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Dolly Thakore. The very name is nostalgic of Doordarshan and blockbuster theatre productions. The newsreader who didn't seem look at any text to 'read' us the news.
Dolly Thakore. The very name is nostalgic of Doordarshan and blockbuster theatre productions. The newsreader who didn’t seem look at any text to ‘read’ us the news.
Dolly Thakore’s memoir, ‘Regrets, None’, changed my outlook on life. Her story taught me the need to face our fears and seize every opportunity that promises a life of our dreams. In her book, Dolly gives a vivid description of the fascinating, entertaining, and sometimes shocking moments she has lived with candour and courage.
It takes guts to disclose our failures with the judgemental world we live in. But Dolly emerges as a true hero as she speaks about men, marriage, and infidelity, being a single mother, and so much more. The book is akin to her personal diary that holds her cherished memories, her secrets, her fears, her laughter, and her tears.
Born in 1943 into a Christian family in Kohan, Peshawar, Dolly Rawson was the eldest among her four siblings. She lived with her grandmother and her Rani aunty who influenced her greatly. Dolly has dedicated several chapters to her childhood and adolescence, sharing her equation with her family and friends, her memories from school and college, her crushes, and her heartbreaks.
Dolly boasts of an army of friends that supported her and provided solace in stressful times. Her support system, Protima Bedi, former editor of Femina Vimla Patil, and actor Valerie Agha, who stood by her when her break-up with Alyque Padamsee shattered her. Through this book, Dolly pays homage to all the women, who’ve influenced her and been her lifeline.
Her migration to London in 1965, at age twenty-two, speaks about her courage. The ability to take risks, handle situations and people with a quick-witted intelligence, and confront life all by herself, helped her create an identity in the new country and connect with many people, several of whom have been her friends for life.
Dolly met Dilip Thakore in London. It wasn’t love at first sight, but spending time together brought the two close. Sadly, their marriage started on a sour note. It failed to give her the stability and the love she craved.
Dolly gives a candid account of her relationship with Alyque Padamsee that started when she was married to Dilip. Theirs was a friendship that blossomed into love and saw them sharing thirteen happy years “without a day’s boredom”.
However, the relationship ended and left Dolly devastated and blaming herself for this failure. She held onto her little son of three years for strength and support. For a single mother, it was a tightrope walk managing home and career and a difficult financial situation. But she took every opportunity that came her way to survive the storm and give her son a good life. I wish she had shared more about her equation with Pearl Padamsee and Sharon Prabhakar post-break-up.
Dolly reminisces about her college days when she started acting in plays, one of which had a shy Amitabh Bachchan in the cast. Her love for theatre blossomed during high school and provided the impetus for her acting career. She shares fond memories of working with the likes of Shyam Benegal, Alyque Padamsee, Gerson Da Cunha, Vinod Pandey, Bharat Dabholkar, Arghya Lahiri (the co-writer of this book), and her son.
Dolly has played multiple roles in her seventy-eight years. She has been a casting director, a columnist, a social activist, worked in advertising and public relations, and acted on stage and in films. But, despite her hectic schedule, her priority was her son and her home, which she managed single-handedly, without domestic help!
As a young girl, who lived in ‘Nehru’s India’, politics influenced her choice of work and saw her involved in various social causes. She believes in equal rights for all, regardless of gender or religion, and is a supporter of women’s issues and the minority.
She has tried to raise awareness about sex determination, dowry deaths, and drought relief. She works tirelessly in her capacity as the National Media Coordinator of Laadli – a campaign for the girl child that honours women achievers in recognition of their work.
Through her book, Dolly inspires us to take risks, deal with fear and do all that we aspire to— “dream up a career, have a child and be a single mother, and take tragedy on the chin… and live a life of honour and integrity…”
Dolly’s words strike a chord. Her truthfulness about her feelings, her relationships, her strengths, and weaknesses, which make her as human as you and me, fills you with awe. The memoir is stupefying in its rawness as it peels away the layers to reveal the amazing woman, Dolly Thakore.
I highly recommend this book for every woman looking for inspiration to live the life of her dreams.
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Image source: TEDx Talks / YouTube and book cover Amazon
With the help of words, I share my life. Words that inspire, words that touch a chord, words that share stories of battles we all fight.
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