Dear Kangana, I Miss the Person I Met Ten Years Ago... Love, Tanu
A letter to Kangana Ranaut from Tanuja Trivedi aka Tanu.
I speak my mind, just like you. And today, ten years since we last met, let me do exactly that, and tell you how much I miss the feisty person who tried to “normalise” gender equality, fought the good fight, and took down patriarchy. You were a woman who didn’t judge other women. You understood that it’s normal for a love affair to go askew. I know because you didn’t judge me when I was confused between Raja and Manu.
Let me elaborate and remind you of how things were when we first met, when we rolled and passed joints, not judgements.
You didn’t judge me for rolling a joint or drinking vodka. You knew that I wasn’t trying to compete with men, I was only having some fun because why not? You didn’t judge my clothes or my cleavage, you didn’t call me names, you understood my perfectly imperfect life and let me be. I only have one question - what changed?
I often wonder if you’d accept me today the way you did back in 2011. Like, when I drank a quarter of vodka and took five sleeping pills to avoid a suitor because I loved someone else, who btw was engaged to someone else (Sapna) at that time. You cheered for me then, would you do the same today?
We were both brought up in homes where we were conditioned to believe that marriage, to a man of your family’s choice, is the ultimate goal of any woman’s life. We both knew that our only choice was to rebel and choose a path that makes us happy, by hook or by crook. We both lived by our own rules, made mistakes and learnt from them too. Then why is it, that today you aren’t okay with other women doing the same - why do you have an opinion on everybody’s life when you don’t like anybody having an opinion about yours, Kangana?
Remember that time when Payal was getting married and judged me for not ‘settling’ with one guy and exploring my options. You got me even then.
In hindsight, I can now see that I may not have handled the situation well, toying with Manu’s feelings and Awasthi’s too. I mean, I asked Bhampu (Payal’s brother), who obviously was crushing on me from the second I reached Kapurthala, to take me to the station to meet Manu, a man who was willing to move heaven and earth to marry me, only to tell him that I was getting married to Raju Awasthi. What’s worse? I asked him to stay back for the wedding even though I knew he was hurting. Even when Raja called Manu and invited him to the marriage registrar's office and requested him to get garlands for us, I stood behind Raja, smiling. Others may have called me selfish or sadistic, but you didn’t, you got me.
I made mistakes- I was sometimes silly, sometimes senile, but you applauded my journey still. You didn’t judge me. Then, why are you so quick to judge others and their choices?
I drank straight from a bottle of Old Monk, you didn’t judge me.
I rolled a joint and took a puff, you didn’t make a big deal about it.
When everyone was talking about my ‘lakshan’ and thought ‘ladki haath se nikal gayi hai’, you didn’t label me.
We both know I didn’t fit into this society’s skewed idea of 'sanskaar’ but you still called me a ‘feminist’ because I was just a woman trying to live the life I want to, just like a man is ‘allowed’ to.
All I want to say is, I sometimes miss the old you because now, every time I see you, I only scream - judgemental hai kya? and that’s not how I remember you from our first meeting, ten years ago - you were different, you were a woman who didn’t judge other women.
Tanuja Trivedi aka Tanu
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