At first, still caught up in my sorrow over Bollywood actor Sridevi’s untimely death, RGV’s “very personal note”, floating around now on various social and online media, came as an assertion of all the rumours I had grown up hearing about the beautiful, late actor. I won’t go into how she shaped my life for me or how I let the ambition of becoming her one day guide me into my life, in what little ways it could. Far too many people have shared it. Mine would hardly be any different.
Emotions settled down as chores of the day took precedence. (Because life goes on even in death.) Slowly, away from my phone, where I’d received the “forward” that had reawakened my sorrows about not only her death but also the circumstances around, and an inexplicable, untimely void it brought on, I realised that this was rather typical of the RGV we’ve come to know of late. His “really personal note” on something, anything splashed around as un-apologetically publicly as he would like to. Because those are the only statements he is capable of making anymore. The pretense of empathy. Letting out demons for the the rest of the near and dear ones of the deceased to carry on their shoulders. That thing, even if only a phrase or two, about how he wished, after seeing her as a person, “she was allowed to be a star even in her normal life instead of being constantly directed her relatives, husband and to an extent even her own daughters” , he’d said. How did he know? And did he, in his need to come across as the only one who may have seen Sridevi’s true “person” “in her silences”, transform the fighter she may have been, given her childhood and the circumstances even he claims she had, into a person who played victim? Living off someone’s “alms” to “find” her little bits of happiness? What if her kids are like my daughter, and they shared a wonderful relationship with their mom? And what if Sridevi was like any other woman who’s come of age? She may have been only a part of who she was with her kids, her family. Like I am with mine. Sometimes burdened by the weight I carry on my shoulders to teach my daughter to become a better human being, wondering at every step of my way how I would affect hers, and her outlook of the world around her, wishing I didn’t have to, almost impatient about when I can let them all be, have no cares in the world expect to follow what my heart chooses. Yet at other times, unable to think of anything but the joy I derive from her. Unable to understand how I could be anything more than the mother I am to her.
What if after reading his “very personal note”, Sridevi’s kids wonder if they had, god forbid, an indirect hand in bringing that untimely death upon their beautiful mother? The one, let’s assume for even an improbable fairy-tale moment, as per RGV’s “understanding” of the beautiful actor and the relationships she may have been capable of having, they shared a very deep bond with? What kind of guilt trip is RGV setting them off on? What demons may he have let loose at them besides the many they may already be battling? Couldn’t that man keep his very personal note to himself or, if he wanted to “fight for Sridevi in her death”, sent that note to the family he spoke of? Given them the dignity of keeping their battles to themselves, and not having to wash their dirty linen, if at all, in public? Why didn’t RGV choose to take this out in person with the family, spoiling for a fight as he was?
Even as the Indian media shows yet again how undignified they can be in a celebrity’s death, it’s the likes of RGV that disgust me more. Because a man of his stature should have known better how he could have started this trail of mud-raking, deeply affecting friends and family, if not her fans.
But why would he care? He’s let everyone know how much he cares. Oh the shame!