Next week, I am going to stand naked in front of the whole world. That’s what it feels like, at any rate. An unpleasant cocktail has been buzzing in my head lately: nervousness and terror, worry and panic, embarrassment and humiliation, shame and even some anger at the sympathetic responses I’m already anticipating.
In spite of all this, I need to tell you now that when I stand naked next week, I want you to be watching.
Oh, put those erections down and turn those nipples off! I’m not talking about actual nudity. Next week, for a few minutes, I’ll be featuring in an hour-and-a-half long television talk show. I didn’t think it would be such a big deal for me, because I’ve often spoken about my childhood, both in person and in print. But this is a new talk show, hosted by one of India’s most popular and respected movie stars, Aamir Khan. It airs on the Star TV network, it gets broadcast simultaneously in eight languages, and is talked about on the news and in social media. The first episode aired yesterday and was a huge success, so I imagine even more people will tune in next week. The thought terrifies me.
I still want you to watch. Because even if my emotional cocktail turn out to be justified, this show, and all that it will carry in its one and a half hours, is too important. It needs to be seen, not just by all of India, but by the whole world.
And I think I just figured out why. That cocktail of feelings I listed – I just realized that this isn’t my first taste of it. I drank it all through childhood. And if I could survive that then, I can face this now.
All the other people with childhoods like mine need to know this: we survived. We can face it and learn from it and grow beyond it.
And all the other children, the ones with childhoods as yet untouched, don’t need to know what we know.
Satyamev Jayate (Truth Alone Triumphs) on Sunday, 13th May at 11 a.m. Indian Standard Time on the Star TV network (Star World, Star Plus, Star Utsav, Star Vijay, Star Pravah, Star Jalsha, ETV Telugu, Asianet and Doordarshan). If you can’t catch the show, you’ll also find it on Youtube and Facebook (and I’ll post the links here, as well).