Pratyusha Banerjee – young, beautiful, successful, popular Pratyusha Banerjee committed suicide on 1st April. My friend N who’s an avid follower of the show thought it was a distasteful April fool’s joke, and millions of us wish it was.
I hardly follow Hindi TV channels and have never watched the show but knew a lot about Anandi and recognized her too. This speaks volumes about her success, and she was only 24!!
I and N were talking about the suicide and we both agreed that it was a cowardly and selfish act. It’s easy to end your life but the ones who are living are only left behind with questions and what-ifs. Since we both have young kids our conversation soon moved on how to make our children emotionally strong and other parenting challenges.
Couple of days later social media was all over Hema Malini, calling her insensitive and bashing her left, right and center. I wondered why was it so difficult for people, especially mothers to understand where she was coming from. Then couple of days ago a new article from Shobha De claiming that Hema Malini has lost her mind caught my eye and made me lose it.
First of all, Shobha De it’s you who has lost her mind and not Hema Malini. And I’m not saying it because I’m a die hard fan or anything. I support her because I have a daughter myself and the very thought of her contemplating such a step anytime in her life scares the sh*t out of me.
Shobha De has diligently mentioned in her article “Star kids are often the hardest hit. The expectations are pitched sky high. And if they fail to match the stupendous success of their parents, they are called ‘losers’.” Perhaps she forgot that Hema Malini ruled the film industry at a time, and so did her husband. Her step sons and her daughters have been part of the industry too. She is the last person who needs to be told how life is tough for star kids and how audience put them through undue pressure.
I agreed wholeheartedly to the part which said “The stress of surviving in what is aptly called ‘tinsel town’ takes a heavy toll. Pratyusha had tasted success, and failure. Perhaps she couldn’t handle either.” Hema Malini’s own daughter had to handle failure too. And given her family background it wouldn’t have been an easy thing to accept.
The first time I heard the word suicide was when I was very young. We had family friends who’s daughter had recently failed a major test. The mother had confided in my mother that she worried about her daughter. She used to be so depressed all the time that they were scared if she’ll commit suicide to escape the shame of failure. That’s what my mother was sharing with my father when I had overheard their conversation and added a new word in my vocabulary. Thankfully our family friend studied harder and cleared the test next year instead of committing suicide. But in the years that followed I heard and read in newspaper about many children taking this road when they couldn’t cope up with studies or didn’t get through a prestigious enough college.
Now, consider Hema Malini as a mother. Esha Deol had to match up to the extremely high standards set by her parents and elder brother, and she failed miserably over and over again. Who knows if Hema Malini worried senseless like our family friends? Who knows if she tried day and night to keep her daughter’s moral up so she doesn’t succumb to the pressure?
It is fair when Shobha De says “She was just unable to cope with her overburdened life. Like many other persons – young and old.” But what will happen if everyone with an overburdened life starts hanging themselves? Moreover, what about the fan who committed suicide in front of her 2 year old because she couldn’t accept Pratyusha’s death? How can one support that kind of irresponsible action?
I support Hema Malini because I can understand the pain Pratyusha’s mother must be feeling. No body knows what drove her to take such a drastic step, and no one ever will be able to fully comprehend what really went through the fragile mind of Pratyusha during her last days. But I am certain of one thing – nothing could have been bad enough for her to commit suicide. And I can bet you that her mother feels the same. No matter how bad it was, it was not worth her life. I believe this is what Hema Malini felt too when she posted those tweets that irked everyone. She has been there so she knows, better than most of us.
Life is getting so complicated and competitive, I can not even begin to understand how tough it would be for my sweet little daughter when she grows up. My daughter, who’s delicate, shy, pampered and so protected, will one day be facing the harsh world on her own. She won’t confide in me every time something bothers her, she won’t always share how upset a failure made her. She will have to take every downfall in her stride and move on. If today I empathize with Pratyusha’s suicide I am telling her when she feels the going is getting too tough for her its okay to call it quits. And mind you, its very subjective. We don’t know about Pratyusha’s challenges. Some other girl might be able to endure much more than that and some may crumble at the slightest defeat. Where do we draw the line as to what kind of challenge is worthy of a life?
I know for sure, no matter what happens with my baby girl when she grows up, there’s NOTHING she can’t fight, NOTHING that would even come close to the value of her life.
Loser may not be the most correct word for Pratyusha but didn’t she become one when she let her problems win?
Bhawnaon ko samjho yaar…. don’t twist the words to get attention. Don’t digress from the main issue here. Let’s stop glorifying her fight and empathizing with her weakness. It was a cowardly and selfish act and no amount of heart rendering speeches will make it right.