Friday, 16 June 2017

A fight for life.

      Sensational News : Top Bollywood Diva was born a hermaphrodite !

 ... screamed the tabloids ! Just a couple of days back they had praised her to the skies. Usha had won the Best Actress Award for her scintillating performance of a deaf mute, young girl who fights the rapists who had left  her to die, in the path breaking film, Nirbhaya. Her entry in Bollywood had not been an easy one. But, she had struggled with all her might and displayed raw talent that had blown away the film makers during her auditions. And, today, when she had catapulted to the top of the game in a matter of some years, the media was pulling her down, digging up her past and flinging muck on her for something that was never her mistake!
      Her room was strewn with the newspapers that had carried her story in detail. And apart from the ticking clock,  there could be heard the whimpering of this brave, beautiful girl who, till yesterday,was the darling of the masses.  Today, she lay crumpled on her bed, her life as though sucked out of her.  And the only one person to hold her and soothe her in this hour was her Aaji, her grandmother. Aaji was doing all she could to console her, comfort her. It was all she could do for her child who was completely broken...all over again.
    Her life's misery had begun even before she entered this world. Her birth had been very difficult. Her mother, Parvati, had gone through agonising labour pains. Parvati's  husband and her mother had a strange feeling that this was going to be her last child...first and last. And, her last night in this world. Her final push had been accompanied with an ear-splitting scream and then there was silence. The baby...did not cry...would not cry. The mid-wife had given up and left the place. Aaji had taken over and picked up the baby to clean and had nearly fainted. The baby had been born with a body which, at first glance, looked normal, but on closer inspection displayed a deformity that affects one in a thousands! She had been born with both the sex organs. Aaji had started praying that instant thinking it to be a curse. The father, who had stormed into the room to see his baby, had been stunned by just the look on Aaji's face. He had forsaken the baby when he had been informed about it's deformity. Aaji was now left alone, holding the frail  baby in her arms. Not having the heart to forsake the baby, she made up her mind  then and there that she would bring up the baby and help her live the life she had been destined to live.

     The baby was named Usha, the one born at the crack of dawn. Aaji had left the village the very next day  and taken the baby, along with her life's savings, to Mumbai, the city of dreams. And there had begun their struggle for survival. Aaji found a tiny shack in a hutment in Dharavi and also a job preparing pickles. She would carry Usha in a sack that she would tie around herself and go about her work, feeding her milk made with cheap milk powder at regular intervals, Aaji mothered her to the best of her ability. Usha on her part, was a good baby, a quiet baby who entertained herself with the sights ad sounds around her. Life fell into a routine. Aaji had made up her mind to bring up Usha as best as she could, give her the education she could afford and alongside get her treated so that she could lead a normal life. She wouldn't let her own illiteracy get in the way of Usha's progress. Usha would definitely get the best her Aaji could afford.

    Little Usha was unaware of her deformity and led her life with all the cheer and happiness of a little girl. She, on her part, did her best to help her Aaji and gave her no scope for complaint. Aaji was her entire world. The only human being she knew and could depend upon. She did her best at school and at home. She entertained her tired Aaji with songs and dances at the end of the day. The big smile on Aaji's face was her reward. She made Aaji proud of the decision that she had taken all those years ago. Under Aaji's watchful eye and tender love, Usha blossomed into a flower that spread happiness everywhere she went.

   Years of hard work and saving money allowed Aaji to  now think about the surgery suggested by the doctors at the public hospital where Usha had been quite a regular. After attaining puberty, Usha would undergo the operation that would help her lead a normal life as a female. She would tell all about it to Usha when she grew up enough to understand the seriousness of this issue. The little girl had been badgering her Aaji about all these hospital visits and the impending surgery, but, she would have to wait for the answers, was the usual reply!

    Usha had grown into a beautiful girl...graceful in her movements, with a sweet voice and an endearing nature. She loved the cinema and its music and dances and could spend hours dreaming about it or dancing to the tunes that emanated from her  tiny radio. . Aaji could see the dreams in Usha's eyes, but, could she fulfil those dreams? And most importantly, could Usha survive the world that she fantasised? Aaji decided to help Usha give it her best shot, but only after the advice that whatever happened, Usha would face her problems head on, would struggle to do her best, would never stoop to a level that would demean her or bring disgrace to her Aaji and that she would fight life's battles in a way that would make her Aaji proud of her! It was not an easy dream to be fulfilled, but Aaji and her Usha had started on the journey that might change their lives forever.

    And one fine day, after years of struggle, Usha's dreams were finally about to come true. She had been signed up by a talented film maker after her spell binding audition. She could now think about giving her Aaji the rest that she had deserved years ago and the comforts that she needed at her age. Her debut film and the adulation that followed had been like a whirlwind romance. Her modest upbringing assured that she kept her feet firmly to the ground and Aaji made sure she remained the down to earth girl that she had always been! Films followed and so did stardom and eventually love in the form of Tusbaar. the son of a producer who had made a couple of films with Usha, now Meghna.

    Usha  had opened up to Tushaar her heart and soul. Their love was strong, was what she felt. She had divulged the secret of her deformity which Tushaar had asked her to forget about as it was all in the past. He had encouraged her to look towards building her career and then some day settle down in marital bliss! It really was a dream come true!

   But, a dream it was. And she had to wake up from her sleep some day. And this was the day, the dreaded day, that had brought her face to face with the grim reality of life in the showbiz. Her career, her achievements, her awards and rewards and the years of struggle had been wiped out with one sweeping stroke of bad luck that had 'Tushaar' written all over it. They had broken up because of her hectic shooting schedule and scarcity of time for  each other. And this is what he had done to get even with her?! Why? It was he who had decided to call it quits, so, how could he do this to her? Her reputation, her name and status all damaged beyond repair!!!

    "Oh, Aaji! it's all over! My career, my life, everything that we built with all that hard work", she wailed into her Aaji's lap. "I will never be able to face the taunts and the endless questions. i will be considered  a freak for the rest of my life! There is nothing left here now, Aaji! I cannot live here anymore. I just want to go away, run away from here, Aaji. Please, lets just go away to some place where no one knows us, please!", she begged. And, finally Aaji spoke...

"Usha, I did not bring you up to cower in fear like this. Remember what I told you right in the beginning? You are going to face the world bravely. You are going to fight your battles like I taught you to. Whatever happened to you was not your fault. It was but a birth deformity, not your mistake. Usha, you have been a heroine on the silver screen. It is high time you became a 'hero' in real life. You will NOT run away. You will stay here and face the situation. And fight, fight for all that you have struggled for and for those innocent beings out there who were born like you  but, have been cast away by society. So, get up, girl. Get up and go for it. I am with you!"

   Usha wiped away her tears. How correct her Aaji was! She thought over a few things. She would hold a press conference and let the world know about her life... about  her struggle and the struggle of a countless souls who suffered all their lives for no fault of theirs. She would become their voice and their pillar of strength, the way Aaji had been hers. She would make her Aaji proud. She would fight...fight for her life!
This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

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