I Am A Good Man – I Did Not Take Dowry!

  • So, yesterday it was raining during my exercise time. I had just downloaded ‘Shape of you’ on my cell-phone and was excited about jogging.

I took two rounds despite the rain, convincing myself that it was just a drizzle. I got wet and had to finally accept the fact that I cannot be out anymore. I headed to the gym. I don’t like going to gym at that time because it is too crowded. But ever since KBC started, I go early so that I can be home by 9 pm to watch the show peacefully.

The gym has stopped playing music on the music system. These days they just switch on the TV and put on one of the music channels. I am wondering if I started that? Because one day when I went to gym late, a cricket match was playing on the TV. I had got bored listening to the same CD again and again. So, I requested the guard to leave the TV on and I kept changing the music channels from MTV, to 9XM, to B4u music to Bindaasplay etc. Ever since then, I have seen the TV on.

Zetc channel was on. I didn’t like the songs they were playing – “Hoke man aaj magan naache hai chanan chanan’ types. I usually don’t mind such songs but in the gym, I prefer something more fast and catchy like ‘Main tera boyfriend’ or ‘Tenu suit suit karda’. Those songs immediately raise my speed. I wondered if it is okay if I change the channel. Then I thought everybody else is too busy in their work-out. Here I am obsessing about the music. I decided against it. I miss my post 9:15 pm slot when the place is empty. It like having a private gym…

It was almost 9pm. My mother had told me that the roll-over contestant from KBC will reach up to the one crore question. I did not want to miss that episode. So, I rushed home, panting and sweating. Just when I was leaving the gym, they started playing , ‘Tenu suit suit karda!’ How very unfair!!

This gentleman who won Rs 50 lakh in yesterday’s episode was 29 years old and had multiple degrees – M.A. Hindi, M.A. English, PGDM etc. Very educated person. Some of the questions that he was asked seemed very easy to me – like the state with the maximum rainfall with options such as Meghalaya, Karnataka, Maharashtra etc.! He seemed to be guessing in a lot of questions. But anyway, none of my business!

At some point, Mr. Bachhan remarked that this gentleman had got married very early. The gentleman replied that he is very happily married and has three kids. He said proudly that when he got married, he did not take any dowry!

I do not want to write more about this gentleman, because I do not want to make this article about attacking him. I just felt sad that our society is so regressive that not taking dowry is a matter of pride, something to boast about on national television. I am generally disappointed with the “good men” in our country.

Few years back, I had met a gentleman in an arranged marriage set-up. He asked me if I drink. I said yes. He said that he does not have a problem with that. He added that he is such a “cool, liberal guy” that he would even take me out for drinks after marriage!

“Some of my friends, they drink with other guys and leave their wives home. But I will allow my wife to drink with me!” he said proudly.

I told him that he has no right to “allow” another human being to do anything! And he is not doing his future wife a favour by “not having a problem with her drinking”.

P.S. – If you think you are a “nice guy” by waiving off dowry or being okay with your wife drinking you are not a nice guy! You are still a chauvinistic, probably trying to evolve but it will still take you another 100 years to understand the meaning of “gender equality”. And no I will not admire you because compared to some bigger idiots, you are “still better”.

 

 

 

Kangana Ranaut on Aap ki Adalat- Refreshingly Original And Honest

I have been a fan of Kangana Ranaut. Not after Fashion. Or Queen. Or Tanu weds Manu 2. I have been a fan of her since I saw her in Gangster, when I was in college. Her acting was unbelievable for a first movie. People would say, ‘What! She is a nobody!’

Her beauty was unconventional. So was her story. A nobody from Himachal Pradesh. Very beautiful. Very talented. But she could not speak English. She was not a star kid. Nothing unusual about that. There are examples of non-star kids who have done well in Bollywood. The unusual part was that she did not care to be in the good books of the star kids and their parents!

Today, after watching her in ‘Aap ki adalat’ with Rajat Sharma, I am more in awe of her than ever. There are parts of interview that I just loved:

1. Nepotism

All famous and non-famous people have shared their views on her remark in Koffee with Karan that Karan Johar is “the flagbearer of nepotism”. People said that so many non-star kids have also done well. Sure! Ultimately talent matters. But do we really believe that people who are not from the filmy background get equal opportunities as the star kids? Star kids get a lavish launch with the best directors. They have friends and contacts from the industry. Even if their movies flop, they can always get re-launched with a home production. They are from the industry. Yes, there may be more expectations from them, more comparisons with their successful parents, and more pressure. But does that compare to the struggle of a 17-year-old girl who leaves her home in Himachal Pradesh with no connections in Bollywood? Someone who makes through an audition only because of talent, while supporting herself in an expensive city like Mumbai? Are star kids really on the same level as the millions of nobodies who go to Mumbai every day to try their luck? At the least they are financially secure, and have their parents to offer them guidance and second chances.

2. Her stand on fairness creams and item numbers

She does not endorse fairness products. She does not act in the raunchy item numbers that objectify women. It is remarkable for a country where even men advertise for fairness creams and do not care about its impact on society.

3. Controversy with Hrithik Roshan

At some point in the show Kangana said that Hrithik promised to marry her, but did not. Because of him, she ended up not marrying somebody else either who was willing. Now she is 30 and still single! Even celebrities think like this? I thought this was a very middle class feeling.

She said a lot on the show about the controversy involving Hrithik Roshan. I do not want to comment on it. Relationships are complicated even for ordinary, middle class people. It would be beyond complicated when famous people are involved, where the man is married / getting divorced, there is a legal notice with emails accusing the girl of being a psycho, and the whole world having an opinion on it.

But, assuming she was saying the truth, the letters she had written to her lover at that point were released in the public domain. She was threatened that her private pictures and videos would be released as well. I don’t know in what context such an invasion of privacy can be justified. She had filed a complaint in the Women’s Commission who also did not bother because the other party was more powerful. If a successful, rich, famous woman also does not get help in such situations, I don’t want to imagine the plight of the common woman.

Kangana said that she loved Hrithik at that point of time. He had initially told her he would never marry her, because he was already married then. But after his divorce, he did consider it.

I do not understand why so many women date married men. It is not good for the man’s marriage. It may never turn into a marriage for the women either. It may happen for celebrities because they have a lot of money. But ordinary men do not prefer to divorce their wives, leave their children, pay alimony and child support to their ex-wives and marry the woman they were dating with no serious intentions. They let the affair go on till the time that the woman is not demanding commitment. When she does, things go wrong. Yes, some may decide to end their marriage. But it is really the best choice to make as a woman when it results in breaking a family? Because love just happens? Great! If you believe in love, then there is hope. Go make it happen with a single man. (Of course I am not blaming the woman solely. It is the man who is committing adultery, but since I am writing from a woman’s point of view here).

I would like to believe that Kangana is telling the truth. But it does not matter what I think. We do not know what really happened. I wish people would stop maligning her by calling her “drama-queen” “cheap”, “attention hungry” “crazy” etc. Let us give the benefit of doubt to both of them!

How come people are so easily accusing her of lying for publicity? Do they know her personally? Because she is a woman? Because she is not part of the “cream” of Bollywood? Because she is outspoken? Or because she is successful in spite of all this? Famous people probably do not support her because they do not want to mess with the big people she speaks against. Ironically the same people get upset when she talks about Bollywood’s nepotism and favoritism!

Kangana, you are fearless. You speak your mind. It is not easy to speak up against people who run the industry in which you work. But you do it anyway! For every 10 people who like to demean you, there would be one woman like me who looks at you and says, “Wow! Finally somebody who is original, and honest!” You must continue to be yourself for the millions of women like me. Not every woman works in movies. Yet, she must have gone through something similar:

The one who has left her hometown for employment but is on the verge of giving up and packing herself back.

The one who has a job but does not know how to deal with group-ism and sexism at work.

The one who was in a relationship that was later denied by the man.

The one who has been called psycho by ex/current boyfriend because he could not find a better reason to dump her.

For all the women who may not have supportive parents, good relationships, money, great contacts or friends but only their work, and their conviction in themselves to become somebody from a nobody. We may not quite there yet, but we have started our journey.

And we need more women role models like you because we have no reference to deal with these situations.

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KBC And Women Empowerment

Started watching Kaun Banega Crorepati since Monday. The show has unexpectedly changed my daily routine as someone who goes to gym / walk late after dinner. Now I have to complete my exercise before 9 pm so that I can watch it peacefully. I don’t know after how long I am watching something on television. The good old days when we ran to the kitchen or the wash room during a break. For the longest time that I can remember it has been Netflix, and Hotstar, Ozee (Mom misses her Zindagi channel) and Altbalaji. (Don’t judge me… I am a fan of Sakshi Tanwar and could not resist Kar le tu bhi mohabbat).

Coming back to the show, last two episodes there was a female contestant from Uttar Pradesh, Archana Vijay. She was full of spunk. I would have loved to see her win more. She said some things on the show which I could completely relate to:

• How every girl is told to get up early, do household work etc so that she is prepared for marriage! As if marriage is the sole goal of our existence!

• As a perfect career advice people give young women – Why don’t you do B. Ed and get into teaching. It is perceived as such a future husband, future in-laws and future children friendly profession! Well, what if the woman is not interested in that?

• She also talked about how following tradition blindly makes no sense. We have conveniently adopted all kinds of new techniques to save time and effort. Why be regressive when it comes to women?

People always say society is like this. People are like that. What can we do? What can we possibly change? Well, nobody is expecting anyone to change the society. But we can at least take charge of our own life. This lady started a cyber café. She speaks up against what she does not feel right. She is not badtameez, she is just logical. I loved the example she gave of aata chakki. But regressive people don’t like logic. Logic defies tradition.

On a completely irrelevant note, she referred to her husband as her “Mister”. Mr. Bachchan interrupted her and clarified that she was addressing her husband and that some people may not get it as it is a very UP thing. Throughout my childhood I have heard people say, “Humare Mr. yeh karte hai, Unki Mrs. nahi hai.. etc.” The fact that I did not find it odd at all, was a reminder that I am quite rustic myself! 🙂

One of the questions asked to her was ‘Which movie has won the National Award for a social message in 2017?’ The answer was Pink. How could I have missed that? A movie with the message ‘No means no’ won an award. The same movie that so many progressive people failed to understand and said,‘But why did the woman go inside a room with an unknown man? What was she thinking?’ Mr. Bachchan then reemphasized that message – No means no whether the woman is your wife or girlfriend.

The next contestant who came on the show spoke about female infanticide. I missed that part but my mother later told me that he coaches women for competitive exams.

By the end of the show, I felt really happy. A financially empowered woman who spoke her mind. A man who wants to empower women. A movie on woman’s consent winning an award. And the greatest superstar of all times spreading the message.

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How Do You React To Married Men Jokes (On Women)!

A bus full of housewives going on a picnic fell into a river, all aboard died. Each husband cried for a week, one husband continued for more than two weeks. When asked, he replied miserably – “My wife missed the bus.”

A man inserted an ‘ad’ in the classifieds: “Wife wanted.” Next day he received a hundred letters. They all said the same thing: “You can have mine.”

You get the idea – The married men jokes that get circulated on whatsapp. It is not just men who share it but women too.

I have received messages from several women saying that they feel offended by these jokes. But when they express their discomfort, they are told that they are “Too sensitive” or “Take it easy” or “It is just a joke, relax!!!”

I have blogged about how I feel about it before. Sharing an excerpt from the old article:

Jet airways launched a scheme where a husband can take his wife free on their business trip.
After big Success of the scheme, Jet Airways sent letters to all wives asking about their experience?
99% wives replied
What scheme??
Which trip??
and When was it??

Do married men really have women throwing themselves at them? That women will jump at the first opportunity to travel with men who are not their husbands? Is cheating a joke? What if I edited this joke:

Jet airways launched a scheme where a wife can take her husband free on their business trip.
After big Success of the scheme.
Jet Airways sent letters to all husbands asking about their experience?
99% husbands replied
What scheme??
Which trip??
and When was it??

Is it funny anymore? Do we circulate jokes like this? I guess because women don’t get to go on business trips (sarcasm!)? Or maybe society does not consider it acceptable that wives could cheat on their husbands, and then laugh about it too!

Without making this post any longer, and as requested by a reader, would like to know how do you react when someone sends such a joke?

1. Come-on! It is light-hearted humour! I find it funny.
2. I don’t find it funny. But I don’t mind it either.
3. I unfollow such people or exit from such groups.
4. I try to make them understand that this is offensive.

Are accidents really just ‘accidents’?

I read the post of a mother who lost her 23-year daughter in a road accident.  The girl was riding pillion wearing a helmet.  There was a pothole.  She fell, got hit by a truck.  The truck driver never got punished. Though there was an FIR, nothing much happened. It was an ‘accident’ after all.

Another post was of a woman who lost her 32-year-old brother in a hit and run case by a speeding Mercedes driven by a ‘juvenile’.  The man was simply crossing the road near his house, carefully when an over speeding car driven by a ‘minor’ hit him.  There is a video of the incident caught on CCTV. The case is going on.

These families are now crusaders for road safety.  They try to create more awareness about poor habits such drunk driving, texting while driving, not following traffic signals as well as take measures to fix bad roads.

You could read more about them if you follow the links. Needless to say, it is extremely disturbing and unfair.

How would  it feel to lose a loved one, because some idiot decided to be on the road?

I had started driving two years back.  I was a slow and careful driver to begin with.

I remember the day I had got a tiny, first scratch in my brand new car. As I touched the scratch, it broke my heart. My perfect little car had to suffer because of somebody else’s stupidity.

Since then, I have had two accidents. Nobody got hurt, thankfully. I was alone both times, and it was not my fault.  The first time, it was with a cab. I don’t think the driver had any license, or registration.  He had snatched my phone and had bullied me into giving him lots of money. Remember the movie ‘Hindi Medium’, where the ‘poor guy’ extracts money out of the guy who was driving the car, even though he had deliberately got himself hit? The scene was meant to evoke sympathy, as the guy had put his life on risk for money for his friend.  I thought it was a horribly wrong message in an otherwise good movie.

The second accident was when a minibus hit my car and another two wheeler. I have blogged about it here. This time, I was smarter and called the police. It was still a lot of hassle.

Two accidents, major repairs, and money extraction by a callous driver later, I have become EXTRA careful.

My ‘grandma driving’ has been subject of ridicule. The jokes come from all kinds of people. Even the ones who do not know how to drive. Or the ones who may know theoretically? but have never driven:

  • I insisted that my friend  who sat in my car on the front seat must wear a seat-belt.  His response: ‘You drive like a bullock cart. I don’t need a seat-belt!’ I wanted to reason that the seat-belt would protect if somebody hits us from behind because no, not all drivers on the road drive like me.  Never mind!
  • Near my office, there is an empty, broken road, with dogs and pigeons resting during the day time. Now, pigeons are supposed to fly when you come near them. But on that quiet day, and quieter street, there was this one pigeon that was refusing to move. I stopped and honked.  There were some guys nearby who motioned me to keep driving, and it would eventually fly. I thought it was cruel to take a chance with hurting the poor bird. I reversed my car a little, and then drove a distance away from it. The guys laughed at me.
  • I was waiting to take a right turn at an intersection where there are no signals. It was not a one way, and there was traffic from both sides. One of my office cabs came after me, took a quick turn in high speed, while I continued to wait. The next day, one of the colleagues who was in that cab, asked me why I was so scared to take a turn. I told him that I was not scared. I was just waiting for the traffic to slow down.  ‘Traffic will be there! In that only you have to go inside! Otherwise you will keep waiting!’ he said with a wise, broad smile. ‘No I will not keep waiting. Every day, I manage to reach home! Maybe I have to wait an extra minute,’ I replied politely.
  • A neighbor was talking to another one about how she was anxious that her 18-year-old son had just started riding a motorcycle. She felt that two wheelers are unsafe and that her son was young. The other woman laughed at her ‘unreasonable fear’. She said that he is starting out late as 15, 16-year-old kids manage to drive.

I know of friends who drive recklessly. Are they ever shamed for their driving skills? No. In fact, they are considered cool and confident. One friend proudly told me how she had driven her team to an event within 20 minutes on a road that takes an hour, saving them from the disaster of being late.

We all know of people who drink and drive, and manage to get away with it. We know of teenagers, and adults who do not know how to drive, yet learn on the roads. We know of people who jump traffic lights. ‘Itna to chalta hai’ is the attitude.

Why do we take pride in putting our lives and more importantly other people’s lives at risk? Is it really something to be proud of? This must be the attitude behind the juvenile who ended up killing the man I was referring to. His parents must have thought it is not a big deal to give the keys to their minor son.

Underage drivers, drunk drivers, bus drivers, cab drivers or heavy vehicle drivers who callously drive on the roads probably may not be following my blog. But someone like the lady who trivialized driving by teenagers might be reading this. Or the colleague who believes waiting for two more minutes is a waste of time.

Is it worth it?

It is time we stopped shaming people who are doing the right thing. Let us pass on the shame to the ones who think they can get away with anything.  This kind of attitude that we have is more damaging that we think.

Next time we hear of someone bragging about their son / daughter who is driving without a valid license, let us shame them for being irresponsible parents. When we are in the car with that friend who breaks all rules, cuts into lines and has no respect for speed limits, let us not encourage him / her.

Let us ask these daredevils to join the circus. Or apply for positions of stunt artists.  The road is not the right place for them to showcase their skills.

Our roads, our legal system, other drivers on the road are all factors beyond our control. But our attitude is.

A Letter To My Daughter

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Dear Arya,

I remember the joy on your face when you found my old laptop at Grandma’s place. You managed to crack the password. You were surprised that the password was not Myarya_21, unlike my other devices. But you know why. It was long before you were born.

Your joy soon turned into a rude shock.  You saw a picture of my wedding. A wedding with a man who was not your father.  It was our joint decision to wait until you turned 18 to talk to you about my previous marriage.  But since you felt betrayed, I think it is important that I tell you my story.

Almost two decades ago, when I was barely 22, Grandma and Grandpa had arranged my marriage to a suitable man. He was charming, intelligent and witty. People who had limited interactions with him thought he was a great guy. Sadly, he had a narcissist and manipulative streak in him.  A secret only his wife knew.

He yelled at me for almost everything that he did not like – whether it was the not so apt salt in the gravy, the newspaper folded the wrong way, or his call being missed.  I would bear the brunt of his poor appraisals and his disagreements with friends. While I struggled to cope up with his temperament, he would shatter my self-esteem by saying that he is doing me a favour. He would call me names and humiliate me.  And one day, he slapped and pushed me for the most trivial argument. When I told him I would report him to the police, he laughed.

‘In this country men get away with burning their wives! You don’t even have a bruise as evidence!’

‘I will break your bones if I see that look on your face again!’

‘No other man would be able to tolerate you with all your flaws!’

I wanted to leave him. People said that my situation was not so bad.  At least he had not hit me black and blue. Aggression is a ‘masculine’ trait. Once I have a child, everything would be okay.

I walked out of the marriage.

I had never thought I’ll remarry. But years later when I met your father, I understood that not all men are bad. He was sensitive and caring. He restored my faith in everything good and beautiful in the universe.  We got married. Then you were born. When I held you, I felt so thankful.

Arya, in a few years you will start dating. You will fall in love. You may get married. As much as I would love to, I cannot protect you from meeting the wrong men. Abuse can be physical, emotional or psychological . You don’t have to ask people if you what you are going through constitutes abuse, or is it enough to end a relationship. What does not feel right for you is not to be endured.

Any time you have doubts, I want you to remember your parents. We did not give birth to you, and love you with every ounce of our soul so that you can grow up to become a doormat. Your mother did not wait to be assaulted brutally to justify her choice. She left at the first instance of abuse. Your father is the perfect example of a gentleman. He has set high standards for you. He is kind and gentle. He has never raised his voice at you or me. Being aggressive is the folly of a coward. Someone who is a slave to his insecurities.

I want you to promise me two things if God forbid, you ever find yourself stuck with someone who does not treat you well: First, that it is not your fault.  The shame belongs to the person who deserves it – the perpetrator. Second, have the courage to get out as soon as you find out.

You may have family, friends and laws for support. But the biggest barrier may be in your mind, which only you can overcome.

We want you to be the heroine of your life, not the victim.

Much love and hopes,

Mom

Author’s Note

This is a fictional piece written for the Blogathon Theme ‘#alettertoher’ organised by Womensweb to spread  awareness on domestic violence.  I would like to read Meena Kandasamy’s new book, ‘When I hit you,’ because it is time to break the shackles of abuse, and pass on the shame to the one who deserve it – the perpetrator.

 

The Intelligent, Young Woman – Wasted In Marriage

I read about Manjula Divak’s suicide the day before yesterday.

Excerpts from the article:

Manjula’s father said, “She was a brilliant girl. She was going to complete her thesis next month, but her husband and parents-in-law wanted her to come back to Bhopal and do household work.”

Mr. Devak told The Hindu that he had already made it clear to the family before the marriage in 2013 that Ms. Manjula would pursue her Ph.D. “They had agreed then but later started torturing her,” he said.

Her husband had allegedly asked Manjula to arrange ₹20 lakh from her father so he could start his own business. “Was my daughter going to wash dishes and sweep the floor after completing her doctorate,” asked the father.

My first reaction was why would such a brilliant woman, a PhD student at IIT Delhi who is capable of being financially independent not opt for divorce but tolerate dowry demands by her husband and in-laws?

Until I read another article which had screenshots of her whatsapp conversation with her sister. It suggested that she did want a divorce. The talk had been initiated with her father-in-law who was supposed to send a ‘rough document’. Her father-in-law had said that if she has to tolerate a couple of beatings to sustain her relationship, then what is the problem?

Manjula had said to her sister that she does not want a second marriage. These people were too horrible.  She is happy alone. Her sister said that not everybody is bad, and that life is too big. Sister had said ‘love you’.

I could not hold back my tears. I was in a similar situation few years back. I could relate to Manjula.

How much pain her parents and sister would be feeling now? And how hopeless she must have felt to take such a step?

Manjula got into an arranged marriage at 24 because the ‘horoscopes had matched’. Her story sounds much too familiar. An academically inclined young girl is married to an unknown man because her family feels this is the best thing for her. The boy wants a qualified girl who should wash the dishes, sweep the floor, whose family should provide him dowry for starting his business.

I hate the idea of arranged marriages, that too at 23-24 when girls have just finished their education. But love marriages prove no different either with spineless husbands siding with their parents.  Unfortunately, most Indian men’s families are like Manjula’s husband’s.  The state of women remains the same.

Manjula was brave enough to consider divorce. But she got scared of her uncertain future. She lost her faith in goodness. She hung herself.

When will things change? What do these men and their families think, that they have hired a life-long slave? The parents of girls in India have pathetically low standards. Their sense of ‘normal’ has been skewed for generations. They feel that all girls have to ‘adjust’. Their daughter is no exception.  And what can be worse than having a 35 year old unmarried daughter?

Let me tell you what can be worse:

A bruised daughter.

A daughter broken in spirits.

A dead daughter.

I agree that marriage is important. Being single for a girl has its own challenges. Whether the woman has been divorced, or remains unmarried, she would probably be seeking companionship. Every new relationship that would not end up in marriage would break her heart, reminding her that she is single while her friends are having babies. But here is the thing:

She would be going ahead in her career, without having to sweep the floor before going to work. She would probably have discovered new interests by now, which she would not have at 21-22 when she was busy studying for exams. She would not be hearing taunts all day about how inadequate she is. There would also be hope of finding a better man. A hope that is lost when she remains married to a loser.

It is still a much more dignified life than a life dedicated to serving an abusive, inconsiderate, man who happens to be your husband and a bunch of entitled, manipulative, greedy in-laws who are the by-products of this disastrous mistake that should not have happened in the first place.

To all the girls reading this and stuck in horrible marriages, I understand that the happy family Hallmark card may be every woman’s dream. But if yours is not, you have to get out, and find your dream elsewhere. It may or may not involve a man immediately. But by leaving cruel people and standing up for yourself you are not just doing a favour to yourself, but a favour to society at large.

The future generations of women would be grateful you did not pass on the legacy of ‘adjustment’.

 

 

 

 

Reema Lagoo – And Childhood Memories

On Thursday morning, I looked at my mobile mundanely to go through the morning news feed.

‘Reema Lagoo dead after suffering cardiac arrest. She was 59!

What? She did not have any serious illnesses that we knew of. She was not even a senior citizen technically. How could she die?

As a kid, (like most kids born in late 80s), I was in love with Hum Aapke Hain Kaun. I was around six when the movie was released. I had already watched it thrice in the theatre. At that time, there were only single screen theatres, the impact being much more grand. My relatives who were visiting from a small town wanted to watch Hum Aapke Hain Kaun in the ‘bigger city.’ My parents and sister wanted to watch Bombay. It was no dilemma for me. I joined my relatives to watch my favourite movie for the fourth time. That was a bold step for a clingy six year old – to choose to be away from parents for three hours.

But how could I not? When I loved all the characters in the movie. They all dripped of nobility. Especially, the graceful Reema Lagoo. She was part of two of the most entertaining comedy shows at that time, ‘Tu tu main main’ and ‘Shrimaan Shrimati’. It was a different time when comedy was not about cracking perverted jokes, or making fun
of every other famous person.

In the interval, I had asked my uncle to get me Thums Up, (in those glass bottles), and chips. Today, I can’t imagine drinking cold drinks. I don’t even have them occasionally. And I could eat chips in a theatre, without using sanitizer? It was an innocent, less complicated, carefree time.

I remember watching an interview of Reema Lagoo. I think it may have been on Shekhar Suman’s show. He asked her, “How can a mother be so beautiful.” She had replied that when she was offered Maine Pyaar Kiya, she took it up because it was a good role. She had no idea that she would be typecast in mother roles forever. She added that once she was asked to play ‘Dharamji’s mother’ to which they both had a hearty laugh.

I used to take things at face value. It never occurred to me that in Bollywood, actors could actually not be the age they were depicted. I asked my mother, why couldn’t she play Dharmendra’s mother. My mother told me that she is very young. She is not even old enough to play Salman Khan’s mother. I was shocked! How could something possibly be unrealistic in my perfect movie?

When I heard that Reema Lagoo passed away, I felt like all the good things I associated with my childhood are gone, one by one. Her death has bereaved us of not just a great actor, but of an era. For me, that era represented values, and everything good and positive. How will watching her movies ever be the same again? She played mother to people not so young, yet she did not live to see the age that she played? It seems so unfair.

I find it difficult to say things like ‘May her soul rest in peace’. But what I do want to say is that she led a blissful life. Such a timeless beauty with a kind face and exceptional talent, that we all loved her as if we knew her, and she were our very own. We will truly miss her.