A few days ago, Bombay Times carried an interview of the Indian rapper Yo Yo Honey Singh. It was a tell-all about his disappearance from the public glare for around 18 months; a period during which he battled a very frightening monster called Bi-polar Disorder. The state of mind he described reminded me of what I have seen a dear one go through. A person very close to me suffers from the illness, and I have been a witness to the struggle – his and ours.
We had never heard the name, or known someone who suffered from the illness. So, it was akin to solving a jigsaw puzzle where the pieces just wouldn’t fit! Our psychiatrist did explain it in detail and so did my counsellor, but, ultimately, we were on our own. We didn’t have anyone coming up to offer solace, or assure us that this wasn’t the end.
At times, as I sat in the hospital lounge, I would look around trying to find someone who was in a similar predicament as I; on whose shoulder I could cry and from whom I could hear some words of hope. But, alas, I found none! It happens to be an illness – like every other mental illness – which people would rather conceal from outsiders. There aren’t any visible symptoms for the world to make out any difference in the patient. And, divulging such information might lead to who-knows-what! Finding oneself all alone at such a juncture in life can be devastating, to say the least.
Coming back to Mr. Honey Singh, I know the amount of courage it takes to reveal such private (and delicate) information to the world, especially, if one belongs to the glamorous world of films and music. I can only imagine the number of people in this glitzy world, who may be actually suffering from this, or some other illness, but who lack the nerve to come out and speak about their travails! The dark periods of the mind-boggling highs and lows that one goes through thanks to bi-polar, can be unnerving. And, if one belongs to such a world, where one is always portrayed as an epitome of perfection, then revealing such facts could be detrimental to not only their image, but also to their career. But, here is Honey Singh, who has admitted to the world the truth about his life and come out a winner in many ways!
Some time ago, Deepika Padukone had revealed the bout of depression that she had been through. The hopelessness and the despair she spoke about, made her a hero to many a sufferer in our midst. An actress of her calibre, coming all out about such a delicate issue was a brave decision indeed! And, now we hear about Honey Singh’s struggle with bi-polar disorder. Unsurprisingly, these are only two such brave-hearts, who have opened up their wounds for the world to see; people, who are otherwise expected to be flawless entities!
However, as opposed to the denizens of our Indian film industry, the stars of Hollywood seem to have no such inhibitions in speaking about the trials they suffer, vis-a-vis their health issues. We know a greater number of Hollywood actors who suffer from bi-polar disorder or depression than we do of our Bollywood actors. Maybe, over there they are treated like normal human beings, whilst our actors are revered as gods! Why isn’t it accepted that these are illnesses that could strike anybody, irrespective of social standing, religion or gender? Why don’t we all – including our screen idols – accept that they are after all mere mortals, who are prone to maladies of any and every kind? Why don’t we just accept it and live, and let live?
I think the fact that we deify them is the reason they fear coming out of the closets they hide their imperfections in. Wouldn’t their acceptance of themselves, and openness about their problems make them more real in our eyes? The confessions these two brave hearts have made may actually give strength to many a troubled soul who suffer behind closed doors, away from prying eyes. Frankly, I have no knowledge about the kind of music he makes, but, Honey Singh’s story of the battle he has fought could surely motivate others like him. And, so could Deepika’s story – she, who reigns the box-office today!
We all need heroes in our lives, to look up to, to draw inspiration from. And, who better than those who have the guts to reveal their true selves, their trials and tribulations, like Dippy and Yo Yo? They would definitely make better heroes than those who flaunt attributes which are as artificial as the smiles that adorn their faces on the giant posters along the streets! If the stories of these two exceptional beings are able to inspire even a handful few, it would be an achievement in the truest sense for these celebrities, isn’t it?
A big ‘Thank you’ to you, Deepika and Honey Singh! May your tribe increase!