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Watch Sujata Kumar’s Poignant Tedx Talk on Guilt, Loss and Never Giving Up

Actor Sujata Kumar's inspirational Tedx talk has resurfaced after her death. Watch it here.


Updated:August 21, 2018, 12:02 PM IST
Watch Sujata Kumar’s Poignant Tedx Talk on Guilt, Loss and Never Giving Up
Sujata Kumar (R) with Sridevi (L) in a still from English Vinglish.

Actor Sujata Kumar, best known for playing Sridevi’s elder sister in Gauri Shinde’s English Vinglish, died of cancer and multiple organ failure on Sunday night.

Actor-singer Suchitra Krishnamoorthy’s elder sister, hers was a relapse, a stage 4 cancer that had metastised.

A day after her death, a video of her TEDx Talk, that she delivered in May as part of the TEDxBocconiUMumbai, resurfaced. Titled ‘How to filter emotional pollutants from your life’, it urges listeners to throw out all the “muck”, the “contaminants” that we keep accumulating all our lives.

Using experiences of suffering, pain, humiliation and guilt from her own life, Sujata exhorts us to learn from them.

Calling her life a “standard textbook case”, she says, “I grew up in a volatile, dysfunctional madcap of a violent home.” 

In the talk, she says she understood that not all adults are right and not all children stupid when she was 9. A victim of abuse within the house and outside it, she says she had no option but to educate herself “to become my own teacher, parent and guide.”

“By 20, I had a solid case of sexual abuse and domestic violence, which I chose not to file. The welfare of other siblings was at stake here and that apart, my parents were not my enemies. They believed in authoritarian parenting — spare the rod and spoil the child, victims, I guess,” she says, recalling her growing-up years.

She goes on to talk about how before she was 30, she had given birth to a dead baby after a full term, post-mature overdue pregnancy and five days of intensive and exhaustive labour, and how at 40, she was into therapy, thanks to her “emotionally unavailable relationships”.

She also talks about her now-shut gaming firm Boffin, her divorce, toxic food habits, her smoking like a chimney, binge-drinking, turning 100kgs, and finally her cancer diagnosis in August 2006, which she calls “nature’s slap on the face”.

Sujata finally says it took her a lifetime to find the strength to “take responsibilities for her emotional wellness, welfare and well being”.

Other than English Vinglish, she had also starred in films Gori Tere Pyar Mein and Raanjhanaa, as well as TV serials Hotel Kingston and Bombay Talking.

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