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Mind matters

I knew Viveka Babajee for many years and as everyone else who has spoken about her, I too recollect her as being one the most polite, and polished models on the circuit, writes Lara Dutta.

entertainment Updated: Jun 29, 2010 01:43 IST
Lara Dutta
Lara Dutta
Hindustan Times

Lara DuttaIt’s hard for me this week not to remember a truly wonderful person. I knew Viveka Babajee for many years and as everyone else who has spoken about her, I too recollect her as being one the most polite, and polished models on the circuit. Never frivolous or air headed, Viveka always came across as confident and poised.

What is it then that drives someone who seems so together to take such a drastic step? There is so much media speculation about her love life and her lifestyle and a fight she had with her boyfriend the night before she decided to end her life, but who knows what the reality was.

Over the years that I’ve spent as a model and an actress, I’ve come across many young women who have, at times, been prey to depression and loneliness. I want to say this now, the world of glamour is not alienating, especially not the modeling world. Sure there’s competition but there was also camaraderie. Models shared flats and even if you could afford to move out, you ended up meeting other model buddies for meals and a lot through the day. It’s a fraternity and it totally depends on you, like in every other profession, to what extend you want people involved in your life.

I don’t think it’s one isolated incident that pushes someone over the edge. It is a state of mind that builds up over time. Why is it, that in our society, seeking professional help to deal with matters pertaining to the mind, is considered shameful? It becomes coffee table gossip to share in hushed whispers that so and so is seeing a shrink. Today — where success is measured by someone’s bank balance, the car they drive, and the household they have married into — everyone leads a stressful life. More and more men in their late thirties and early forties are having heart attacks. If stress can cause other parts of the body to malfunction and break down, why do we expect the mind not to succumb?

I have seen many high profile people battle anxiety and depression for years but they refuse to get help because they fear what society may say. They don’t want to be termed "crackpots". So, they either fly abroad for treatment, or, if that is not an affordable option, they pop pills and hide themselves away. They draw so far into their own private hell that it becomes difficult to help them. They may appear fun and normal when you meet but when living away from family, without any one who will love you no matter what your state of mind, it takes a lot of courage to open up to a stranger and reveal your true self and hope that they will stick with you through it all.

I don’t know what Viveka’s reality was and I don’t want to add my own two cents. I just want to say that she will be missed and remembered and loved. But, as a society I hope that we’ll be more progressive and encourage family and friends to seek professional help without just saying "don’t worry, everything will be okay", because "okay" might just come too late.

Read more Lara Dutta columns

First Published: Jun 28, 2010 19:07 IST