Sunday, August 11, 2013

Timepass:the memoirs of Protima Bedi

Just finished reading Timepass:the memoirs of Protima Bedi. I am really confused on where to begin with! Anyways, I loved the name "Timepass". It implies that we all are here in this world to do timepass in our own ways.True!

So, this book is completely about Protima bedi: wife of Kabir Bedi and one of the most famous of modern Indian classical dancers (of the Odissi style). This book has really jolted me out of so many misconceptions about life, with such a forceful thrust!

Before reading this book, I had come across many things about Protima Bedi: the famous and the obvious being the one where she apparently ran nude on a beach in Mumbai!!! As per this book, she was at Anjuna beach in Goa with hippies and everybody was in the same condition and so was she! Somebody took her pics there and made up the Mumbai story. And what else, as usual, she was given the tag of being crazy!

Let me brief you about this lady's character first:
- A rebel
- Insurgent
- Audacious
- Untamable
- Passionate to do things her way
- Honest
- Intrepid
- Bold enough to challenge the conventional thoughts/ways of our society
- Someone who did not stop living her life her way because of anyone: her parents, her husband, her lovers and even, her children
- Clearly who was wild enough to get labeled as 'crazy' from this society

Little about her life:

- Had a disturbed childhood because her family was kind of 'dysfunctional'. But I guess, no one has a perfect childhood. Everyone faces one or the other issues in the childhood. Anyways, she was ignored as a child. The weird thing is she herself further created a 'dysfunctional' family.What an irony!
- Had been a victim of child abuse!
- Was a rebel from childhood itself and yes, no need to mention she became a pain for her parents
- Gave complete liberty to her sexuality once it sprouted
- Slept with countless men. Even had friends in benefit
- Turned to modeling. Off course, against her parents wishes
- Had a live-in with Kabir Bedi after running away from home, continued to sleep with other men
- Married Kabir bedi-> continued to sleep with other men-> he had an affair with Parveen Babi and others, with complete knowledge to Parotima-> They both kept on sleeping with others-> finally one day they got divorced-> she asked for almost no alimony
- Her children were to remain with her
- She continued sleeping with others
- She kept on searching for something to sothe her excitement, something to channelize her energy and something that could be meaningful and strong enough (a reason stronger than her own children!) to give a purpose to her living.
- This search ended, when she met her guru Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra and fell in love with the Odissi style of classical Indian dancing
- Became one of the most acclaimed Indian Classical Odissi dancers within surprisingly  a very short time
- Raised a very unusual, diverse and exceptional dancing school, Nrityagram (with lot of difficulties) teaching multiple dancing disciplines and made it into a premier institution
- Paid no attention to the feelings of families when she slept with the man of the house
- And astonishingly,  along the way, doing all this, she raised 2 kids, a girl and a boy. Sadly, the boy Siddharth became schizophrenic as a youngster and committed suicide at the age of 26
- Took Sanyas (Off course, not exactly in the traditional way)
- Died in a landslide in the arms of the Himalayas while on a pilgrimage. The body was never recovered and Pooja Bedi mentioned in the book that her mother always wanted to die in the arms of the nature

My Take:

Let me begin with mentioning that I loved the book: not for its uniqueness or its probity or its boldness but just because of this lady who had so much audacity, courage to reveal such things/secrets about her to the world that others spend lifetime to hide and conceal.

Its beautiful, emotional, different, unique and yes, insane. This lady has lived many lifetimes in just one lifetime! Was fearless of everything. So bluntly, she has mentioned each and everything about her life in this book: her affairs (with the names: few famous ones!), her feelings, her fickle mindedness, her search for the perfect man, the 'n' no of times she had fallen in love.

I do not say that she was a perfect lady. I know this piece is not 'her' review, its her book's review. But her character is so strong that I really can't stop myself from mentioning few things about her!

She was no doubt amazing and a terrific woman, but then nobody is perfect and the same implies to her. She had her own share of wrongs. Like: She was extremely hurt when Kabir left her for Parveen, she even goes off to an extent of saying "Parveen was getting what she deserved" when in a family function of Kabir, Parveen was ignored. Why? because Parveen broke her home... But Protima forgot to imply the same thing on herself. For her, her men were her love or vice-verse and everything was fair in love (lets remove 'war' from here)

I was really aghast to know the way she had raised her children. They were sent to a boarding school at a very young age and she was busy in finding her 'purpose' in life and sleeping with other men.
Nothing wrong with that. I just felt bad for the 2 poor little souls. Yes, its been mentioned in the book as well: that she regreted a lot about it. A lot!

Apart from these little things, I think this lady was tremendous and full of energy. She was completely different from what people expect a lady to be. I believe now, every woman possesses a Protima inside her. The only difference is we, normal women are just too much scared of the norms laid by the society and Protima wasn't. She never had any qualms of doing things her own way. Passionate about whatever she did: Dance, building Nityagram from just a mere piece of land in the suburbs of Bangalore. Extremely honest. I salute her spirit and also, Pooja Bedi's who had been a part of her throughout this journey.

She once asked her mother, “Why are you always running away? You ran away from your mother and father, you ran away from your husband, then you ran away from us, your children, and now you’re running away to Nrityagram. Why?” And she happened to run away from Nrityagram too.

The most emotional part/ chapter of the book is "my flesh and blood", where the painful journey of her son Siddharth has been mentioned. Your heart just goes off for the mother who sees her son suffering but is just helpless. Hats off to her and to the way she supported her son in his journey of pain
Here is her son's suicide note! Obviously, I have no words, nothing to say. Its just something to feel...
                  ______________________________________________________________
Well, this is it.

Please don’t feel any ‘guilt’ at this. Its my way of taking control and opting out and, strange as it may seem, I’m going happy, not sad.

I did not get to explore the other side. If there is a rebirth, I hope I come back with the faculties to be a technical genius. The times that we live in are so exciting.

I’m sure there’ll be some anger on your sides…but I hope it passes soon.

Booie, keep smiling…huska huska huska…good luck with the baby.

Mum, I love you the most of all…big kisses on your fat cheeks…please don’t be angry.

Love to all.

Siddharth
Technicalities:
There’s a check for $1,000 for death-related expenses.

I don’t want to be buried in India-bury me here, cremate me here or cremate me in India but don’t bury me in India. Something in my sensibility doesn’t want my body to be lying in India.

             ______________________________________________________________

You should definitely read this one: It gives you a different prospective towards life and this is by far one of the best biographies I have read or heard about. Its honest: what else you need!

Cheers!

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