was just, an example of like his. Difficulty. In working for other people. The way that I have. Always thought about, his. Art as it pertains to like Newfoundland, and the landscape, in Newfoundland. Was. As somebody, trying to figure out or figure it out what he brought and what he discovered. I guess only he knows but. As an observer of his art I feel, like I always saw a. Struggle. To. Understand, this place and. Trying. To figure out how he fit, in. It. IMAX. International. Inc was the, brainchild. I. Guess the born out of my dad's desire. To have a better life for all of us well I remember that it seemed to come out of nowhere and. That. It. Was like those kooky idea that they do had to. Start, a business he. Decided. He was going to open an import/export. Company and, he got the grants from a, cola. And from Atlanta, enterprise and. He. Built a factory, or assembly, plant in. What's. Maddox cove in. The ghouls the. First product. They want him to bring in which not one that dad wanted to do was tons. So. That. Was fun he. Was going to import, condoms, from, India from some connection, in India and, you. Know I used them I was happy to use them Raja means, King in. Hindi. So dad took the idea of he. Raja, and Rani, for. Queen so. That he could market to men and women dads, did all design himself, designed. A box designed. A pamphlet, inside with instructions, did all the illustrations, which. Was kind of disturbing for a 16 year old boy come home and seen your dad John the. Proper technique to put on a condom, one day I remember I came into the drafting, a to his room we was doing on the drafting table there, is this painted. Piece. Of cardboard with a catch, phrase on it and, it. Said Raja, condoms. Okay, this is kind of weird and then it's it what. Did you like to be king of the night and I, was like holy crap, it's, so, corny and this. Is what this, is mercury this is going to get people interested they're gonna be wanting, to have these because they, want to have a good experience and you, know that's I'm providing the service and I'm, going to keep people safe and I was like okay there was a lot of still a lot of stigmatism, around. Stigma. Around condoms. And when. It was decided, that that was the product it was bringing in and the, location, was decided, there. Was a lot of uproar. From the local community in that area so, Madhu. Came. Up against some real opposition. To this, which. Is. Bizarre. They. Thought he was going to bring in AIDS they. Called, him a lot of names. Told. Him to go back to where he's from all that kind of stuff and. They told him they work on all these trucks go by there, was a some. Rumblings. And protests, from mainly. From the church. Groups. At that time who. Didn't want that in the community, so, when. I was 17. Years old he, told me to go in and meet the truck and bring. My baseball bat just in case so. That's what I did I went. Into the, warehouse, i sat, on the hood of the car with a baseball bat across my laps and I. Waited for a, delivery. Truck to show up and, while. I was waiting there was a truck, that came by, stopped. For, a second, looked, at me and in. Drove on I. Can, only assume that was probably one of the people they were planning on protesting. And I guess the, the. Offload of these condoms. We. Landed in gander and then, I, was, driving back home, so, I applied, for my international lab license. So, I draw, from Gander to st. John's with my brother. And. That. Wow the journey, started. Now. My. Eldest. Brother Suresh, who, is architec, he. Came to st. John's from, England and he. Asked me why don't you come to Newfoundland. I said. Ok and then, myself and Madhu.
We. Came, to. Newfoundland, in 1970. In July. Immigration. To Canada was very easy that. Time because. Canada, and you need some people immigrants. And all this thing so, they were looking for skilled workers and that's. The reason Madhu, got the job, because he was the artist he. Got the visa and I, didn't get it because. This. Is there, is no prospect. For you in. Canada. So. We waited and then he said you don't have a job so, my brother. Suresh said he can work with me so then they gave me wizards, and then we bought to, keep a boat together we came to Canada. I. Was. In Toronto, he. Was back in st. John's but my, eldest. Brother Siraj, you should tell me that Madhu is hardly, now found he always goes somewhere, out and I believe it was good not with dirty diapers wanted, to drive with the RCMP, mom. Worked as I think was Texaco, he came into this, gas. Buyer looking for gas and, one. Of her co-workers soon. As she now, saw my, dad feared, my mom to ask, my dad out. And. She. Did dad. Being the artist he was he decided he, was going to sketch my mother. And. So, he did a really good sketch of. At. The time. 72. Some time and then I was born you. Know about. 12. Not, long after I was me I was I think, yeah. He got the marriage and all. The flowers, girls and all kind of things they were wearing, saris he, got the saris from India and all kind of thing and he, did the marriage. Ceremony in Indian style. You. There, was a lot of discomfort on both sides. Of the family because my my, dad's my brother. Suresh. Was uncomfortable, with dad, being. With a you, know white woman this, was a shame, for the family I think at first it. Was a bit of a shock for, both sides. They've. Both told me that. Not. Everyone agreed with it and on. My. My, mom's. Side here's, my dad with a foreign. Man who's, not white what. Kind of life is that he's not even Christian so like from. Her family's, perspective that's Anglicans it was a challenge. Right so there's a lot of. Complexities. Going on in the background a lot of arguments a lot of fighting, you. Know he's 1972. There's. An Indian man marrying a white lady in, st.. John's. In the, early years there, was we had money. Not. A lot of money we never had a lot of money but there was more money than than being. Broke, sometimes. We had a little bit of a feast and then, to be a lot of famine and quite. Often behind in the rent sometimes. I remember when, around Ruth avenues one time he told me were six months behind actually. Madhu never had a real job, his. Profession, was artists. And then. He develop as a photograph, were all, kind of thing not, many organizations, were. There who, could hire him and, all this thing so what he could do is only start, his own profession, all these, things you know individual. Thing but he, couldn't get a job as such. Growing. Up like that always had, something. That he was working on and, what. Was quite routine, was that he would paint a painting and then because. We didn't have a lot of money as we got closer to Christmas he would he, would sell a painting in order, to pay for Christmas, gifts my, mom worked odd jobs before. She went into data entry, and learned some. Computer programming. Stuff. We. We. You. When, all of that went down with this opposition to. The. Business with the condoms. You. Know madhu being, the fiery kind. Of like, you guy that he, was it. It. Was perfect he. Hated. It, but. There was also a part of him that was into it on the other side of that it was the best year financially, my dad. Is. The most he'd ever earned. Which. Was still not.
Fair Above, the poverty line, and there. Was a happier. Vibe. In the household. So. That was that one year and then. Quickly, things, started to unravel people. Weren't interested in having the condoms, in their convenience. Stores or their pharmacies, after, a while and. Then. There, was the, government didn't, give dad as much. Money he needed to in order to to, put more into the marketing into the to, the advertising. Of the product so. Ultimately. It failed and, then, dad. Slipped, into a really dark, place because, obviously he had the stream of finally. Getting his family out of poverty. And once. Again, failed. Proud. And sad. Proud. Of dad stuck to his guns he, went through he did lawyers he did courts, he. Proved. His point he proved his case, because. He was determined to get this business going and, but. Said that people, will be so short-sighted to. Write. Him off as just you know. Another. Immigrant. Stealing jobs from Newfoundlanders. And, trying. To bring in you know things that not necessary. That kind of thing that was just foolishness. It's. Not a not, something that it's, not mining tonight okay, I don't let up it's, not something I understand, yeah. Well. It's a sad but knowing, Madhu I couldn't. Pursue him and that, that's his choice, once. He stick, to his ideas, he's, very determined to doing, that so, there is no way I could, change him. The last conversation that. I had with them was, we. Always call me scooby-doo and so. He, was saying to me you know Scooby. It. Life's a struggle you know life is just a struggle, I think a lot of the times I. See. Failure. Constantly. And then. I see my own failure, inside of those failures so. There's like this constant. Cycle. That. I think that I'm trapped in with my dad as a ghost in my life. And. My. Greatest fear is to become my dad so in. That, to. Be trapped by failure and to see only failure. Was, like fair to my father. Translating. Definition of air I. Mean. He. Had. A good childhood. He. Had struggles, yes but, he met my mother fell in love he, had two handsome boys he. Had some. Great grandkids. And. You. Know he, was loved. Not. Much more you can ask for. And. I. Try and be positive and I say success. But. We had lot of failures in his life and he, always he. Was fall, again his get up and go you know that attitude he had if something, is goes wrong he. Will get up and do something different, Mateusz. Life was an absolute, success an, inspiration. He. Came. Here, and suffered. Through racism, and poverty to raise his family and, what. A beautiful family and. It was always about that word that he always used time and time again legacy. Legacy. What. Was his legacy to his children, what was his legacy to the world his. Legacy is the pictures, and paintings. Hello. My name is Madhu put up, can. You hear me. You. You. You.