What would you do if you lost your only daughter, only 9 years old, to cancer ?Then less than 24 hours later be told heartlessly by your husband that he is seeing your best friend and wants a divorce immediately? These are the life-changing/destroying incidents—they would likely threaten your very will to live.
Yet, when you read filmmaker Arunaraje Patil’s memoirs, Freedom: My Story, you are reminded of a human being’s capacity to survive and succeed against all odds. Her resilience is a source of inspiration for anyone who is struggling. You actually cheer, in the beginning, from the sidelines and slowly Freedom draws you in and you become a character in the book who is on “Team Aruna” doing a jig each time she triumphs and shedding a silent tear each time another adversity suckerpunches her. By now you know that she is a superwoman and nothing can keep her down and she’ll bounce back like a champion prize fighter.
Muhammad Ali on heels anyone???
Aruna was always an achiever—the first female technician from FTII, a critically acclaimed filmmaker, winner of three national awards …the list goes on. And her triumphs are laced with a “can do” spirit that always seems real and achievable to anyone. That perhaps is the beauty of the book—it is a guide to success to anyone who is faced with stumbling blocks in life or grappling with feelings of hopelessness.
In addition, the book gives you a bird’s eye view of Bollywood and even has the guts to discuss the ubiquitous yet invisible casting couch. The description of the casting couch makes you laugh and cry at the same time, much like a number of other aspects of life discussed in Freedom: My Story.
I personally think the title of Aruna’s book is perfect: it describes what it means to fight free of your self-imposed shackles, shortcomings and setbacks. It doesn’t lecture about women’s empowerment, but shows what it looks like through Aruna’s life. It makes you question your own thoughts about right, wrong and above all forgiveness. It inspires you to never lose your sense of humour, adventure and fun. The book will make you want to be a better version of yourself.
Originally published at www.huffingtonpost.in