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Speaking openly about her life, her choices, and her challenges, Sushmita Sen comes across as a very accessible woman just like you and me, despite her celebrity status.
With the internet at our disposal every second of every day, it’s super easy to see and hear comments and opinions by celebrities. However it’s rare to listen to an interview of a Bollywood actor that makes one feel so much – that too in a 45 minute span.
One such person is Sushmita Sen. A name that makes one proud to be a woman as she embodies qualities and lives a life that we, women as a collective, aspire to in our individual lives.
She recently gave an interview to Rajeev Masand on his show ‘Women We Love’
Hearing her share her story makes one go through a whirlwind of emotions – from joy to hearing her speak so eloquently, to compassion when she talks about her children, excitement upon hearing her talk of being in love and strength when you hear her describe her personal ordeal over the last few years.
Sushmita spoke about winning the coveted Miss Universe title at 1994 and how it changed her life. She further spoke of an incident not known to most – when her passport had been misplaced just before she had to leave for the Pageant.
She talks of how most people tried to dissuade her and deter her from this and instead told her to go for the Miss World title. She mentions how she refused to give up the opportunity she had been presented as she felt it was rightfully hers – she deserved it and had worked hard for it.
It’s something that we as women must remind ourselves of, just as she did, that we must not give up when every fibre of our being believes that the opportunity in front of us is ours and ours alone. Look how that one resolve changed the course of her journey!
One of the most poignant things she spoke of in the interview was when she spoke of having adopted a girl at 24 and then another girl 10 years ago.
“I always wanted to be a mother. Being a mother is a calling that should not be confused with having a baby,” she said.
That one sentence speaks volumes. Society has conditioned us women, more so Indian women, to believe that we must bear children. How many women must there be who ended up having children but did not want to be a mother? Who perhaps still consider it more an obligation and an item checked off life’s to-do list? How many women have had to ‘prove’ their worthiness as being female by carrying a child for 9 months when they weren’t ready for it?
And that’s just what she talks of – how the need to be a nurturer led her to making this decision twice. A need that stemmed from a desire to provide and take care of a life – not necessarily create that same life in her womb. The honesty with which she spoke of her decision to adopt reminded me of a previous statement by her when she said – “It was easy for me because I chose them. Now I am spending the rest of my life ensuring they choose me back.”
Having had so much of her life in the public eye, it was surprising to hear that she had suffered from a severe physical ailment for almost 2 years, unknown to most. She spoke of how she had to be on medication to keep her organs from failing and to keep her strength up. All the while having to be there for her two daughters as a single mother.
She spoke of how she had immense gratitude for the people both in India and abroad who had helped her during this time. Watching her talk about a time she had to be on heavy medication followed by receiving positive news on her condition, yet having to deal with another struggle, withdrawl, shows just how much one goes through in their life irrespective of how famous or successful.
All of us as human beings go through trying times which of course we don’t publish on social media or talk about candidly, however what gets us through that is the determination to not give up and not to let ones light be dimmed. It’s what Sushmita Sen said got her through that time – the unwillingness to give up on life and living life on her term.
Her openness about her personal life is what makes her so endearing as a woman and a role model to many. In a country where women are taught to be coy about their desires and partners, here’s a woman who happily about being in love and respecting her relationship by talking about it.
Defying norms of an age gap between her man and herself, his acceptance of her children and vice versa and basking in happiness, she embodies being true to herself and living her best life.
There are so many reasons to love the woman she is but there’s one thing she says during the interview which captures all that she is and more – “I told my girls that nobody has a say in your wellbeing but me. But does that mean me sacrificing my life to be your mom? That’s not going to happen.”
An individual, a true woman. No wonder she’s a woman we love to love!
Image source: YouTube
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