“Return to Eden” is an Australian television drama series starring Rebecca Gilling, James Reyne, Wendy Hughes and James Smillie. It began as a three-part mini-series, aired on the television, in 1983. The mini-series received such an enormous success and worldwide acclaim that a regular, weekly television series was produced, in 1986, with a budget of Australian $8 million. The 1986 production relates the events of the series that took place seven years after the end of the mini-series in 1983.
The 1983 Australian television mini-series deals with the life of Stephanie Harper (Rebecca Gilling) who is a dull, naïve and frumpy, forty-year old heiress. She is a wealthy mining magnate’s daughter and the mother of two children from one of her former marriages – Sarah and Dennis are their names. Her beloved family home, “Eden”, is a palatial mansion and estate in the Northern Territory; it is located in the midst of a huge ranch housing several stables for horses and any number of faithful servants. The ranch covers acres-upon acres of lush and beautiful forestland. Eden becomes the object of enormous envy and greed of certain unscrupulous people, as the ghastly story unfolds before our shocked eyes. Stephanie is an avid and skillful horse-rider. Though fabulously wealthy, Stephanie is highly insecure; her lack of physical beauty adds further to this sad picture of insecurity and lack of self-confidence. The fact that she has had two failed marriages behind her doesn’t help the situation much either.
She soon attracts the villainous attentions of a much younger, handsome but ruthless man – a famous tennis professional, Greg Marsden (James Reyne). Considering the fact that Marsden himself undoubtedly would be wealthy in his own right, he wastes no time in proving himself as being devious, manipulative and intensely cruel. Stephanie imagines herself as being in the throes of true love – little does she know that soon after her marriage, her husband, Greg has promptly begun to have a torrid, love affair with Stephanie’s best friend Jilly Stewart (Wendy Hughes). Greg starts plotting ways and means so that he can lay quick claim to Stephanie’s massive fortune by getting rid of her. Whilst on their honeymoon, Greg pushes Stephanie, off a boat, into a crocodile-infested swamp. He and Jilly watch as she is seemingly, horrifically mauled to death. These cold-hearted murderers just continued to watch on and remained totally unfazed and untouched by Stephanie’s heart-wrenching screams for help and cries for mercy.
Stephanie, in the meanwhile, miraculously survives this terrible onslaught on her life; though she is terrifically scarred, disfigured and is in terrible pain. She was found washed up on a river bank by a hermit who preferred to live an isolated existence at the edge of the swamp – this hermit was Dave Welles (Bill Kerr). Dave nurses Stephanie back to health, stitches her wounds and even goes so far as to give her some of his precious gems that he had mined locally, so that she can use them to try to move on with her life. Stephanie uses the sizable amount of cash that she gets from the sale of these gems, to go to an island clinic. Dr. Dan Marshall (James Smillie), a brilliant plastic surgeon, operates several times on Stephanie’s torn face and ravaged body – she undergoes great pain, suffering and misery but when she finally leaves the clinic, she is a totally transformed into a stunning and glamorous woman.
To the people who know her now, Stephanie becomes Tara Welles – an alias that was given to her by Dave Welles. She becomes a ravishing, beautiful, much-sought-after supermodel who walks the ramps of the most renowned fashion houses in the world. She attains immense fame and one day returns home to Sidney, in the guise of a different name and with a different face to seek vengeance on her faithless, so-called best friend, Jilly and her adulterous husband; he has told everyone that she was mauled to death by a crocodile. Since Stephanie’s corpse had never been found, Greg was waiting the 7-year legal waiting period until he can gain her wealth and marry her best friend. Stephanie again attracts the wayward attentions of Greg and he finds himself falling in love with this faintly familiar, yet glamorous woman. In this way, Stephanie manages to return to her family home, Eden and she begins to use frightening ruses to scare Greg and Jilly witless for the needless havoc and suffering that they have visited upon her life. One fine day, she reveals her true identity to them and from then on, Stephanie has to run to save her life. Greg is again plotting to kill her and this time he is more desperate, more fearful and fiendish. Jilly had become a chronic alcoholic, since the time of Stephanie’s so-called, “accident.” She finds Greg trying to strangle Stephanie to death while both were locked in a violent struggle after having fallen into the swimming pool. Jilly shoots Greg in the shoulder, with a rifle for his unfaithful, nasty and cruel ways – he has been unfaithful to Jilly too. She manages to fatally wound him. Bleeding profusely, he rushes to escape in the private airplane of the estate of Eden. Stephanie watches in horror and despair as her tormentor escapes, in front of her very eyes. However, Greg falls into a stupor in the plane from profuse loss of blood. Stephanie watches the plane crash in a raging ball of fire. Greg is found dead and Jilly is taken into judicial custody by the police.
In the 1986 television series that follows, the beautiful, dynamic Stephanie Harper battles her enemies to gain sole control of the family company, Harper Mining Limited.
“Return To Eden” was remade in India as the 1988 film, “Khoon Bhari Maang“. It was directed and produced by Rakesh Roshan. The film was a critical box office success.
Since centuries gone by, the annals of History are clouded and crowded with so many stories of deceit, treachery, faithlessness, infidelity, adultery that they beat imagination and belief. These are tales of the larger picture of the betrayal of one’s trust and the breach of confidence especially from people who have deliberately chosen to do so. Such acts that come from blatantly unfaithful and disloyal people are what lead to many needless acts of deceit and an untold amount of lies. These are people who feel no qualms in breaking a promise and stabbing you in the back; they have no scruples against taking advantage of another’s kindness, as long as such traitorous acts further their hidden agenda and ulterior motives.
History’s Most Infamous Betrayers (as portrayed by ABC NEWS on Sept 24 2012) are as follows:
QUOTE: “From biblical days, to the race to colonize the New World, to the situation in the Middle East today, human history has been dotted with self-serving traitors and collaborators who have betrayed their peoples and their nations. But in the end, not everyone had a chance to enjoy the fruits of their betrayal for long.
JUDAS ISCARIOT: One of the 12 apostles, Judas betrayed Jesus after the Last Supper in the garden of Gethsemane, where he identified the “heretic” proclaiming himself to be the son of God to an armed band by kissing him. It was the kiss of death for Jesus of Nazareth, but for the Christian faith, the crucifixion and the subsequent resurrection became the central tenets of a faith that has spread across the globe. But Judas was to suffer a punishing fate for his misdeeds. The Judaean villager was allegedly paid 30 pieces of silver for his collaboration, but in some biblical accounts, Judas threw away the blood-money after the crucifixion in repentance and horror. By all accounts, he later committed suicide and the money allegedly went to buy a potter’s field. For his collaboration, Judas has turned into one of the most derided figures in Western history and his name today is synonymous with betrayal.
MARCUS BRUTUS: One of the most well-known cries of dismay over a betrayal is Julius Caesar’s “Et tu, Brutus,” (And you too, Brutus!) uttered when Brutus, a Roman senator, joined a plot to oust Caesar from power. But Brutus’ betrayal was fueled by complicated concerns for the Roman republic. A beloved friend of Caesar, Brutus opposed the ascension of any single man to the position of dictator, and he feared his dear friend aspired to such power. Brutus’ inflexible sense of honor made it easy for Caesar’s enemies to manipulate him into believing that Caesar had to be killed for the republic to survive. In the end, the story of Marcus Brutus is the story of the complexities of human choices. The “noblest of Romans” ultimately betrayed his friend because he loved the republic more.
DOÑA MARINA: Arguably the most reviled women in the Hispanic world, Doña Marina is known as the traitor — and in some circles, the harlot — who betrayed her people to the viciously cruel Spanish conquistadors. A former slave, Marina was the translator-cum-mistress of Hernando Cortes, the conqueror of “New Spain” or what is now Mexico. Born into an Aztec family, she knew Nahuatl, the Aztec language, when she was sold as a slave in the Yucatan peninsular where she learned the Mayan dialects. She was therefore able to translate the Nahuatl of the Aztec emperor into the Mayan language, which was understood by Cortes’ Spanish translator. According to legends, the vital linguistic link proved crucial in helping Cortes conquer the New World. Marina went on to bear Cortes a son and for her contribution to history, she is known as La Malinche, a term denoting betrayal. To this day, the word malinchista is used to describe a Mexican who apes the language and customs of another country.
BENEDICT ARNOLD: At the start of the American War of Independence, Benedict Arnold was an American hero, a brilliant general who fought bravely in several tough battles. By the end of the war, he was commanding British troops against his former forces, a general on the losing side who has gone down in history as a “turncoat” and a traitor. Embittered by what he saw as a lack of recognition of his military genius, Arnold offered West Point to the British in return for 20,000 pounds and proceeded to systematically weaken the defenses of the strategic fort overlooking the Hudson River in New York state. But his plot quickly unraveled and Arnold’s contact with the British army, Maj. John Andre, was captured by American forces and hanged. Arnold escaped to a British frigate and although the British never really trusted him, he was given command of British troops. After the war, he and his wife went to England, where he died, the most famous traitor in American history.
MARSHAL PÉTAIN: It was Marshal Pétain’s Oct. 30, 1940, speech to the French people after meeting Adolf Hitler — in which he declared: “I am today setting out along the road of collaboration” — that forever changed the connotation of the word “collaborator.” Although Pétain used it in a positive sense, his actions and his role in history turned the term into a synonym for “betrayer.” A French military hero during World War I, Pétain was convicted as a traitor for heading the pro-Nazi Vichy regime after France’s defeat in World War II. Following the German invasion of France, Pétain took over as premier from Paul Reynaud and proceeded to sign an armistice with Germany. With German support, he established a Fascist-oriented government in Vichy, central France, that accounted for some of the darkest chapters in French history. The Vichy collaboration with the Nazis extended to virtually every aspect of life — from the political to the cultural and most notoriously, in the passing of anti-Semitic laws under which French, Spanish and Eastern European Jews were rounded up and deported to German concentration camps. With the Allied victory, Pétain fled to Germany, but later returned to France to stand trial for treason. He was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment to Ile d’Yeu, an island off the coast of Brittany, where he died.
TOKYO ROSE: Born Ikuko Toguri, “Tokyo Rose” was the infamous disc jockey whose radio program, Zero Hour, led to the conviction of the Japanese-American woman of treason against the United States. Born in Los Angeles in 1916, Toguri was in Japan when World War II broke out. From Japan, she launched her career at Radio Tokyo as a part of the Japanese psychological warfare machinery. Under the alias of “Orphan Ann,” Toguri took to the airwaves, beaming propaganda designed to lower the morale of U.S. troops. On air, she never used the title “Tokyo Rose,” which was a term used by U.S. troops in the South Pacific to describe a number of English-speaking Japanese women employed in Radio Tokyo’s propaganda effort. After the war, she was tried for treason in the United States, and her defense that she was forced to work at Radio Tokyo was rejected. In 1949, a San Francisco court sentenced her to 10 years of imprisonment for the crime of treason. She served more than six years of the sentence before being released. Toguri was eventually granted a presidential pardon by President Gerald Ford in 1977.” UNQUOTE.
No one has promised you that CONSCIOUSLY CHOOSING to walk down “the straight and narrow path of righteousness” would ever be easy and trouble-free. Be well aware that it is a path fraught with many obstacles, difficulties, potholes, traps and twice as many betrayals. On the journey, you will need immense strength of character, honor integrity, dignity, honesty, discipline, courage and the ability to show compassion towards ALL people, including your worst enemies. Strength of character comes when you can be genuine and kind to people even after they have betrayed your trust and confidence and even after such faithless people have managed to hurt you a great deal. You might ask how compassion and kindness can possibly help in such a scenario of deceit and faithlessness. Well, it is to show to the world that basic goodness is present in all human beings; if you search long and hard enough for the good qualities of people you will inevitably find them. I am not talking about all the violent criminals, serial rapists, serial bombers, serial arsonists, sadists and serial murderers of this world – the majority of them have gone well beyond redemption. Their inevitable extinction is what will suit our purpose. I still highly recommend that ALL of you should make a serious and valiant effort to live your lives, as per the ways of a humanitarian, kind and forgiving Supreme Being, despite many odds.
In contemporary times, the Earth has become so saturated, (till its seams are about to split), with tens of millions of sinners and so many grossly evil people that it is not surprising at all that our lives are torn asunder with horrific and heinous crimes, untold violence and natural calamities. This happens when the majority of the world’s population has forgotten to lead their lives according to God’s Ways – they feel that their ‘prayers’ and ‘so-called religious ways’ will absolve them of their sins and guilt; they feel it will protect them and their families from harm.
Let me make this amply clear – IT IS NOT GOD WHO HAS ABANDONED YOU; IT IS THE ENTIRE WORLD WHO HAS FORSAKEN GOD. NOW GOD IS VISITING HIS WRATH ON ALL THE SINNERS OF THIS EARTH – IT IS HIS ONLY WAY OF GETTING THE UNDIVIDED ATTENTION OF SELFISH, CALLOUS, INDIFFERENT, DEVIOUS, MANIPULATIVE AND CRUEL PEOPLE.
START CHANGING FOR THE BETTER TODAY – THIS VERY MOMENT; HERE AND NOW. TOO MUCH TIME HAS ALREADY BEEN NEEDLESSLY WASTED! IT IS ABSOLUTE HYPOCRISY AND ARROGANCE ON YOUR PART IF YOU EXPECT THE WORLD TO CHANGE FOR YOU; DO THE DECENT AND HONORABLE THING BY CHANGING YOURSELF FOR THE BETTER BEFORE YOU START EXPECTING OTHERS TO CHANGE FOR YOU. THE REST WILL FOLLOW SUIT ONCE THIS BECOMES A NATURAL AND NORMAL WAY OF LIFE, FOR ONE AND ALL.
TAKE MY SINCERE ADVICE: DO NOT WASTE THE PRECIOUS AND SHORT TIME THAT YOU HAVE ON THIS EARTH ON USELESS ACTS OF REVENGE. BELIEVE ME, THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO JOY TO BE HAD FROM IT – ONLY INTENSE REGRET. THE BEST POSSIBLE FORM OF REVENGE IS FORGIVENESS: FORGIVENESS CUTS THE SOUL SHARPER THAN ANY KNIFE OR SWORD KNOWN TO MAN. START DISTANCING YOURSELF FROM PEOPLE WHO HAVE OSTENSIBLY WRONGED YOU: THEY’LL REALIZE SOON ENOUGH THAT YOU WANT TO HAVE NOTHING MORE TO DO WITH THEM AND THEIR TRAITOROUS WAYS. FORGIVENESS IS OF IMMENSE IMPORTANCE: IF YOU FIND IT IMPOSSIBLE TO FORGIVE YOUR TORMENTORS, FORGIVE THEM NONETHELESS, NOT FOR THEMSELVES BUT FOR YOUR OWN PEACE OF MIND. FORGIVENESS IS WHAT HELPS YOU TO MOVE ON TO A BETTER FUTURE AND A BETTER LIFE – A FUTURE THAT IS NOT CLOUDED WITH ANGER, VENGEANCE, BITTERNESS AND HATRED. LET THOSE PEOPLE WHO HAVE WRONGED YOU GO THEIR OWN WAY AND YOU GO YOURS. THEIR PART IN THE STORY OF YOUR LIFE IS OVER – MAKE SUCH PEOPLE AWARE OF IT.
WHY SHOULD YOU, IN ANY CASE, SOIL YOUR HANDS WITH DIRTY ACTS OF REVENGE WHEN “THE CIRCLE OF LIFE” AND “KARMA” WILL DO THE JOB SOONER AND JUST AS EFFECTIVELY? SOMETIMES, IF YOU HAVE BEEN WRONGED A GREAT DEAL, GOD MAY EVEN PERMIT YOU TO HAVE A SEAT OF PROMINENCE IN THE DRESS CIRCLE OF ‘THE AUDITORIUM OF LIFE’ AND YOU’LL BE ABLE TO WATCH THE KARMA OF THESE WRONG-DOERS COME THROUGH.
TAKE SHIVA’S WORD FOR IT – REVENGE HAS HELPED NO ONE IN THE PAST AND WILL CONTINUE TO SERVE NO FRUITFUL PURPOSE IN THE FUTURE. IT BRINGS NO JOY: JUST IMMENSE SADNESS. MAKE YOUR STAND: PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW THAT THEY CANNOT RUN ROUGH-SHOD OVER YOU. THEY NEED TO BE TOLD THAT THEY HAVE CROSSED A CERTAIN BOUNDARY THAT OUGHT NOT TO HAVE BEEN CROSSED IN THE FIRST PLACE. THESE WRONG-DOERS NEED TO KNOW THAT THEY HAVE FAILED TO TOE THE LINE – A BOUNDARY THAT OUGHT TO HAVE BEEN RESPECTED. THEN LEAVE IT AT THAT. LET “THE CIRCLE OF LIFE” TAKE ITS COURSE FROM THEN ONWARD. WHO ARE WE TO JUDGE OTHERS ANYWAY? IT IS NOT FOR US TO JUDGE OTHERS.
REMEMBER THAT A TIME WILL COME, JUST BEFORE DEATH STANDS AT YOUR DOOR-STEP, WHEN YOUR ENTIRE LIFE HISTORY WILL FLASH BEFORE YOUR MIND’S EYE IN A SPLIT SECOND – MAKE THAT MEMORY A FRUITFUL AND MEMORABLE ONE!
THIS VITAL MESSAGE COMES FROM NO ONE LESS THAN SHIVA.
YOU WILL DO AS SHIVA SAYS AND YOU WILL START BECOMING BETTER PEOPLE, HERE AND NOW.
IN THIS, MATTER, SHIVA’S WORD IS FINAL AND NON-NEGOTIABLE.