Saturday, March 13, 2010
Do you know Lisa Ray?
Do you remember this face? For those familiar with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's music, she was the face of his really popular album 'Aafreen' - that ethereal beauty walking through the sand dunes of Rajasthan. Some also remember her in what I think were eminently forgettable films. Want instant evidence? A die-hard Bollywood enthusiast like me can't remember any without launching a google search. Oh..just another trivia - She was the Helen of Troyish face that launched the Evita soap in India and also the face of Garden Vareli, if I'm not mistaken. If I am, don't sue me.Right now, that's beside the point. A few months ago, I read about Lisa being diagnosed with a very rare kind of cancer that had no successful cure. My first reaction was, Oh what a tragedy. Years of addiction to the world of Grey's Anatomy, primarily to ogle at McDreamy and McSteamy had given me enough medical trivia to atleast pretend to understand the medical details listed...She was 36 or 37 and struggling to come to terms with her mortality... And somewhere along that time was when I think she started blogging. I remember reading her initial blogs filled with how she came to realise that, the warning signs her body gave her with increased bouts of lethargy and lack of energy as she describes the feeling of her world caving in when she heard the diagnosis. The blog was informative for me, but I put it away with a quick prayer that hope she finds her peace in her last days. Today a friend posted her latest post on her blog on facebook. And I revisted her blog. And what I read there had me in tears, literally. There was one of the prettiest woman laying her vanity bare - making light of it, for she had just been through a stem cell transplant..Her description of how she felt like explaining her bald appearance to a Customs Officer ( to say that Shampoo was proving to be very expensive)deserves a big Wow in my book. No pity me please, No hiding her plight. In fact, I gather from reading her blog that she even made a public appearance, with a wig on...and Indian news junkies would have probably caught Barkha the Barracuda interviewing her...I didn't and I don't really think I want to. But I would like to read this edition of India Todaz that talks about the path breaking cancer treatment that is being tried out on Lisa. To quote Lisa, Someone brings me the India Today. On the cover is an image from my blog. I’m thrilled- and puzzled. This is a surprise. I’ve always wanted to be featured on this cover but somehow the Indian version of Time neglected to let me know. Kinda like your friends organising your Birthday party, in your neighbour’s house. You hear the commotion next door and wonder why you weren’t invited- and isn’t it weird no one’s shown up to wish you on your big day? Infuriatingly endearing. And thanks.Because mostly it strikes me: This is an image that doesn’t manipulate. At least I hope not. Thank you India Today for urging people to see and feel. Illness is alchemy. I thought Lisa was extremely eloquent. She sure caught my attention.I wanted to leave a comment for her, but that just did not feel enough. Maybe it was her last line - Illness is alchemy - that made me write this post. Lisa, I wish that you heal completely from the bottom of my heart. Your blog does your spirit justice - the fight that you give your own disease-ridden cells...And the more people who are made aware of the gritty fight that you are putting on, the better will it be for the Fight Against Cancer. I want to do my two-bit too. And I'd encourage whoever happens to pass by my blog to take a moment to read Lisa Ray's experiences. For once, here is a face that launched a million products sharing her private ordeal in a way few have, with her head held high, choosing not to die in seclusion, but live like a fighter spreading awareness about a disease that is fighting her every inch of the way! A prayer for your health and a toast to your spirit, Lisa!!