Monday, April 7, 2014

April AToZ Challenge Day 6- F is for Fame vs. Freedom

It’s not very often that your past comes revisiting. And if that past is part of a history that you have buried deep within your subconscious mind, never to visit again, then those memories can cause more pain than nostalgia.  This is what happened to me yesterday when, slouched on the couch and mindlessly surfing through the TV channels I came across a news channel airing a segment on ‘Famous models who have disappeared from the face of earth’.

My mind willed my fingers to grab the remote and turn off the TV but my body had frozen. I simply sat, with hands trembling, listening to the anchor on the Entertainment news segment speak.

“Many of us still remember this tall, dusky, svelte who ruled the ramp for more than 5 years. The beautiful and stunning model, Mia Tandon created furor when she modeled for a sports gear company in nude. Mia captured millions of men’s imagination as she swished and swayed on the ramp.

She was on the top of her game when her career spiraled down dramatically. A fashion faux pas when walking on the ramp for Lakme India Fashion Week drew a lot of flak.”

I saw myself walking in a halter gown on the ramp and as the screen moved in slow motion, I saw my dress falling down and with a look that conveyed surprise, shock, confusion and dismay, I quickly took hold of the garment and walked back with as much dignity as I could muster. But those few seconds, when my body was on display for everyone’s viewing, created a fear so deep in my heart that I could never gather enough courage to walk on the ramp ever again.

Though I had done a few ad campaigns in nude I had never felt vulnerable or exposed. The cameras were clicking like crazy as I looked dazed like a deer caught in the headlights. I knew my career was finished. The weeks following the disaster were nerve-wrecking for me. My phone never stopped ringing. Media hounded me everywhere I went. There were women’s organizations holding protests against me, demanding that I be arrested for being a disgrace in the society.

I took solace by locking myself in my room with the curtains drawn and spending all the time drinking and smoking. I did not want to step out of my room. Things reached a new low when one night, very drunk and unable to walk, I fell into a dumpster in a back alley of my house. That night, as I cried inconsolably, I felt sorry for myself. The next morning, just before dawn, I packed a few of my things and enrolled into a detox program in a rehabilitation center.

As the anchor moved on to the other models in her list, I walked unsteadily over to the drinks cabinet. A year back I had given up drinking completely but I badly needed some alcohol within me to calm my frayed nerves.

With the drink in my hand, I moved towards the couch but stopped suddenly as I saw my image in the mirror beside the bar. I inched closer to my reflection and noticed the fine lines that had begun to form near my eyes. When I was a model, I never went outside my room without wearing makeup but now, I rarely wore any makeup.

Did I miss the glamour, the fame, the adulation?

Maybe but being away from the arc lights, in my own secluded space, had given me immense peace and rebuilt my shattered confidence. I was free to roam the streets, free to do whatever my heart wished, without thinking about the paparazzi following me and judging my actions.

The last day at my rehab center, I stood at the gates and pondered over my next steps. Did I really want to return? Did I want to go back to that world where people hugged and air kissed me, but the moment I turned my back, they were ready with a dagger to tear me down?

I had made my decision. I travelled to Dehradun, the place where I had come from, where I had started my journey, the place where I really belonged. I was coming back a full circle.

Yes, I had lost the world of glamour and fame, but in return I had received something more valuable. I had regained my freedom, my peace and my sense of belonging.


  1. A wonderful take on freedom, Prasanna. Often we don't know what is tying us takes a trigger to pull us into the reality....!

  2. A very interesting story about how one's fame can actually create a prison around oneself. Nicely told!

    Beauty Interprets, Expresses, Manifests the Eternal

  3. as long as she i shappy with what she has......

  4. The most important of all:your own freedom and sense of inner peace and happiness.. that's life at its best:-)

  5. It's all the matter of heart.....good for her....she found her freedom....well said

  6. Beautiful post!! Freedom is being yourself without permission! :)

  7. Whoa!! That's so brilliant!! Freedom - well explored and narrated!!

    Participant|AtoZ Challenge 2014
    Smile, it makes (y)our day!

  8. wow Prasanna...I don't know what to say..This post was so full of depth...Good for her no...You have got me with this piece ... I felt for her while reading this..

    Random Thoughts Naba

  9. Prasanna, such a touching story, a look at the glamour world and the vulnerability of the people in it, well done :)

  10. Such a beautifully written tale, Prasanna, filled with learning, wisdom,pain and bouncing back. You had me gripped from the beginning till the very end. Reminded me of the movie 'Fashion'.

  11. such is life... it comes to a full circle. Wonderful story and narration.

  12. Prasanna what is scary is that these things are more real than fiction. But your end was very good, freedom is many things but most definitely peace.


  13. Freedom do have its price! ... Loved this one..

  14. Reminds of the real incident that had happened and Kangana in the movie Fashion !! The last line was amazing :)

  15. Freedom can mean so many different things for people! I'm so glad to read your take on it!

  16. Many people are unhappy in their professions, but they can't leave as they are trapped by various compulsions, mainly financial commitments. Mia's fashion faux pas was a blessing in disguise. Of course, she had a traumatic immediate aftermath.

  17. Good for you. That is a tough choice to make. Thank you for sharing such a personal story.