Mrinalini, an ageing actress, writes a suicide note. As a performer, the first lesson she had learnt was timing – the perfect moment for making an entrance or an exit on stage. On the stage of life, her entrance had been outside her control; but she wants to choose the moment of her exit at least.
However, before taking the pills that will put her to sleep forever, she decides to destroy all her memorabilia – letters, photographs, newspaper cuttings, knick-knacks pertaining to the past – lest they fall into the hands of the press. She has been a victim of media attention all her life and wishes to be spared that at her death.
As she looks through the old box that contains relics from her past, memories flood the night… Incidents that she had forgotten or had relinquished to the furthest corners of her mind now return to haunt her and, through these memories, an entire life is revealed – a life of loves lost and gained, friendships and betrayals, successes and failures, accidents and awards, agonies and ecstasies.
Mrinalini relives her past, as night gradually turns to dawn. An ajaan starts up somewhere. Slowly early morning light fills the room. The moment has passed and the death she had wished for so intensely no longer seems a priority. Her German Shepherd comes and rubs its head on its mistress’s feet and squeaks to be let out. Mrinalini smiles, tears up the suicide note and takes her dog out for a walk.
A new day starts. A new life awaits her. A new beginning she has chosen.
Aparna Sen (Bengali: অপর্ণা সেন Ôporna Shen; born 25 October 1945) was born in Calcutta to a Bengali family, originally from East Bengal. Her father is the veteran critic and film-maker Chidananda Dasgupta. Her mother Supriya Dasgupta is the cousin of renowned Bengali poet Jibanananda Das. She spent her childhood in Hazaribagh and Kolkata and had her schooling initially in South Point and later mostly in Modern High School for Girls, Kolkata.
She studied her Ba, English honors in Presidency College, Calcutta but did not complete the degree.
She met the Magnum photographer, Brian Brake, in Kolkata in 1961 when he was visiting India to photograph his Monsoon series. Brake used Sen as the model for what was to become one of his most well known photographs – a shot of a girl holding her face to the first drops of monsoon rain. The photo shoot was set up on a Kolkata rooftop with a ladder and a watering can. Sen described the shoot:
“He took me up to the terrace, had… read more
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