“Born to an alcoholic dad, my childhood was an extremely traumatic experience. My mother and myself were left at the mercy of an abusive father who did with us as he pleased. He was a pilot at the post guard who later on began for other private airlines. So growing up in this problematic setting, often ending up bleeding and with bruises, my life has been nothing short of one big hell storm.
I started acting from a very young age while also pursuing classical dance. I started to act in films and slowly moved to television serials and also commercials. And while all the hype about the silver screen is very much real, there is a lot that happens behind the screens that doesn’t get spoken about enough.
I remember horrendous instances of harassment and bullying. I would usually be at the butt of every joke or prank they pulled and the anchors at that point in time, took immense pleasure in putting the other person down in order to earn a laugh from the crowd. Starting to earn from a very young age, I came to understand that the media profession is like a live wire that you should learn to tread carefully; because it is so easy to be manipulated here.
So growing up in such tumultuous circumstances, suffice it to say that I have seen the worst and I started to show symptoms of depression and anxiety early on in my life. However, it was my mother’s untimely passing that pulled the plug on things for me.
Being married off at my mother’s earnest request, I said yes to the most amazing husband a girl could ever ask for at the age of 22. Owing to the fear of leaving her alone with my dad, myself and my husband shifted to a house near my mother’s place. It was a smooth sailing ship and everything seemed to be going well until the time, we lost my mom to suicide.
The events leading up to that moment and everything that came up after that still remain scary and too painful for me. It wouldn’t be until later that I found out from pouring over all of my mother’s journals, how much she had suppressed inside her.
We were like the typical siamese twins. Everything from my bank account number to my clothes was taken care of by her and we did pretty much everything together. And then to have it all suddenly taken away from you was just too much to take. I was left with so much regret and anger and it pushed me into a dark phase in my life. Quitting the silver screens for good, I moved to Birmingham with my husband where, the entire brunt of raising a toddler combined with the cultural shift took a heavy toll on me and I fell into a deep abyss of depression.
When the news of Sushant Singh’s death hit the news, it triggered a lot of those events for me and I decided to speak about my struggle with depression on my Instagram handle. It started to garner a lot of attention from different media channels and this propelled me to begin conversations on different topics from self harm to depression and mental health.
Now with the help of a mental health professional, I have been able to process my unresolved trauma in a healthy manner and I am a much better person for it. Since we once again relocated to Chennai, I have been able to pitch in my time and efforts to different mental health causes and that is how, I began to work with Indu Gopal on Project Kintsugi.
We as a generation have progressed so much with regard to creating an awareness about mental health and the importance for it. But there is still an enormous amount of effort needed to propagate it to the wide masses who have a far more feeble voice than us. There is a survey that talks about the final thoughts of a person contemplating suicide. It goes on to say how, just before taking the leap, they try and see if someone might just come out of the blue to try and convince them to stay on. Had someone been there for my mother, she would have probably been alive today. We have absolutely no idea as to what goes on inside a person unless they openly say it so. So, the least we can do is offer them a safe space to confide and hold them with kindness and compassion. Our world would be a much better place for it, I am sure.”