India's only true flower-children-couple, Pooja Bedi, in her present avatar as devoted
wife, mother and now poised to becoming a writer, has probably turned out far differently
from what her critics may have imagined a few years back.
As a bright, vivacious
teenager when Pooja Bedi decided to take up films as her career, there was a fair amount
of sniggering and disbelief. After all, both her parents had hung around long enough nd
tried but apart from shocking a moralistic society with their highly unconventional
lifestyle, hadn't really achieved much. It was only after Kabir went abroad and did his
famous Sandokan that he began to be taken seriously. Similarly, it was only after Protima,
now Gauri--after her guru, Odissi maestro, Kelucharan Mohapatra rechristened her--burrowed
deep into southern India and started her unique dance school, Nrityagram, that people
realised that she was built of a different metal altogether.
But while her parents followed the dictates of their own hearts, the young but tough
Pooja fought her own battles in Mumbai. If she lost a few dreams in the process, she took
the loss in her stride. A decade passed and with it, a lifetime of experience--a lukewarm
film career, a few turbulent relationships, the marriage of her father, her own surprise
marriage, a baby, the death of an only brother and finally the death of her mother last
year in a landslide in the Himalayas. Enough ups and downs to make even the sanest go a
Not Pooja Bedi. Determined to play every game that life has dealt her with a go-getter,
sunny attitude, she has bounced back into the news with a new career; that of an author.
There are two books on the anvil. One is on everything you wanted to know about pregnancy
and fitness. The second is a daughter's tribute to her maverick mother. Tentatively
titled, Timepass, the book is based on diaries, letters written to her daughter, and other
writings of Protima written over her entire life.
Says Pooja, "Mom had been writing since 1971. Her memoirs are a reflection of all
that has happened in her life. She speaks of the circumstance surrounding her birth, her
own childhood, her relationships, her children, her friends
everything that has ever
happened in her life is all there in her diaries. From where she started and what she
became. The entries are dated till about six months before her death."
Pooja had always known of the diaries. "In my growing up years, I knew it was
there. I had also glimpsed into them, but have never really read anything. But apart from
her writings, I will also be including excerpts from the letters she has written to me
over the course of my life. Her letters were never ordinary 'how are you-I am fine'
letters. They were almost poetic always giving an insight of where she was at that moment
in her life. Her writings are really beautiful."
Apparently, in a diary entry dated sometime in 1982, Protima had written that she did
not want a normal death. Says Pooja, "Maybe she was clairvoyant. In that entry she
has written that at the end of her life she visualises herself as wearing a monk's robes,
with head shaved and walking in the mountains. That's exactly how she died. She never
wanted a normal death. She always said, how awful it was that a body that you took great
pains to care for and adore throughout your life is shoved into an incinerator and burnt.
She hated crematoriums. She always wanted a dramatic death and she got it."
In her kaleidoscopic life, Protima had met, interacted and often formed bonds with a
number of people, some of whom were celebrities. Will Pooja be using everything her mother
had written? Says Pooja, " No, some of it is controversial. I will be putting in
relationships that are known and have been written and talked about. But I will edit those
that mention people who are married, have families. I don't think it is fair to disrupt
Pooja is now in the process of negotiating with publishers. "Penguin is meeting me
this week", she says excitedly. "They're showing great interest and I'm quite
optimistic about the results. I'm hoping to release the book by October this year."
So why Timepass? She laughs, "That's what my mom would have titled it! My mother
was the most incredible human being I've ever known. While I am doing this work, I feel
her pain, her grief and her happiness. I'm living her life."
Once Timepass is released, Pooja will get back to the other book, 75 % of which is
already complete. Says Pooja, "When I was pregnant, I was bombarded with all kinds of
information. For one, I read everything I could lay my hands on. Secondly a lot of older
relatives and friends filled me in with old wives' tales. Then there are new techniques of
delivery with the advancement of medical sciences. This book is essentially a complete
guide to pregnancy plus the first six months of baby care. It will have just about
everything. From all medical information of vitamins to take, the painkillers you can
safely take, to the new advanced techniques of delivery that you can opt for, to even all
the old wives' tales. The book will also contain 101 recipes that are healthy, nutritious
and easy to make. There's also a special section on exercise and yoga you can safely do
during the nine months. I have also included an important element-how to choose your
doctor-an extremely crucial decision. The book will be in colour with tons of photographs.
I'm planning to call it A Fit Pregnancy and I can promise you that it will be one of those
Pooja plans on releasing A Fit Pregnancy around the end of the year. But with all this
intellectual work happening, has the fun-loving Pooja Bedi of old taken a backseat? One
rarely gets to see her now at parties and social dos-except for the rare appearance she
makes at fundraising shows like the Richard Gere one that happened last year, or at her
husband's designer furniture store, Kondor or at a close buddy's birthday party. The
infectious laughter is back again and Pooja says, "Aaliya takes up too much of my
free time. I do meet up with close friends but really I love the time I spend with
Is it also true that there's a second baby on the way? "Hey, you're the nt.
person who has asked me that! No, despite the strong rumors, I'm not pregnant. Man, my
husband's out one year and four months in a year! I would just love to get pregnant again.
In fact, I'm desperate. But it takes two, you know!" ..
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