Reviewed by Kamalika C
Author: Protima Bedi with Pooja Bedi Ebrahim
First Published on: 1999 in Viking by Penguin Books India
ISBN: 978 0 14 028880 3
If you are a bookworm then you must know when you crave for reading, you succumb yourself to read anything. And the same thing unfortunately happened with me.
My online library site was under construction. The book providers were not able to track my requested book list. So they asked me whether they could send me any book available right at their desk, of course they asked my choice of categories. My options were- fiction in English: preferably by Indian writers and recently published. And what they sent to me was the autobiography of Protima Bedi. Seeing the book and the cover picture I wanted to return the book right back. But to my surprise I didn’t do that. I had a faint knowledge about Protima Bedi which was too ignorable to be stored in my memory box. What much more I gathered from that, that I have a kind of apathy towards that lady. I took the book and spend few minutes in dilemma whether I should read it or not. But right at that moment I was craving to read some book, so why not this one!!!!! So I started the book and I finished it too.
I have never read any bold and honest autobiography like this yet. I used the word ‘bold’, because Protima Bedi’s utterly frank declaration of what she was and how she led life was the boldest part of the book. She was the most controversial lady of her age- who had changed her boyfriends almost every day, stripped herself in public, had cohabit relationship with whoever came to her way, led life how she wanted to. In her autobiography she bluntly stated about the depth and detail of her each relationship. Her ‘ open marriage’ with Bollywood star Kabir Bedi and two kids with him were the most cherished and on the same run the most dissatisfactory part of her life. This is a book of a lady who loves to lead her life whimsically, always how she wanted, never care about her family much but always grab the opportunity to gnaw on others. Within her span of life she did achieve what she wanted. She became a model, she became a wife, then a mother of two, she became one of the most hailed Indian Classical Odissi dancers within a short time, and she established Nrityagram (an Odissi dance society). She tried to taste every side of what life may provide. But throughout her whole life she kept on haunting for something what led her to take Sanyas at the end of her life. Once her daughter Pooja Bedi pointed: “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?”(P: 301) And she replied: “I was not running away from anything, I was running towards something.” (P: 301). What is that ‘something’, that even she didn’t understand might be till her death!!!! Her life was quite tragic too. At the beginning of her adolescence, when she was merely 10 years old, she was sexually abused by her relative for several times. That incident may be changed her life to open her arms to taste the forbidden freedom of life to the extent. Even she lost her young son who was suffering from schizophrenia. That incident made her life more aimless. And at the end of her life she met a tragic death too collapsing in a landslide.
I appreciate Pooja Bedi, who accepted how her mother was and proudly compiled the book to publish. Though I read the book in utter disdain, at the same time in the core of my mind I build up a kind of respect for this Protima Bedi too. How a woman could lead life like that and had the boldness to declare it publicly about it and could narrate it so nicely. I pay a respect to the fact that yes somebody has the guts to tell the good and bad stories of one’s life. I appreciated her ‘unflinching honesty’ and some her treasured moments that she shared with her children. But apart from that, I felt a bitter taste after finishing the book. Even after finishing the book I kept on wondering for many days, how one can be like this!!!! Protima Bedi was a weird woman for the world, Protima Bedi was the Best Mom for her children, and Protima Bedi was the daring Lady what she loved to be. But does anybody dare to be like her!!!!!
Published HERE too…