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I Am Dhanalakshmi, And Not The Villain You Think I Am

Have you watched Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani? If so, you must know me already. I’m Dhanalakshmi Randhawa, Rocky’s grandmother, and the founder of Dhanalakshmi Sweets.

Have you watched Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani? If so, you must know me already. I’m Dhanalakshmi Randhawa, Rocky’s grandmother, and the founder of Dhanalakshmi Sweets.

You must hate me. After all, I was shown as the big bad villain in the film. But every coin has two sides. Allow me to share my version, and then perhaps you can pass judgement on me.

I entered my husband’s home, a starry-eyed bride in my twenties, with dreams of domestic bliss. Despite Kanwalji being distant and my mother-in-law making my life miserable, I never complained.

Money was tight, for my husband could never hold onto a job for long; his world revolved around poetry and dreaming. I wanted to work, but not many women dared to venture out in those days. Kanwalji used to say that words filled the heart. If only they filled stomachs too! 

They said, have a baby, it will make everything right

Our son was born, and I hoped things would get better. In my baby’s eyes, I saw someone love me unconditionally for the first time. My bliss was short-lived. The milk powder packets were empty, and little Tijori’s howls unsettled me. I could starve, but I couldn’t let my child stay hungry!

While my family had denied me an education, I possessed extraordinary culinary skills. My Beeji had shared with me many recipes, including her mouthwatering Motichoor laddoo. I sold my wedding bangle for supplies, and a week later, made my first batch of delectable laddoos. My efforts paid off; my sweets were the talk of the town.

While I basked in my new-found success, I found a letter from Kanwalji that he had quit his job to attend a Kavi Sammelan in Shimla. This wasn’t out of character for him; he would disappear for many days at a time. However, this time when he returned, I knew that something had changed. I heard him chant another woman’s name in his sleep.


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I was independent now. I could support Kanwalji and his writing dreams, but he seemed to have other plans; plans that did not include me. The threads binding us were flimsy, but they seemed to have snapped permanently.

And found a new role: caregiver

One day, lost in thought, my husband slipped down the stairs and fell. My heart stopped. This man, the father of my child, the one I loved, lay helpless, slipping in and out of consciousness, confined to a wheelchair. I took care of him day and night. I bathed him, nursed him, and gave him his food and medicines.

All this took a toll on me; I had barely four hours of sleep every night, a young toddler to take care of, and a laddoo business that ensured we had something to eat and a roof over our heads. Do you know how stressful it is to be the primary caregiver?

No one asked if I was doing OK. I wasn’t, yet, I didn’t have a chance to be weak.

When Tijori wanted to play with his Papa, I had to take him away. I couldn’t leave a toddler with someone who was incapable of taking care of a child. My work was in the kitchen; the laddoos wouldn’t make themselves.

I would tie my baby around my body in a sling and spend hours in the kitchen, ignoring my weary limbs and my aching arms. I couldn’t give up, for my family’s sake. Years later, Tijori would accuse me of alienating him from his father. What could I say?

Work was hard. I was a young woman with a sick husband. My suppliers leered at me. The competition was cut-throat. In business, vulnerability is a sign of weakness. I persisted, I grew, and finally, the Gods took pity on me. What I lost in love, I gained in business.

I pushed Tijori; I wanted him to be successful, so he would never have to worry about his next meal. Was I guilty of forcing my ambitions on him? Perhaps. But given my circumstances, can you blame me?

Why didn’t I divorce?

The women of today wonder why I couldn’t have divorced Kanwalji and moved on. But I could not abandon my husband; he was fully dependent on me. What kind of person would I be if I discarded my husband when he was helpless?

I valued my marriage vows. In sickness and health.

The years flew by. Tijori was an adult now. Every time he won Businessman of the Year, my heart swelled with joy. I chose a lovely girl for him; Poonam.

My insecurities soon reared an ugly head. My son was the only thing that worked well for me. I was afraid that Poonam would take him away; just like Jamini had done to my husband. And here, I made my first mistake. I donned an iron fist, stifling Poonam. 

Years later, Gayathri and Rocky were born, and I was at peace. I may have had a failed marriage, but I had raised a lovely brood; one that I would protect at any cost. I adopted the same level of strictness with my grandchildren as with my son and his wife. The lines between fear and respect blurred.

And then, one day, something devastating happened. At a public function, my wheelchair-bound husband kissed a random woman. He, who never even held my hand or remembered my name, was approaching strangers!

He called aloud a name; Jamini. My rival had returned.

I was crushed but refused to show emotion. People have only taken advantage of me when I’ve displayed the slightest feelings. It is better to be guarded, is it not? After all these years, Kanwalji, did not remember me, his caregiver, and the mother of his child.

What was I to him?

They say times have changed. Have they? The gossip columns had a field day. They ran ‘Pati, Patni, Aur Woh’ stories. Just like that, overnight, my marital failure overshadowed my entrepreneurial success. 

Things got worse when Rocky, the grandson, I so lovingly nurtured and raised, made it his life’s mission to bring Jamini to Kanwalji, with no regard for my feelings. My husband acted like a lovelorn teenager, breaking my heart further. A lot happened since then, and I have learned my lessons.

Rani is braver

Rani is perfect for Rocky; I hope their life is filled with love and laughter. Do you know the real reason I do not like her?

It is not because she is brave, or because she challenges the status quo. In fact, I see shades of me in her. My main reason is because she is Jamini’s granddaughter. When I see her, I am reminded of Jamini and a love that I could never have; a love that should have been rightfully mine.

And it hurts.

I will accept my flaws and do better

I’ve made mistakes; my biggest is trying to compensate for the lacuna that my husband created in my life. But then, love cannot be forced. I see that now. I regret denying opportunities to the women of my house; it was only to protect all that I had so carefully built.

Likewise, I will encourage Poonam to follow her singing career and support Gayatri’s financial career aspirations. If Rocky wants to dance, so be it. I will reinvent myself and share all the knowledge I’ve gained over the years.

I will accept all the invitations to be a guest speaker at the IIMs and turn up for TED talks. Furthermore, I’ve been a fighter all my life, and this will not pull me down. Additionally, I’ll mend my bridges and start from the beginning—like how I created that first laddoo, bit by bit. Not only that, but I’ve started from scratch once, and I will do it again.

The world will know Dhanalakshmi Randhawa, not as a scorned woman, but as a businesswoman extraordinaire, and the loving matriarch of her family. Perhaps, one day, history will remember women for what they achieved, and not by how they were treated by the men in their lives.

Author’s note:

This is a fan-fiction based on the film Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani and is based on the character played by veteran actress Jaya Bachchan ji.

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Image source: edited on CanvaPro

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About the Author

Lalitha Ramanathan

Lalitha is a blogger and a dreamer. Her career is in finance, but writing is her way to unwind! Her little one is the center of her Universe. read more...

37 Posts | 53,335 Views

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