This is no ordinary birthday...
My friends want a party. Not a big bash, just a small get-together. Honestly, life is a celebration for me. It has always been. But now I value every moment.
What have you learnt from it?
There are two ways of looking at it. I can choose to see it as a blur of pain and suffering. The kind of turmoil one goes through in a situation like this is beyond the imagination of anyone. Such an experience can kill you even if the illness doesn’t. But then you can look at the crisis as a challenge, and try to defeat it. I’ve always been a fighter all my life. Giving up is not an option for me.
Did you ever feel the trauma was too much to endure?
I’ve to confess, once or twice there were moments I did feel like giving up. But that was just momentary. I focused on knowing that it would be fine, no matter how bad it seemed. My family especially my mother, also my dad and my brother were a big support. They never let me give up.
Is it true that you felt let down by some of your friends?
I never meant to say my friends have let me down when I made that entry on my Facebook page about my friends not being around. If some people are not equipped to deal with illnesses, there are others who are not equipped to deal with illness of a loved one. Different people have different ways of expressing concern.
You see relationships with a lot more wisdom now?
I certainly value my relationships a lot more. While going through the trauma one can’t really see everything clearly. When I look back on the experience there are some incidents that are clearly visible, others are blurred.
You took to spirituality...
My spiritual guide was on Skype counselling me constantly. When one is dealing with a life-threatening illness, it is the fear that needs to be addressed. My spiritual guide helped me to cope with the fear.
What’s happening with your book?
I am working on it. But I need to give a structure to my thoughts. I want to share not just how the illness changed my outlook on life, but also how all my experiences in life have benefited and harmed me. Each day is important and that bonding with your loved ones is far more important than being sweet to strangers.
There were reports that you were going to resume shooting as soon as you returned to Mumbai?
That was completely wrong. I think people have a wrong impression about cancer treatment. Even after you’re free from the disease your body is very weak and your immunity system is gone. One has to give time to the body to accommodate itself to the surroundings after the illness. And film shooting is very demanding.
How important is love to you at this juncture in life?
I valued relationships with men a bit too much. Now I feel companionship has nothing to do with the conventional man-woman equation. A friend with whom you are not romantically involved can give you great companionship. Today I don’t need that one companion. At this point of time I am far more comfortable with my family and close friends.
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This is no ordinary birthday...
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