I was destined to be an actress. But, in a country like India, to become a heroine, you not only require talent but beauty as well. By the word beauty, they mean white skin and a slim figure. Well, I’m the exact opposite and I obstinately decided that I will only act as a heroine. I was always rejected with ‘you are very talented, but…’
That day I was travelling in a bus for another audition. This time I was very nervous as this would be my last chance. My parents were fed up with my futile attempts and they decided to get me married to a well settled guy. An old man in his late sixties sat next to me.
Being an extrovert, I asked him many questions, for which he mostly gave monosyllabic answers; a bit irritated.
“Where are you coming from?”
“The Purgatory and do you want to know why? I killed three people!”
I was totally shocked. The purgatory is a nickname of the prison for extremely dangerous criminals. Silence prolonged for the next few minutes. I was getting more and more curious about him. I asked, a little bit nervous, “Why did you do it?”
He seemed to lighten up, “I was a member of the Party in my youth. Once my leader had to lock horns with three opposition Party members. It ended in their death. The elections were approaching and a murder wouldn’t help him win. So I gave myself for the sake of the Party. I was punished with double life imprisonment without bail. He promised to let me out. But after almost two years, I realized it was a usual political promise.” He took a deep breath.
In order to bring him back from his thoughts, I told about my life, passion and how society discouraged me. He said, “Don’t always blame your parents. They have their own reasons which you can realize only when you become one. I never bothered to listen to my parents. Once in prison, I received a letter from my mother, saying that my father was gone. I couldn’t go as I was not given a parole. Few months later, I heard that my mother too was gone. I couldn’t even see them one last time. I curse myself every day for not listening.”
Before leaving, he said, “The true artist is someone who can make the viewers remember the character even after many years; no matter how small the character is. When you become one, your colour will be nothing more than just skin. Keep that in mind.”
I went for the audition. As usual, I was rejected. Another director from the board, who once rejected me, told, “There is a role of a woman who comes to the hero for asking him to save her child. Can you do that?”
I don’t know why, but I said yes. It was only a small scene. But the response was pretty exciting. I was given many other characters after that and gradually, I became a famed heroine. When my life turned out to be so good, I wished to see him again; the man behind my success. I went to his village with the address he had given. But he was gone; forever. ‘He deserves to be heard’, I thought. It motivated me to make a film on him with me playing the role of his mother. After winning the national award, I went to the church cemetery. There I found him near his parents. I was so happy that he was finally resting in peace.
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