It was a lazy Sunday. Lazy, as I skipped my cycling plans; an activity that gives my day a very lively kick-start. But then I was also happy to be able to sleep in that extra bit. I slept tad late on Saturday night as I was trying to catch up on some blogs. I was reading Mayura’s blog, Diary of an Insane Writer where she wrote about “breaking up with Whatsapp”. It spoke to me in more ways than one. So yesterday morning as I rubbed my eyes awake and instantly reached out for my phone, I remembered Mayura’s lines on how she had stopped watching the sunrise, thanks to the Whatsapp dependence. Guilt reared its ugly head at me too, but to be blurred in no time by a news far beyond my imagination. I was horrified to read about actress, Sridevi’s sudden demise due to cardiac arrest, on one of my Whatsapp groups.
In my head, I was never a huge fan of hers. But then I was pretty much in awe of her acting prowess. As the day progressed I realised her movies had left a very deep impact somewhere within my being. Whether it was her feisty role in Mr. India, or her beguiling beauty that floored us in Lamhe, or the shrill voiced Chandini, singing the song Chandini- Chandini, bereft of any tune, yet enchanting us with her chiffon sarees, or the venom spitting serpent in Nagina, or more recently the mother-wife who rediscovers and reasserts herself in English Vinglish, I had disliked that Bollywood phase of hers where she was doing movies with Jitender and Jaya Prada, flaunting her thunder thighs and was usually the one to wreck a home. My small town sensibilities were awkward around those storylines and gyrating moves. I also had watched these films with my parents on the VCR (video cassette recorder) at home. Yet, over a period; her grace, charm, her simple ability to stay away from lime light, her reticence and dignity is one that drew a lot of respect from me and I’m sure from many others too.
Yesterday I felt a gaping void within. Sridevi’s untimely demise brought back memories of my mother’s loss, just three weeks back. My heart went out to Sridevi’s young daughters. It is a daunting, irreparable loss for the two young girls and one is still a teenager.
In the midst of all the grieving and mourning, I was appalled to see the number of messages circulating on social media, speculating on how cosmetic surgery and a hydroxy diet had killed her. Who are we to judge her for her personal choices. Like a dear friend and author wrote on Facebook;
“Appalled by the judgmental posts on Sridevi circulating in the social media. Sad how misogyny and victim blaming can follow a woman into her death. Guys, before you shoot your mouths off about her cosmetic surgery killing her consider that Dev Anand lived well into his eighties. Or if you think it was her desire to be slim how would you explain Reema Lagoo’s death of cardiac arrest, also in her fifties? Really, her life and death are worthy of your respect, her family of your sympathy. Stop sharing the useless pontification being forwarded on Whatsapp and posted on Facebook. Show a modicum of grace.”
Some even went on to crucify her in the name of karma; for having been responsible for breaking marriages. This toxic outburst especially at the time of her death, made my stomach churn. It’s so disheartening to see how democracy is being misused these days, in the guise of social media updates and posts.
Death is an unannounced visitor. It can hit anyone, anytime. Irrespective of age, sex, and time. A top-notch business person who was a fitness and health freak, a marathon runner; suddenly died of cardiac arrest at the age of 47. He was not into fad diets or cosmetic surgeries. Who are we to blame in this case? Possibly the stress levels at work or lack of sleep, or who nows what? Or should we just make peace with the moment knowing that it was a life well-lived. And he came into the universe with the pre-decided life-span. Of course nothing in the world can take away the huge void and loss his kids and wife are left with. But then don’t we all know we humans are mortal and have no control in the face of death.
In Sridevi’s case she always kept a dignified aura, acted in about 300 films in her fifty-four year-long life span. She shone true to her movie avatar, Chandini (moonlight), in the film by the same name. She must have a accumulate good karma to have passed on so suddenly; no suffering, no long-standing illness, no history of heart illness; just a life nipped short. None of us really know the details of her personal life or her life’s journey. Most of the news doing the rounds are speculative information. So why make our own conjectures about her death. Even if she underwent cosmetic surgery, it was her personal choice. So who are we to comment. Yes, we can possibly take home a lesson about loving oneself for who we are and ageing gracefully.
If one were to look at the larger picture, it was a life very well lived. A life that gave millions of her fans unlimited entertainment, in the form of multifaceted movies. And yes, can we forget those huge, evocative, enchanting eyes that spoke volumes and dazzled us with her beguiling charm?
We all come into this world with an expiry date, what really matters is a life well-lived. Do we stop by to smell the roses? Do we touch a few lives? Do we remember to thank the universe for a day that went by without any hitches? Do we let go of small misgivings and move on with love in our hearts? Do we spend quality time with the ones that matter the most? Do we appreciate someone for their small act of kindness? Do we thank our loved ones for being who they are?
In the end that’s all that truly matters.
When I lost my Ma this month, my Uncle who came for the last rites, motivated my grieving father with this quote which Baba Amte, the famous social activist had once shared with him.
These lines were meant to impart hope to my father whose life had lost its sheen and was grappling with the loss of his wife of fifty-eight years .
In my opinion, it’s important to work tenaciously, every single day towards maintaining a healthy, happy harvest in life; so as to reap the benefits of this harvest lifelong.
Linking up with the amazing Corinne