In an actor’s career, we don many hats, but rarely do we come across characters that leave us shaken to the core. Not because it lets you explore more as an artist, but it wakes you up to a reality, you knew little about. This is exactly what hit me when I got to portray Koel in Ziddi Dil Maane Na, a character subjected to domestic violence and an agonizing past that continues to haunt her and her little son. Reprising Koel, I realized how home has a completely different meaning for many women across the globe and how big a menace is domestic abuse.
I wasn’t oblivious to this peril before. The alarming number of cases for domestic abuse in our country startled and shocked me as well. But what my character made me aware of, is the intensity of the problem, its relevance amongst majority of women and how as a society, we all have our bit to do to cause change. You, me, and everyone!
So, today, on International Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women, I choose courage to talk about the grave issue of domestic abuse and appeal everyone out there to Say NO to violence and Stand-up against this social evil. I would also want to appreciate Sony SAB for raising this issue and spreading awareness around this serious subject.
I shudder in fear to think of the abuse, a lot of women in this country live through and endure till the time they can’t anymore. Yet, this is just the tip of the iceberg. As much as we read such cases, there are many more lurking in the dark waiting to be heard. It’s hard to imagine the trauma, the pain and the stigma surrounding this vicious practice that causes women to stay silent.
As I navigate the journey of my character Koel in the show ‘Ziddi Dil Maane Na’, the reality of domestic abuse is enveloping me tight. My heart goes out to the women who endure through it all, either out of helplessness, or lack of awareness or both. The sleepless nights, the fear of survival, the fear of your kid’s survival is something I cannot even begin to measure. And not to forget, even if you happen to tide over this crisis, the shame and stigma that trails a woman is hard to put in words.
But dear women, just like Koel, that shouldn’t deter you from battling this menace. The bruises that you carry on your skin, heart and mind are worth fighting for. Because we all deserve a world full of love, compassion and respect.
I understand the responsibility of portraying your side of the story as authentically as I can. I need you to know that you’re not alone, today and always. You’re a queen, you just need to awaken and take your stride as the world awaits you with open arms. I hope like Koel, you also find the strength to speak up and fight for your rights. Because if she can, so can you.