‘Interview is more tough than giving a shot in front of the camera, I must admit this Kaveri,’ Eila takes the glass full of amla juice from her attendant.
‘Part of the job you do. However, I love your honest attitude,’ Kaveri smiles. ‘So how are you feeling after winning the Best Actress award for the third time in last three years. It’s hat-trick.’
‘Each time I get on the stage to receive an award, the memories of my struggling days flash in my mind.’
‘But you were not a struggler. With your mother beside you, getting a break in film industry wasn’t that difficult. Right?’
‘I got my first offer in the middle of a party. Mehta uncle said that he was looking for a fresh face for his next film and I looked perfect for it. I was dumbstruck but Mom was ecstatic. It was she who convinced me that I had acting capabilities. But then the journey was not easy either. People made fun of my American accent, commented that I have inherited only good looks from my mother, declared that I am going to be just a one film wonder and so on. Hence, for me it was quite a struggle to prove everyone wrong.’
‘What would you have done if your career in films didn’t work?’
‘Then I would have been a senior journalist like Kaveri Sharma and interviewed some film star,’ Eila laughs looking at her interviewer.
‘Of course. I hold a Masters Degree in Journalism from New York. Dad often jokes saying that he had wasted money behind my journalism degree.’
‘And Suhasini ji, what is her reaction seeing your stardom?’
‘She is the rock of gibraltar in my life…….’ Eila looks at the vanity van door. Somebody knocked. Her attendant opens the door and Suhasini Arya enters.
‘Ah Mom, you will live a hundred years. We were just talking about you.’
Suhasini hands over two shopping bag from Charles & Keith to the attendant and asks with curiosity, ‘What about me?’
‘That without your support, conviction and inspiration, being successful in this film industry would not have been possible for me.’
‘Aww.You know I am always there for you,’ she blows a kiss to her daughter.
‘Have you read the interview you gave Kaveri?’ Suhasini puts a piece of omelette inside her mouth.
‘I already know what is written there,Mom,’ Eila pours milk on the oats.
‘It has my picture and a caption – Eila Arya says that Suhasini is the rock of gibraltar in her life,’ Suhasini ignores Eila and reads the magazine with a pride playing on her face.
‘That you are, Mom. Where is Dad?Did he have his breakfast.’
‘Must be in his study. Have you transferred the money in my account?’
‘Dad signed a cheque for a hefty amount last week, Mom. What do you want to buy now?’ Eila frowns.
‘Eila, I am the mother, not you. Always remember that you are a star today just because of me. Else you would have ended behind a desk in some office writing some stupid articles. You owe me a hell lot of things. So don’t question me like that,’ Suhasini growls.
Eila controls her anger somehow and says, ‘You will get the money by afternoon.’
The popular and glamorous star, Suhasini married businessman Rajesh Arya at the peak of her career and got settled overseas. When she came back to India fifteen years later and wanted to give a fresh start to her career, new faces have entered the industry. No matter how much networking she did in parties and agencies, producers offered her only meager side roles in their films. Suhasini gradually entered into an acute depression. Sleeping pills, alcohol and shopping gave her momentary peace.
It was only when Eila came to India finishing her education, Suhasini got a new lease of life. Eila has her mother’s beauty which attracted the producers. Despite Eila’s vehement denials, Suhasini forced her daughter to enter films. Eila hated her mother for this. She planned to return to New York.
But the film’s success and her mother’s subsequent happiness held her back. Eila’s success proved as circuitous route for Suhasini to make a comeback into the Page 3 headlines. Everyone started respecting her again just because she is Eila’s mother. But Eila’s stardom has nothing to with her mother. She has achieved it with her sheer hard work. Still Eila gives the entire credit to her mother. It keeps Suhasini sane, proud and less frustrated for some time.
Eila reads the headline Eila Arya says that Suhasini is the rock of gibraltar in her life.
‘It was just a little white lie…’ Eila tells herself. Interview is something which Eila detests much like acting. She cannot be just her ownself with either of the two.
This short story is based on the Reedsy writing prompt for this week : ‘In a Flash’