I am writing on the theme Journey from ‘OR’ to ‘AND’
In this story I have changed the name of the main protagonist and my write up is inspired by a true story.
The room was silent and comfortable. The two ladies were sitting opposite each other with mugs of coffee in their hands. One of them was a top actress of the country and the other was an interviewer from a well known magazine.
Shanaya, How are you feeling after being chosen as “the most beautiful face of the year”? asked the interviewer excitedly .
The other lady in a husky and sophisticated voice started responding to her questions. As she began to speak, her well manicured fingers moved with the rhythm of the words. She was wearing a floral long gown and her hair was curled. She was a beautiful lady indeed with a dark complexion. Her gracefulness could take anyone’s breath away.
“ It is such a great feeling , what I personally believe is that beauty lies in the eye of beholder. One must have a beautiful heart to see the beauty in others and that’s more important.”
“Do you always wanted to come in this profession?” asked the interviewer.
“Well no! I had never thought that I would see myself in this profession. Since my childhood I dreamt of becoming a teacher. In fact I joined a school as teacher but it never lasted long.” Shanya answered the question in a serious tone of voice.
“We have heard that your life was a rollercoaster ride before stepping into the modeling world. Our audiences would love to know about your experiences and what it took to achieve this position.” the interviewer hesitantly asked the question so that it would not hurt Shanya’s sentiments.
As the interviewer finished the question, a hint of grief was visible on Shanaya’s face. For a few minutes she got lost in the dusty memories. All the agonies and trauma which she had faced in her past were again in front of her eyes. She didn’t want to go back there as it took ten long years to come out of that traumatic experience.
“I need a five minutes break.” Demanded Shanaya and went inside the washroom.
Tears were about to roll down her eyes. As she splashed some water on her face, she saw a teenage girl wearing a blue salwar kameez in the mirror. The girl was not as appealing as shanaya but her eyes were as beautiful as hers. She came out of the washroom and made herself comfortable on the sofa.
“Ma’ m, if you don’t want to answer this question, I won’t force you.” Murmured the interviewer sitting besides Shanaya .
“No. I can’t run away from my past anymore and it’s high time that I should reveal the truth of my life. I will answer!” Shanaya said while having a glass of water and she began…
“I come from a lower middle class family. Our family lives in a small village near Siliguri. My father is a mechanic and mother is a housewife. I have one younger brother. The struggle of my life started from the day I was sent to this ruthless world. The day I was born, my parents were in dismay, not because I was born as a girl child but because of my colour. They could not bear the fact that I was not gifted with fair complexion. I was always in thirst for my parent’s love. I was around 8 year old; I came to know that my mother had left me near the garbage bin, next day of my birth as my family could not take the taunts of me being born with a dark complexion. Our school teacher Govind found me and took me back to my parents. He threatened them that if they would illtreat me, he would lodge a complaint against them. With that fear, my parents had to keep me forcefully but they never showed any love and affection for me. They always thought that I was a bad omen to the family. I was beaten frequently by them and was cursed to be born ugly. They always hid me from their friends and relatives. Whenever someone came to our place, I was asked to lock myself in the room and sit quietly. “
“ I still remember the day when Ram Manohar, my father’s colleague visited our place. I was thrown into a small room for five hours. The atmosphere was suffocating me. I could resist and went to the kitchen to get some water for me. Unfortunately I was noticed by everyone. That was the most embarrassing moment for my parents. After he left, I was sure that I would again be tortured till death. I was so petrified and my body was shivering.My mother came with a burning wooden bark and put it on my wrist. I was made to stay outside home for the whole night without food and water.”
Shanaya showed the scar to everyone in the room. Her story made everyone dumbstruck. After a two minutes pause, the interviewer with tears in her eyes asked Shanaya in a low voice,” how did you manage to escape from there?
Shanaya going back to her past started…
“ The only silver lining on my dark clouds was Govind, my Guruji. I was not allowed to join school; neither did I have any friends. Nobody in my village wanted to be with me as they considered me a bad luck to them; Govind was the only one who helped me in studying. There were days when I cursed God for not making me fair and beautiful. Whenever I felt dejected I went to Govind. I learnt some great lessons of life from him. He knew that my aim was to become a teacher. He never let my confidence break.”
“Years passed liked this and I stepped into adulthood.The attitude of the people around me didn’t change.One day my parents tried to kill me by mixing rat poison in my meal but somehow I noticed it ran from the home. I went straight to Govind and narrated the whole incident to them.”
“ Why God has gifted me a cursed life. I want to live and do something. I want to be like you. I want to study and earn.please help me Guru ji. If I go back home, they would kill me. I don’t want to die. Shanya broke down and started shedding tears.
“You can’t be here anymore. I have a friend named Deepa in Kanpur. She runs a small play school. You go there. I am sure she will definitely help you.”
Govind explained everything to Shanaya and booked a train ticket.
Next morning, Shanaya after taking Guruji’s blessings boarded the train with a hope that her life would change for the better and left that village forever.
“Govind told me everything about you. I must say you are a strong girl and since your childhood was not a pleasant one, I am sure you will understand every child’s psychology well. I know you will be a very good teacher Shanya.” Deepa patted Shanaya’s shoulder and consoled her.
It was the first day of the school…small children were playing in the class and talking. The moment Shanaya entered the class, some of the students started crying,They were getting scared of Shanaya. Next day the strength of the class was less as compared to the first day. In the coming days strength began to lessen. Deepa and shanya could not figure out the reason. Shanya was an excellent teacher . She never screamed and hit any of her students, still the students were reluctant to attend her class.
After a month, some parents came to Deepa to discuss the reason behind their children’s absence in class.
“Ma’ m. I don’t know how to say this but our children are scared of the new teacher. They don’t like the face of the new teacher. They think she is a witch. We should not say this but if that teacher continues to teach, we will not send our children to the school.”
Shanaya heard everything, she could not take the humiliation and went inside the room weeping loudly and scratching her face. Deepa quickly came inside and tried to stop her from hurting herself.
“You have had enough of humiliation in life. Now stop being a victim and take charge. Make people realize how poor, is their mindset. They have tortured and harassed you for your appearance. Make yourself so strong and successful, that no one dares to say a word to you. Use your looks as your asset.”
Shanaya wiped off her tears and said, “Yes Deepa! Here onwards I promise that I would never let anyone affront me. They have hated me for my looks, I will enhance myself to such an extent that people would die to be with me. From my parents to the strangers in my life, I challenge everyone that you all would repent for what you all did to me.”
“Deepa.. I want to be the top model of the industry. Do you know any source to get into this profession ” determined Shanaya asked Deepa.
“Well I don’t know anyone personally, but one of my friends knows a girl. She works as a junior artist and I am sure she would help you.” Said Deepa.
Within next week Deepa spoke to her friend. Her friend spoke to her friend Maya who was working as a junior artist. Maya didn’t promise to get Shanaya employed but she said she would try her level best.
Shanya’s encounter with Maya
Shanaya stepped out of the Mumbai railway station with a small suitcase in her hand. She was standing there with awe seeing the busy and fast life of Mumbai. She had never seen a city like this. It was her first experience of a metropolitan city. While she stood there she heard a voice of a lady addressing her from behind “ hey are you Shanaya?”
She turned around and saw a lady of medium height wearing jeans and blue t-shirt standing there. Her hair was tied in a neat ponytail.
Hi Maya? Asked Shanaya
“yes. I have been waiting for you for last half an hour. This is Mumbai , my dear no one has time for anyone. Come let’s take the Taxi.” Said Maya. Shanaya quietly followed her to the taxi. On the way Shanaya saw the beautiful and huge buildings. She had never seen those kinds of buildings in her life. She could feel the fresh air. There was something positive in that air.
After an hour, they reached their destination. “well Shanaya! This is where I live. I know it’s not a big house but I hope it would be enough for two of us. I came to know about your tragic background. Everybody has some past. All I would say that don’t let the past affect your present and future but my dear never forget the situation and the people who had given you difficult times. The fire in your heart should be keep burning; this would help you in your future progression.”
Shanaya listened to her words carefully. In the coming days Shanaya and Maya had developed a good friendship. Maya spoke to some of her colleagues for Shanaya, if she could get the chance to play a role of a junior artist. Each night Maya would give her lessons about acting.
One day, Shanaya was cleaning the home when Maya came and shouted with excitement,” congratulation Shanaya! You are given a role of a junior artist in Karan Malhotra’s next film. The director has asked you to meet him tomorrow for the audition.”
Shanaya could not believe the news. Tears of joy rolled down her cheeks, this was the first time she had experienced the happiness of getting something in life.
“But Shanaya, you can’t go like this. You need to look presentable. You believe it or not but physical appearance plays a great role in this industry.” Interrupted Maya and took her to a beauty parlour.
“I know a beauty parlour which is not all that well known but I have heard that they do miracles and transform a person beyond imagination.”said Maya and took her to the parlour.
“Hi Rita! Give her a proper makeover and make her beautiful like a princess”said Maya to the manager of the parlour.
Shanaya was taken inside. Maya waited outside the parlour reading film magazines. After three hours , Rita called Maya inside. Maya got stunned with her mouth open to see Shanaya. She had been changed completely. Her hair was straightened with waxed and manicured arms. She had a glow on her face. She never looked this beautiful before.
That day, Maya and Shanaya celebrated her new look and new life. Shanaya practiced the dialogues whole night. Next day she went to the famous bolloywood studio for the audition. A shooting was already going on one set. She went inside the audition room. This was the first time she had to face an interview; it could change her life forever. After thirty minutes, she was called by the director Karan Malhotra. She nervously stepped inside the room but somewhere she had a faith that, this was going to be her best performance.
She was given a situation on which she had to perform. She kept aside her nervousness and got into the character. She gave her first performance wholeheartedly. After she had finished performance, there was applause all around , the judges got impressed with her performance and she was taken for the role of a junior artist.
“You must had been very happy and were enjoying your work? You were so close to your dream.” Asked the interviewer after listening to Shanaya’s story.
“Oh yes! That night Maya and I celebrated the success. I loved my work and gave 100% into it. But my struggle didn’t stop there in the film industry. As I wanted to be a well-known actor, but whatever role I got, I never let down my directors as I have worked very hard and gave full commitment to each role assigned to me. For three years I kept on working and struggling in the industry as a junior artist but also I was finding ways of getting a lead role in the films. ”said Shanaya.
After two years…
One day shanaya got an offer to work in a film. A new director wanted to make his career in film industry , so he decided to make a small budget film. He signed Shanaya as a lead actress. All the faces were new. Shanaya worked day and night to make her career. The film was released after a year. Shanaya prayed to God to make the film superhit. She was nervous the night before Friday.
Finally the day came, she woke up in the morning and could not wait to see public’s reaction after watching the film. Her excitement soon turned out in disappointment when she came to know that her debut film was a flop. The audience made fun of her film and gave a poor review.
She remained depressed for some days. One day she was coming back home, a girl came to her and asked ,” hey are you are Shanaya? I saw your film. You are a great actress .”
“You are a great actress! That was the first time when someone had complemented me. I will never forget this first compliment by that girl.” Shanaya smiled while describing about her first ever compliment.
“How did you achieve this position and success in life?” asked the interviewer.
“I was somewhere losing hope after my film floped but I have never imagined that this would happen to me.” Said Shanaya
One day Shanaya was reading magazines in home. Suddenly a small boy named Bittu came to her and said “Shanaya didi, someone has called you.” Shanaya didn’t have her personal phone. She gave her neighbor’s landline number to everyone. Bittu was her neighbours’s son.
“ok. I am coming but who would call me?” said Shanaya and went to attend the phone call.
After she finished with her phone call, she searched for Maya. Maya was at her work, when she came back home, Shanaya said to Maya that she had got a call from the office of Karan Malhotra. They offered her a side role in their movie. Maya could not believe Shanaya’s words .
Shanaya without giving any second thought went to see the director Karan Malhotra. He already knew her before.
“I have seen your film and I have observed that you are a good actor, I came to know this when I first saw your audition. I want to sign you for my new film which is a love story and you are offered to play a role of a supporting actress.” Said Karan Malhotra.
Sanaya was on cloud nine. She stood there speechless. The happiness was clearly visible on her face.
“But, An actor should be presentable. You must learn how to carry yourself. You need a complete makeover.” said karan Malhotra to Shanaya.
She was sent to fitness classes and personality enhancement classes to make her more graceful. One day she was advised by someone to go for skin treatment which would make her fair. That time she refused and said,”I want to show the world that a dark complexion girl could also be beautiful and beauty is not who is more fair, it’s about how you carry yourself.”
She worked hard and got completely involved in shootings. After two years the film was completed and was ready to release.
Shanaya had a nightmare that this film was a flop. She woke up in the morning sweating all over. Her phone rang (she had got a new mobile phone by that time).It was from her director. She was hesitant to take the call.
“Hello sir” she greeted him in a shivering voice.
“Shanaya! Wake up dear. The film is a super hit. Public has loved the film. Its only first day and the film did a business of few crores. Congratulation Girl! You are now a super star. Get ready and come for the interview. The press is waiting to meet the new face of the industry.”
Shanaya jumped out of the bed. She gave the news to Maya and Deepa . Everyone congratulated her and wished her good luck for the future. Her life had changed. She was no more an ordinary girl who was discarded by everyone for her looks. People now were dying to be with her.
From then she had been signing many big budget films of eminent directors. She had won many awards for her performances. She was a celebrity now.
The interview with Shanaya got over.
“I would publish your interview as soon as possible. You are an inspiration to those girls who think that not being beautiful is a curse. You have taught every Indian girl to have confidence in themselves and have also taught that you don’t need anyone to make yourself happy. How you stood against the sham society and fought alone was a great example to all those girls who have accepted their painful circumstances as their destiny.” The interviewer said to Shanaya.
“any last word you want to say to the girls of our country?”asked the interviewer
Shanaya said,” don’t hesitate to pursue your dreams, have faith in yourself, You will only know how high you can soar , once you start flying. Never give up in life!”