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A thousand thoughts that cross my mind

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Events. Encounters. Life - Meeting Zeenat Aman

Zeenat Aman arrives at TIA

Ahhh…. Finally, here I am updating my blog after soooooo long. Feels good. I have so many things to tell, but so less time to share it all in.

There was the Fashion Gala event, then the classic diamond event, then the Dharan fashion show event- ‘ life isn’t made up of big, life changing events, it is made up of small, special moments’ once said a wise head–well, not for me.   For this past month, life for me has only been about BIG events snowballing one after the other, so much so that I was in a little bit of shock today afternoon when I realised that I had finished all my tasks and actually had free time in my hands.

But hey! Not complaining. Not complaining at all. After all, I willingly chose to be a part of all those events, and I like to believe that the busier I am the more alert my mind and body is. Because you know, well like almost everybody , I have too been in that side of my life where I used to spend entire days infront of the TV watching back to back sitcoms, refreshing the facebook home button every minute for fresh updates, piggin out on junk food- ahh.. enjoyed those times too.

But now here I am in an entirely opposite spectrum of my life where everyday it is work , work , work , meeting new people, doing new things, writing , writing, working , working…. And this has its own share of enjoyment too.

And before I drift off to other topics than which I intended to write about today, let me cut the chase to what I wanted to share today, right away.

Today, I want to talk about the very beautiful Zeenat Aman.
Miss Zeenat Aman and I were stuck in a vehicle for almost half an hour- all alone. And this is how it all happened.

I wanted to bag an exclusive interview with Miss Aman and had a few talks with the organiser- Classic Diamond to hook me up a meeting with her. They offered that I accompany them to the airport to pick Miss Aman and the gang of 10 Indian models , and I hopped onboard right away.
Zeenat Aman was the first one to be cleared of her baggage claims and she was escorted to a big car and I accompanied her along. Until the organisers got the entire team India cleared off from their airport duties, me and Miss Aman remained in the car, chatting.

When I was a kid, Zeenat Aman was one actress from Bollywood that seemed different. She looked modern, bold and oh so beautiful. And now here she was beside me, and I felt a sense of intimidation casting over me.

I looked at her face but she would quickly look away. When I researched about Miss Aman in the internet, there were various news covered on how she damaged her one eye ( I think it was the left one). It looked smaller and a little disoriented than the other one, indeed.
I read stories that said, she was hit by her abusive husband and another reported that when she had an affair with the already married actor Sanjay Khan- his wife caught both of them in a hotel lobby where the distressed wife thrashed a chair against Miss Aman’s face. One source even hinted that she might have been beaten up by her own son when she was drunk.

My doubt on her son hitting her soon cleared off though. When I told her I was 25 years old, she was instantly excited to tell me that her son too is 25 years old. Her younger son is 22 and she told me how close all three of them were. ‘ I single handedly raised my both sons you know. Their father died 15 years ago. We are more like friends than parents and children’ she told me with a hint of a warm smile-  reminiscing about her sons, perhaps.

Here, I am just going to copy paste the interview that I wrote of her which was published in 19th September issue of The Himalayan Times. Do keep reading after that to know what happened in the day of the event where Zeenat Aman walked as the show stopper for the jewellery fashion show.   

                                                               A Diva Forever

Zeenat Aman sashayed into town Thursday afternoon and Samriddhi Rai caught the timeless beauty for a quick heart-to-heart session.

“Beauty, lies not in the face but in the light of the heart” goes a famous saying and one can’t help but identify the legendary Zeenat Aman as a living example of the saying. The bollywood sex symbol of the 70’s still turns heads after all these years and the testimony stood true when the excitement in the air escalated as soon as people spotted her at the arrival gate in Tribhuwan International Airport. “Hindi film ko heroni Zeenat Aman akoraichha,” gushes the crowd as they hurriedly reach out for their phone cameras and start clicking her pictures away. And in between all the hiatus, I am introduced to her; she reaches out for a handshake that is firm yet kind. Her gaze fixed on mine she warmly smiles and I see the beauty that has people spellbound for decades. As we wait for the rest of the team to clear out from their baggage claims, I acquaint her to my inquisitive side. Excerpts:  

When was the last time you visited Nepal?
It wasn’t too long ago. I visit Nepal quite often with my family. We love to come here for quick vacations from time to time.

How does it feel to be back?
Ahh…feels great. Nepal holds a very special place in my life. It was after my movie Hare Rama Hare Krishna that was shot in Kathmandu that my career in bollywood took an upward spiral. So many memories I have of this place. I am just loving the fact that I am back here.  

You’ve been a sensual diva of your time and yet after several decades, people continue to associate you with glamour factor and here you are walking as a showstopper for a fashion show? How does that feel?
I feel deeply honoured more than anything. And in a way it feels like I have met a full circle in my career. I mean, I started out as a model, then went on to become a beauty queen, then came bollywood and here I am yet again taking up assignments in modeling- walking as the showstopper. All in all, feels amazing.

In many interviews that you’ve given you’ve mentioned that you feel sad about the fact that you were always identified as a sex symbol. Is that true?
Yes, it may be true. People started noticing me for my “allure factor” and because that factor worked for me and for the movies I worked for, I kind of got stuck to just that genre of roles. So in a way I do believe that my sexy bracket sort of hindered the true potential of the actress inside of me. But hey, no regrets. It was not really a conscious decision to try and become Bollywood’s first sex symbol but if I did become one, then so be it.

How was it living with the glam doll tag through out your whole life? Did your two sons cope well with it?
It took me a while but I did come in terms with the fact that perhaps people and the society shall forever continue to see me as glam babe. Regarding my sons, they always really saw me as their mum and nothing else. We’re pretty tight- my sons and I. After all, I have been single handedly raising them after the death of their father 15 years ago.

How has your journey as a bollywood actress and most importantly as a woman in this world? If there are any words of wisdom you’d like to pass on to young women reading this right now, what would it be?
Women we’re strong, both mentally and physically. We are nurturing creatures, kind and soft but when situation calls us to be tough, we are that too. And physically if you ask me if we’re the stronger sex and may I just tell that men would never be able to give birth; to withstand that kind of excruciating pain- never. So don’t let the society or its norms restrain you in any way, be yourself, be confident and believe in yourself and believe that you’re strong is the best advice I can give to any woman reading this.   
Are you content with your life? If you had the power to go back and change a few sequences of your life, would you do it?
I am very happy where I am right now. All experiences- bitter and sweet, have taught me and moulded me to become the person that I am today. Life is a beautiful journey and I have learnt and cherished all the moments as I moved forward. I live my life with no regrets.

You’re celebrating your birthday soon, come November. Any birthday plans yet?
None in specific, but like all my birthdays it shall too be celebrated in the company of my loved ones with a feeling of gratitude for all things god and the universe has kind enough to give to me.

You have a soft corner for animal rights we hear, and therefore your active involvement in animal welfare projects…
You see, we share this planet with all kinds of animals and we should respect their existence. They cannot talk or convey what they feel, therefore being the higher kind, being humans, I feel that it is our duty to look after them.

What are the other projects that you’re currently busy with back home?
Well I keep traveling a lot, either its for my work or for leisure. Currently, I am also going through a few movie scripts and reviewing them. So yes, movies are definitely on the cards, I just don’t know which one yet.

How excited are you to walk for the Classic Diamond Jewelry Fashion Show? Do you happen to believe that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, well…like the rest of the womankind?
You bet I am excited. I am really looking forward to seeing their collection and hope to pick some up if I like them. I am also excited to see and greet the Nepali audience. And yes its no surprise that I love diamonds. I shop for them whenever possible.

Nepalis still remember you as Janice- the beautiful hippie in the movie Hare Rama Hare Krishna filmed in Kathmandu; and you say that it was a pivotal project of your career. So would it be okay to say that Nepal is a lucky place for you?
Ahh.. I guess it is lucky for me yes! (laughs) It was after that movie that I truly became a “star”.

Alrite then, here is hoping that your project in Kathmandu this time around too, proves to be as lucky for you. Any last messages for your Nepali fans you’d like to share then?
Just that, I am very happy to be back in this warm and friendly place and cant wait to walk in the ramp and greet you all. Nepal is very close to my heart and it feels nice to know that Nepalis continue to have affinity for me even after all these years. I have nothing but a huge thankyou to give to you all. See you at the show!

In case you didn’t know already…
Zeenat Aman was a journalist for Femina magazine before she began career in Bollywood.
She was crowned Miss India Asia Pacific in the year 1970.
She got the role of Janice in Hare Rama Hare Krishna as the last-minute replacement of another actress who refused to play Dev Anand’s sister not considering the importance of the character.

Doesn’t her grounded nature and that comforting kindness just shine through when you read her answers? I felt the same too. I was a bit nervous, because I had never really interviewed a celebrity before, but she made things so easy. And a celebrity she was in every right- if anything, her beauty was celebrated by millions of people all through her youth, and she continues to emanate this beautiful personality that deserves continued celebration.
 I have always been really fond of this quote ever since I came across it in the 10th grade. It read ‘ Beautiful young people are accidents of nature; beautiful old people- works of art’. Didn’t know what it really meant then, just thought it was so cool that I kept writing the line across the top part of our classroom black-board, as these kind of inspirational quotes were to be written everyday as per our classroom rules.

 My class mates might remember how annoyingly and repeatedly I kept writing this same line over and over again, everyday lol. Sorry , girls! But my point is, with time I have come to realise the true meaning of the saying. And sitting there talking to Zeenat Aman, I realised how truly my favourite quote resonated with this amazing human being sitting beside me. She was indeed, a true work of art. Kind and humble even with a ginormous fame surrounding her - there is a lot to be learnt by other ‘celebrities’ from Zeenat Aman.

Actually what follows next, is what I hoped to publish later as a part 2 of this story, but knowing me – I guess I should all complete it right now, when I have the time.

I was too, a part of the Classic Diamond fashion show, walking as one of the…. ahem ‘celebrity’ models haha. Although, hardly a celebrity, I just agreed to do it because I would get to walk wearing the most beautiful and mind you some ‘expensive’ jewelleries- who knows if I ever get to a place in life where I can actually purchase them and wear it eh? Lol …. And also, I am always open to new experiences in life. I believe it enriches the person inside of me, so I said YES to the first request the organisers put across. I signed up to walk as a model for the very first time.
Posing for a picture with a nice fellow I dont know :) and also I loved the necklace I was wearing!

Then we were acquainted to the Indian models, they were all tall and beautiful. But not all of them…not beautiful from inside. One girl in particular was very rude. When we were practising our sequence, she actually held me from behind, dragged me around to ‘show’ me how its done.  I was so offended. Till today, I am torn between my then choice to remain calm and my unfulfilled gut impulse to yell at her to back off. At the end of the day though, I am glad I chose the high road; but a bunch of those models were pretty smart asses. I am sorry to use that word, but they were.

And because of some tussles between the Nepali make up artist and the Indian models in the first year of the same show, this year the organisers had flown in a hair dresser and a make up artist from India. Oh well, this time it was perhaps the Nepali girls who were side-lined, because of it.

I was actually a little hurt when I felt that the hairdresser and the make up artist was giving more preference and extra care to the Indian models than us- I will speak for myself and just share my part of the story. I was in line to get my hair done when this hair dresser lady chose to first attend to an Indian model who had only just popped in when I had been waiting for quite sometime. Unfair right!

But please, I say please…. Don’t perceive anything I am saying here as a base to wage a racial war against India. It often happens I understand. But not all of them were bad, is what I am saying. There were some Indian models who were very sweet and taught us a few tricks of the trade too. So you see it’s a few rotten potatoes that makes the whole batch look spoilt. Please review what I am writing, wisely.

But yes when I was sidelined when doing my hair and make up and the fact that the make up artist didn’t feel odd to distribute already used eyelashes to be used by us for the show… and other stuff like these that I was hurt and felt racial discrimination in my own homeland. Afterall we were the host, and Nepalis play great hosts we all know about that. Why couldn’t they be pleasant guests too? Some of the models were acting like ‘celebrities’ when a bigger celebrity we know of that is Zeenat Aman wasn’t acting like one at all and was co-operative and nice. 

‘With attitudes as rotten as they had, it is no wonder some of the girls never made the cut as a famous model in their country’ I thought to myself. A bit evil was the thought- sure, but that is how disturbed I was feeling at that time.
Next day of the show, I did most of my own make up, brought my own lashes, didn’t care if any ‘professional’ would help me out, when I can take care of myself pretty , darn good.

I realised that in life and in this world, we keep coming across situations where people may try to take advantage of you, push you around, bully you… the only thing we are required to do at that time is stand up for ourselves and believe that we’re no less special than any other person. If I had yelled at that Indian Model  in front of everyone when she tried to play the hero, there were chances that after that none of those models would try to act primadonna infront of the rest of us; but knowing them, there was also a good chance that they became even more cattier and rage a war against all of our girls. 

So, you see more often than not, it is wiser to take the high road- be calm and be the bigger person. And when time comes, and it definitely shall – where you’re the big shot surrounded by under-dogs, just be nice to them, be nice to all. The only purpose of our life as I mentioned in my previous blog ‘ is to evolve through this lifetime and many others to be a good human being.’ Just be as good and as nice as you can be- the worlds seems a lot more beautiful then.

 All in all, I  had an enjoyable experience sharing the ramp with the Indian models, smiling away as I walked for the 700 plus audience in attendance, chatted up some more with the very friendly miss zeenat aman backstage – and just like that earned some brand new experiences for myself which I shall cherish for the rest of my life.

Below are some pictures from the show. Hope to post a bunch of them in my facebook , soon enough. Thankyou for reading folks, I know it was very very long so kudos to you if you survived all the way through my last sentence here. Until I update again, wish you all a great life and greater life experiences ahead. Cheerio!

With the Nepali models- Miss Aman :) 
Fans crowding Zeenat Aman for a picture

From left- thats me , Preena, Pallavi di and Bandana

Getting ready to rumble....

From left thats my pal Saurav, then theres me, then theres Yachnit and Rehan Shah who choreographed the classic diamond jewelry fashion show

Cant stop smiling... :)

With pretty didis left and right 

Here comes pictures from the Dharan fashion show. Jharana Bajracharya is another celebrity who is so down to earth, sweet and nice. And might i add, a woman of intelligence and profound wisdom :)

Malina is missing here... how we had a blast in this show

I sang in the show by the way ... the song was WE FOUND LOVE IN A HOPELESS PLACE by RIHANNA lol 

Check me out without make up ;)
Hope you enjoyed the pics, will be uploading them all in my facebook too .... sooonish <3


  1. Is any there any chance u would be uploading the video of ur performance, Di? song is one of my fav. Judging by the pic, looks like u rocked it.


    1. Hey Antee , its so nice to see you here. And thankyou for posting a comment :) and I dont think any video was taken but shall soon be uploading my other videos of performing songs. Hope youve been well, take care.. mucho love xoxo

  2. cool...so cool of u...wish nepal could live without indians... nevertheless dum maro dum...seems chill out

    1. Lol thankyou for your comment, made me smile for a while. Take care :)