Happy Ending

Some readers asked me, “Why didn’t you end #AFA (A Forgotten Affair) on a happy note? Why didn’t Sagarika go away with Akash – the man who clearly loves her a lot?”

I truly believe when I tell them that AFA has a very happy ending. The memory-less, confused scared Sagarika emerges stronger. She confronts her abusive husband, challenges him questions him, reunites with her mother and best friend and then chooses what is best for her. To leave with her mother to recuperate fully.

She loses her memory but finds herself. What can be better than that? Sometimes you need to lose everything to recognize what matters most. Sagarika loses her memory to recognize her true identity. A woman. Not a wife or a lover.

Girls since childhood are fed stories of helpless hapless women trapped in a tower by an evil witch, put to sleep by the prick of a needle and a curse only to be rescued by the kiss of Prince charming, a man. They grow up watching Rom-coms believing that there’s a man waiting for them with whom they will live happily ever after. Madhuri Dixit had crooned in Dil to pagal hai; God has made us in pairs. He has left it to us to find the other half that would make us whole. (sic!)

This isn’t a love-bashing post. I’m not anti-love. I’m all for love, roses, chocolates and things that make us gooey and mushy. I just don’t believe that love is all you need. That we are made in pairs and our life’s but a journey to find the missing half (rofl!). Love is the only happy ending; this I don’t believe.

The 1982 released, Arth by Mahesh Bhatt starring Shabana Azmi & Smita Patil; an iconic and path breaking film ahead of its time made the point succintly. In the end, Shabana refuses the love offer by Raj Kiran and also the pleas of reconciliation from her philandering husband. She chooses to be a single mom and walks away happily into the sunset with the little girl.

Gauri Shinde makes the same point with Dear Zindagi. Alia Bhatt doesn’t go back to any of the men she liked or loved. She silences the screaming demons in her mind, makes peace with her parents against whom she’d held a grudge for years and makes an independent film. She isn’t walking into any sunset with any man. Yes, she does meet an interesting guy but the lasting image in the end isn’t a romantic one. Rather it is of a woman who has emerged stronger, confident and fearless. A woman who accomplishes her dream – of directing a film – without the support of a lover.

A woman can walk away into the sunset, alone. That’s not a tragedy. That’s a very happy ending if that’s what the woman chooses. It’s time such perceptions change that the happy ending must have a man alongside the woman.

I do a lot of reading on Twitter; midst all the crazy rantings there’s a sea of engaging reads on Twitter. The headline of the article is what grabbed my attention:

https://www.vagabomb.com/I-Love-Siddharth-but-Im-Still-the-Most-Important-Person-in-My-Life-Vidya-Balansays, actor Vidya Balan. Yes, she’s promoting her latest film Kahani -2 but Balan has never been one to mince words and her choice of films have been anything but hackneyed. “I love Siddharth (her husband) but I’m still the most important person in my life.” This strong message should go out to every woman. Very easily we fall back in step with our dreams, our wishes, allowing the man in our life to be centre stage. We have been very carefully wired to believe that unless there’s a man in the picture, holding our hand, that’s not a happy picture or ending. That the man is the most important person and we are at best second.

Before the world around us changes, we have to change within. Be the change you want to see is oft said. It’s time women believed it and more importantly pass it on to their daughters; the next generation. Choosing to be alone, choosing one’s self isn’t a sad ending. It’s the best ending ever.

If there’s anything better than finding the love of your life, it’s finding yourself.

You can buy A Forgotten Affair on Amazon.

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