DNA (April 9, 2017)

In Asha Parekh: The Hit Girl —An Autobiography written with Khalid Mohamed, the actress has spoken of many issues including her relationships and career. Certain chapters are also dedicated to her depression and how she dealt with it. In this excerpt she talks about the depression she went through and how Waheeda Rahman talked her out of committing suicide. The book will be launched tomorrow by Salman Khan.

We bring you an exclusive extract from the book...

“Overcome by fatigue and the lingering grief over the loss of my mother, I had to pack up (producing and directing TV shows). Or else I would have gone stark raving mad.

Meanwhile, Dad had withdrawn into a shell. Ever since Mum left he was not the same again. He became retentive, remote, there would be spells of dementia. How I regretted being my parents’ only child then. A sister or a brother would have made all the difference in the round-the-clock care they needed. Dad succumbed to his ailments, aggravated by advancing age. Their deaths, coming within the space of 12 years, shattered me. Dad was 84 when he left on May 26, 2003. There would be nothing to return home to at the end of the day but an empty home.

Everything was meaningless. Tears would flow, there would be morbid thoughts and panic attacks. One night around 11.30, seized by anxiety I called up my doctor friends Ashok and Rekha Hatolkar. They rushed over to my place, sat me down, talked to me kindly and said they would return the next day with a psychiatrist.

It seemed as if I was losing my mind.

A few days later on being seized by anxiety again I called up Waheeda (Rehman) and said I wanted to commit suicide by leaping off my home’s balcony. Waheeda was alarmed and scolded me, “Don’t talk rubbish. Promise me you will stop having such thoughts.” The next morning she was there, and said, “Asha, promise me, never ever think you’re alone.”

My friends and family have showered boundless love on me. At times I do wonder, “What if I had made that fatal leap?”

I have collected myself now. For over a decade I have kept the camera at the distance of a barge pole. No more acting or direction for me. All good things must come to an end, don’t they?”

Extracted from Asha Parekh: The Hit Girl, An Autobiography with Khalid Mohamed, Published by Om Books International.