My bias

The last blog I wrote received a lot of positive response. However, an extremely small minority complained about bias in my writing.

I am writing a quick response to that. Before I respond to the critics, I want to thank the supporters and warriors for supporting the family and Sushant all along.

I have made this clear that I was not in the loop completely as far as happenings with Sushant is concerned for the last one year, except for some details. So, I am also learning new facts everyday. But if I have to form an opinion based on the facts, I will obviously have bias in the support of my wife’s family and bias against the prime accused. I will obviously follow the line of thinking in my father-in-law’s FIR. Most of the facts out now have already confirmed my bias to be correct.

Sushant and my son in 2015 in Ranchi while he was shooting for the movie Dhoni there

No matter how much objectivity I can claim, there will be some bias in my writing and I should be allowed that. The man who passed away was my children’s uncle, my wife’s brother and someone whom I have known for over 22 years, not a random Film Actor that I should stay unbiased. Let me have my biases while the investigation is ongoing. And I trust the investigative agencies to bring out the truth and confirm my biases to be correct to the full degree.

Satyameva Jayate!

Please don’t ask me for clarifications

I have noticed that a lot of people are asking me for clarifications and details about Sushant’s death case. I have been asked questions on post-mortem and other specific questions.

I want to tell you that I don’t know a lot of details myself just like you guys and I am not asking those questions to family in India on purpose. Everyone is stressed and I don’t want to add more to it.

Whatever I write on this blog is based on my relationship and chemistry with Sushant and some second-hand information I might have gotten from the FIR, public domain, and conversations with the family members. I was not in touch with Sushant on a one-on-one basis after Rhea came into his life in 2019. I was in regular touch with him for 12 years before that though, since my wedding. Chronologically, we were friends from 1997-2007 and family members 2007 onward and it was only since 2007 that we called and texted each other regularly, and met occasionally, until 2019.

Sushant and the journey of the middle class

Sushant’s family was never in the limelight on purpose. While he was alive, the family deliberately stayed away from media. Other than occasional conversations about him with friends, very few actually knew that we were his kin. This setup was by design. It kept the relationship clean and honest. We didn’t use the social currency of his association and he enjoyed spending time with us without any burden.

After his unfortunate demise, the family has to step out and defend his legacy and fight for justice. This exposes the family to public, media and scrutiny. We are very thankful for all the support we have received. Family members have started off from middle class and while Sushant reached new heights of stardom and fame, his other family members also progressed to upper middle class and higher economic ladders, on their own merit.

And this is what resonates with the public. Sushant and his family represent the aspirations of India. Sushant and his family represent self-reliance, hard work, economic progression; the great Indian dream.

What happens when the middle class dreams are shattered or when dreams are achieved and then everything is taken away. It shatters the faith of millions of middle-class families. This is why India is hurting so much because it almost feels like the systems in place could not protect this boy from middle class who had made a respectable mark for himself. People are wondering if such a successful person cannot be protected and served justice, will a common man ever be?

I hope that Sushant is served justice, not just for his and his family’s sake but for the sake of over billion Indians, who are dreaming together a new, more self-reliant India, because what has happened is so symbolic that it is no longer only about Sushant. I have a strong feeling that justice will be served because the current situation is very similar to the prerequisite for justice as quoted by Benjamin Franklin- “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”

Two months and counting since that fateful night.

We were fast asleep on the night of 13th June which was a Saturday night in the US and Sunday (14th June) afternoon in India. I usually put my phone on Airplane mode on weeknights so that I don’t get disturbed in the middle of the night. My wife turns on the vibrate mode on her phone at night. However, on weekends, I leave my phone on the vibrate mode sometimes instead of putting it on the Airplane mode. The dreadful calls started coming in at around 2 am PST (2:30 pm IST). The phone was away from the bed and of course, I had no idea who was calling and why continuously but I could hear the nonstop vibrations. Annoyed, I got up to check and at that moment, the world came tumbling down. Before I talked to anyone, I read the text messages which were flashing on the screen. Many people including family members were trying to reach us and many friends were asking if the news was fake. I checked the news and was horrified to read that Sushant had allegedly taken his life. I ran over to Shweta’s phone on the other side of the bed and noticed a plethora of missed calls and text messages on her phone as well. And that’s when I did one of the toughest things I have had to do in my life, break the news to Shweta. I cannot forget her reaction and her first conversation with Rani Di. It broke my heart to listen to them crying on the phone and that night changed our lives forever as we knew it.

We started making phone calls and planning our travel to India. We were up all night trying to figure out all the details. We realized that because of COVID-19, it’s incredibly hard to travel or to even get a flight ticket to India. Eventually, with the help of friends in the Bay Area, we found one seat for Shweta on a San Francisco-Delhi flight on the 16th of June. The morning was even more challenging since we had to break this news to our children, Sushant’s niece, and nephew.

Why am I sharing all of this? I am sharing this because it’s been two months since that fateful night and we are still struggling. Emotions are still high and eyes are still watery.  What was taken away from us that night is hard to express in words. Our lives will never be the same again. However, we hope that an unbiased investigation would shed light on what transpired and perhaps give us some closure so that we can focus on cherishing his memories instead of always wondering what exactly happened with Sushant and why he could not be saved. Hence, my appeal to everyone is to keep pressing for truth so that not only us but all of Sushant’s supporters and well-wishers can find peace. 

manishcamera 349

In closing, I am sharing one of my favorite pictures with Sushant. I have many pictures of him but this one is close to my heart because it always reminds me of how sensitive and respectful Sushant was. In the capacity of my brother-in-law, he was supposed to do a ritual at my wedding where he would pull me with my  “dupatta”. I don’t remember what the point of the ritual was but I do remember Sushant being uncomfortable about pulling me in that manner and I had to encourage him to do it and had to ensure him that I did not mind that at all.  Only then did he perform the ritual. Always smiling, always compassionate, that’s the memory I have of him.