Saturday, July 3, 2010

Drugs, Sex and Suicide....Viveka B, RIP

This appeared today in Asian Age\Deccan Chronicle.
It is raining horses and elephants. Perfect day to watch 'I hate Luv Storys'. I'm an optimist. Hoping the movie will lighten the mood. Or at least prepare me for a heart stopping quarter final at FIFA. My son Aditya is in Capetown for the matches, and his BBMs make us feel we are right there in the stands with him, watching every kick and yellow card.Waka Waka Germany....
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Doomed models on killer cocktails……

It has been a slow week for news. FIFA leaves India cold ( if we aren’t playing, why bother?). And the political khabar from Delhi has been pretty thanda. That left a lot of front page space waiting to be filled. Along came a masala story which had the hungry media vultures scampering – an ageing model’s tragic suicide. Hardly headline news. But there it was, on every channel and newspaper. Poor Viveka Babajee hadn’t received even half this level of coverage during her lifetime as she struggled to keep up appearances, keep body and soul together, in the big, bad and coked out world of Mumbai modeling. She was considered over the hill and ‘finished’ within the glam fraternity – that in itself is a killer judgement. Combine her downgraded professional status with personal traumas, and you have a tragedy waiting to happen. For newshounds, this is another sensational tabloid scandal involving a pretty woman, a rich boyfriend (or many) and a lifestyle that shocks those outside the charmed circle. What most press reports aren’t saying is that what really killed Viveka was not a thwarted love affair but corrosive insecurity and despair.
It is a common story. Some girls can handle it better than others. Some manage to escape. Some don’t. Viveka didn’t. But look around you and you’ll find several walking wounded models struggling to stay afloat…. stay alive. The route taken is familiar – get discovered, get to Mumbai, get assignments. The first two or three years are generally heady and brilliant. The money rolls in, wealthy admirers pile up, lifestyle options multiply… and with luck, Bollywood beckons. All this before the girls reach their sell-by date ( 25 at the outside). Once your shelf life is over, the assignments dry up and even those panting middle aged, married men move on to younger chicks working the circuit. The first sign of desperation is when such a sought- after girl finds herself in the social wilderness and starts looking for lolly from other sources. She has bills to pay, loans to service, and an image to protect. Creditors start breathing down her neck… and with the heat getting a bit too hot to handle, the girl panics. Most times, she is miles away from home, living by herself in a suburban flat without support systems of any kind. She makes alcohol her best friend. In order to keep meeting her new ‘best friend’, she lets it be known she’s open to attending parties thrown by strangers – for a fee, of course. There are shady ‘party agents’ who round up hard up models and small time actresses for clients (mainly prosperous traders from Punjab, Haryana, Delhi) but at least the booze is in plenty even if the money is pathetic. Then come the shadier proposals to spend a weekend in Goa or Dubai – the money is not big, but it covers shopping kharcha. What the hell, a girl’s got to have the latest cell phone and ‘It’ bag.
From this stage to full time hooking takes no time at all. The stakes are further lowered – but what is on offer is far more addictive – coke. Party girls in sexy frocks are always welcome at power evenings that need a strong glamour quotient – that is exactly the model followed by organizers of sporting mega events worldwide. But there is a catch - the cocktails that keeps these evenings in high gear do not flow out of glasses. The powerful hosts behind these parties know there is but one hook to get these girls to hang on - cocaine – lots and lots of the white stuff. Champagne and coke become the preferred mix. Throw in sex with strangers, and what starts off as a ‘fun’ thing, soon turns into the blackest nightmare ever with no escape. Dirty weekends grow into four and five day orgies. The protagonists are usually society’s top drawer men – industrialists, movie stars, ex-sports people, tv producers. And of course, the fashion crowd from Delhi\Bangalore.This is where girls like Viveka descend into a private hell from which there is no ‘out’. They are literally and metaphorically at a dead end. Strapped for money, strapped for love, strapped for security on any level – they turn the searchlight inwards in search of salvation. Some find it, most don’t.
Viveka’s suicide is being compared to Nafisa’s. And, no doubt there are unmistakable parallels. The main thread involves their respective backgrounds. It was hard to believe Viveka’s family is originally from Satara – a small, obscure town in Maharashtra ( and incidentally, my birthplace!). That makes Viveka a Maharastrian-Mauritian! What was a girl like that doing in a biz like this? Perhaps she was lured into it with promises of big time success. Ditto for Nafisa, who was also a misfit in the murky world of modeling. Both girls were above average in looks and intelligence. Yet, both got mixed up with men who gave them grief and treated them badly. Both chose a violent exit after giving up on life and themselves. Their contemporaries are made of sterner stuff – some have married ( and divorced) foreigners, others have switched to choreography and event management. Photographs of Viveka’s friends at her funeral, tell their own story. Shockingly enough, some of the girls who showed up to pay their respects clad in pristine designer white , posed for the cameras like they were at a fashion week showing. What should have been a somber occasion was converted into a celeb circus.But like I pointed out earlier, this has been a lean and mean week for hard news. Viveka’s funeral provided some much needed eye candy and a few photo-ops to the starved media. So much for the current crop of ramp scorchers. Then are still others who fled India and left their old world behind. I was surprised to run into the lovely Shyla Lopez who now lives in Moscow with her Russian husband and a young son. Did she look happy?? Ummmm…. I’m not sure.
But at least she is alive.

31 comments:

goodluck said...

So sad. But frustrations and suicides take place among doctors, professors. students, housewives and so on. This suicide is highlighted because she was associated with glamour industry and our media will not leave such a sumptuous fare. Though the way you described the things sounds authentic. The top bollywood heroines like Parveen Babi, Meena Kumari and others also could not handle their lives. One day, we all have to go either way. Old age, sickness, accident or suicide and murder. The end is never pretty. How can it be?

Anil Kumar said...

Very nicely written. I hope young girls of today read this and think twice before jumping into modelling world.

ameya said...

you know ... you sound bitter ... very bitter
i dont even know if i like it.

Hobo ........ ........ ........ said...

(Poor Viveka Babajee hadn’t received even half this level of coverage during her lifetime as she struggled to keep up appearances, keep body and soul together, in the big, bad and coked out world of Mumbai modeling.)
- Whats others story having coverage during lifetime?

krunal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anamika said...

I hate luv story is not your type De..I have the same taste like yours and you know it..You always save my money..this time I am tyring to save your movie ticket money..

Also we have another Katrina in making with Sonam Kapoor..Girl just dont know how to act..

IcE MaiDeN said...

You sound bitter. And you also sound like you are talking about someone who has been through that and back. Maybe I am wrong, but that's just how it sounded to me.

Excellently written nevertheless.

NAT said...

It is very sad for her to end her life this way.
However even you Shobha have not passed any comment on the manner in which she put the members of the society and the building at risk, by leaving the gas on.
Do not have to spell out the
disaster that could have taken place, with just a faulty switch, or spark.
It is one thing to end ones life, but to endanger your neighbours,in the process.....

Norman

krutika said...

oh lord...so melodramatic. i am sorry i do feel bad for Viveka, may her soul rest in peace and may she find peace and serenity she did not find when she was alive.
But there are so many woman who dont get married, have high qualification, have to raise children on their own and so much more. Happiness is a choice. Some of these girls need to realise that there are consequences in show biz...everyone wont make it...now dont we all know tht. what do u mean by lured in? some of them date married men etc to make it big.how can you expect these momas boys who survive on family money to go against their family to marry you? We need to stress on the fact that marriage is not the be all and end all of life. Marriage should not be the ultimate goal for woman. I know of Indian women, aunts, grandmothers, highly educated, who never got married and still are so very strong emotionally. Suicide is a selfish act for the weak. she was clearly not thinking about her family or her frnds who cared for her. There are so many men in India, who have t support huge families..can they take this route. I am sorry, but these girls are used to having things their way, they are used to some kind of luxuries, when they cannot afford all that, they want to end their lives. I dont feel that bad for them....beauty is a passport to success, it is not a visa!

Delhi Goon said...

Suicide is such a personal thing... the answers lie in society and self... Damn we are becoming westernized!(?)

The Panorama said...

It's a harsh world, everyone knows that. And as calling you bitter as some have done here...well...some people still have their rose coloured glasses on.

Krunal, why just blame the girl? Aren't the men cynical and ruthless and taking advantage of young girls?
There should be some law protecting innocent girls from such vultures. For every girl who makes it, there are many like Viveka.

krunal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
अल्पना वर्मा said...

Harsh reality.

---
Very well written.

sonal said...

Krunal, very interesting read, infact ure take on the case, threatened to overshadow Shobhas predictable rant about women and what happens when they take the untrodden path!Also Ms. De u do make it sound very bitter and cynical. Viveka was a respectable and successful model, as her family describes her and maybe she just deserved a lot more than she actually got.And u are right about that part atleast!
And Krunal life is more than just about fertility and eggs, or atleast i'd like to think so.

Vivek said...

Why blame others if you have a problem with your life...you have to fight your own battles & wars...you can't just give in to your suicidal tendencies & take the easy route out & then play the blame game by holding other people responsible for your death...a death you chose out of your own free will...in whatever mental state of mind you were in...Everyone faces depression yet people fight in out & don't commit suicide to put an end to all their problems.Suicide is a selfish way too...a step that may help out attain nirvana, moksh & salvation but what about the people you leave behind who have to clean up your mess, face the media, society...give answers to them...is it fair to put them thru all this?!! IF U HAVE THE GUTS TO TAKE YOUR OWN LIFE, THEN HAVE THE GUTS TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR OWN ACTIONS RATHER THAN BLAME OTHERS FOR IT!!!

Divya Virmani said...

Ms. De definitely sounds a bit bitter. Yup, we are all familiar with the lifestyle in our Bollywood industry. But why do people commit suicide, is very hard for me to understand. I hope top models should learn something from viveka's life. So what, if you are not getting enough projects or whatever work your doing? Sooner or later you will find something, however if only lavish lifestyle/the it bad is your life then there is not much anyone can say about your life.
RIP Viveka!

On the other hand IHLS, ughh... I don't know why they even came up with the idea of taking Sonam in it. Ridiculous actress, terrible acting... You do not need brain to watch this movie. Even the choreography in many songs was an absolute crap... My $10 down the drain.. :(

pmathur said...

Is this not a complete degeneration of of values in Society? Because a society is determined by the character of its people. And people's character is shaped by their values.
What kind of values are we embracing, and more importantly handing down to our children?

The Panorama said...

Krunal, you sound judgemental, that's all. And no I don't think he was being nice at all. He shouldn't have strung her along, knowing she was emotionally unstable and wanting maybe more out of their relationship.
There is nothing wrong in rejecting a girl, everyone has the right to chose who they want but some men lead vulnerable girls up the garden path.
And I don't think men are like wine and women like milk... I have seen some horrible male specimen as they age. Its all in the mind how you look at it. A lot of women who were hot babes when they were younger still wouldn't give these nice guys the time of the day.

Jogeshwar said...

I would rather want to be a child all my life than get to know such harsh realities of life. Very sad indeed. Why do we embrace such Men with shady characters in our society? Why can't we just shun them?

Vivek said...

Yet another celebrity takes the plunge…yet another media circus…yet another opportunity for the cops to rake in some money from the victim’s boyfriend…yet again parents are in denial & perceive their now dead daughter as a noble soul who was given a rotten deal in life & love & thus want redemption for her soul…yet again the boyfriend has to pay the price of loving her but not committing to her…yet again the "blame game" is being played out...Why do women fall in love if they can't handle the consequences??

ms said...

ah, mz de. the circus is alive and well, going by the comments your post generated. every death should affect the living. and to all those who are debating the pros and cons of a model's life, means of death, lost opportunities, i have only this to say: i wish none of us end up at a stage where death is the only solution. and a woman's worth is not judged by how fertile she is (i am sure this krunal guy doesn't advertise his sperm count!!). and demand creates supply in case others are wondering why models go down the path of destruction.

Amogh Vaidya said...

First off i wnt 2 tell u dat im a die-hard fan of ur columns & ur my role model.......u hv really pointed out wt goes on behind d glamour industry n its effects r hazardous.....
i read ur Times of India(Goa Edition) column(5th July 2010) its so very true dat media pple label Viveka as "Supermodel"..bt is she?. Honestly speakin i think media dnt knw d correct definition of d term "Supermodel".Correct me if im wrong bt few weeks bck they used it 4 ANJALI MENDES,bt after readin sum article & bio abt her i cn say dat she ws just a Pierre Cardin muse...bt did it make her a "Supermodel",i dnt think so coz i searched online n i couldnt even find an ad campaign pic of her...
India is yet 2 produce a "Gisele Bundchen"-type model,im nt sayin Indian models r nt worthy n sum of thm hv showed their mantle such as Laxmi Menon,Ujjwala Raut.....Indrani Dasgupta is such adorable girl, she's my fav Indian model,4m editorials n covers i cn say dat she's very versatile n comfortable wth herself,bt i hv noticed dat unlike sum models she disnt a publicity hungry girl!!!!!!!!!!!

sonal said...

Its a sad fact, that our Indian models get very little media coverage and i can safetly say that some of them are as gorgeous as those in the film industry who get oodles of coverage. Its indeed an unfair world.The glamour industry was once a very coveted world when the likes of Mehr Jessia,Anu Khottor and the lovely Shyla Lopez who u mention ruled the roost!The lovely Anu Agrawal also comes to mind, but is said t6o have gone underground afte4 a failed relationship.isnt this a patter we see too often in our part of thr world.Believe me when i say we have no dearth of beauty and talent but we just dont have the right kind of ppl in the decesion making place.And hence the loss!
As for relationships, Indian men are too insecure and cxant handle these Kamasutra type models.I say thumbs up to these women who make bold lifestyle choices, in this extremely traditional, backward and conservative society, and thumbs down to the men who bed them but wont marry them! A sad state of affairs! AND also the reason why some models end up marrying foreigners!These models are beautiful creratures leading exotic lifes and its indeed tragic that they should meet such an unfortunate end!Plz dont paint them out to be neurotic, drug addicts and loose women.Its not6 fair to the memory to someone so beautiful who deserved to be treated with respect and loved! and folks dont make comments about a womans age. She is not a commodity in the market, and down with those who think so!
By the way Bachi Karkaria, wrote an editorial titled,'Outdated Models,Ride at ure own peril". how utterly gross and inappropriate and insensitive. I sent her a hate mail!

अल्पना वर्मा said...

Dear Mam,This article is linked with my latest post.
Hope you do not mind it.

http://alpana-verma.blogspot.com/2010/07/blog-post.html

Thanks,
Regards,

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*Aham* said...

Kaam, Kama and Drama... the modelling world is just that- glamour ka hungaama.

The jamuna bai from satara, suddenly becomes Jammie, and then their train goes long in the patri of the ramp.

until they age and lose their wage... many are marooned in silence, and the world wakes up to them at their funeral.

Funny and scary the glamour world is. Viveka was almost a nobody. The average joe dint know who she was, now from Joe to Jodha... all know her name.

I should add that, i was not as devestated by Vivekas death , as much i was shocked and shaken by Nafisa.


it also speaks volumes about the men in their lives... i mean, how could a smart chokri like viveka or nafisa... allow "Khao, Khujaao, batti bhujao" type ameer baap ke bigde bete in their lives?

pyaaar toh andhaa hota hai!



I guess, like we have counselling centers for SSC exam students, we should also open a 24x7 center for Aging models...

... where there is only vipaasna and no Kaam Vaasna.

shemalejasmin said...

Indian cities, school, streets everywhere, it is dirty! ? whats about the Indian government?
IPL money-laundering scandal threatens Indian government ??
http://merabharatmahanindia.blogspot.com/

Sidhusaaheb said...

Thanks for exposing the ugly under-belly of the modelling world!

So, Madhur Bhandarkar's movie was indeed based on reality.

Nisha Meledath said...

It is a very well written piece which bares the cracks in human skeletons. Emotions happen to be a man's strength as well their nemesis. Everybody wants and this want is an unending list. It just never leaves us. When you have what you want, you are satisfied and happy. Sadly though, nobody ever has that kind of satisfation. You keep wanting more and when you cannot deal with it, well.. I do not have to say it aloud.

I can just think what mental pain this journey might have been for babajee.. A painful journey and an equally painful end. I personally feel that only when you respect yourself, others would respect you. She might have been happier being a pizza delivery woman or as a cashier. Wish her better in her future ( i.e if she has another birth. Guess you can have seven births. They proved it didnt they? In 'Raaz pichle janam ka' reality show.)

Ejaz said...

When you have what you want, you are satisfied and happy. Sadly though, nobody ever has that kind of satisfation. You keep wanting more and when you cannot deal with it, well.. I do not have to say it aloud.

ejaz14357
www.livetv.com

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