Preity Zinta defies reaper of grim

Bollywood actress Preity Zinta writes about a pair of year-end brushes with death in a column for BBC News. Her first experience came during a concert and dance show entitled “Temptation 2004” in Colombo, Sri Lanka:

I am waiting in the left wing for my finale. The music is pulsing through the audience, and the pyrotechnics are lighting up the inky black night.

Suddenly I see a man in the front row flying to his left. Then I see Shah Rukh looking to his right and left. Then I see the dancers disappear.

What is happening?

I stepped on the stage and leaned over. I saw a pool of blood in the front rows. The security men grab us from behind and ask us to leave.

A bomb has exploded in the front rows – two people are dead, more than a dozen injured. The concert has come to a bloody end.

A mere two weeks later, Zinta is vacationing in Phuket, Thailand for Christmas:

…suddenly, there is someone banging on the door. Loudly.

I open the door sleepily to see my friend panting outside. “There’s been a tidal wave. We must run!”, he shouts.

I pick up my handbag and run along with him. I step outside the villa and there’s water all around.

What is happening?

I have slept through the tsunami that has killed nearly 6,000 people on Thailand’s coast, mostly in Phuket.

I have slept as two killer waves forced the hotel to evacuate guests from the island.

On the road to my friend’s place, I see the havoc wreaked by the killer waves.

Phuket resembles a war zone. The road is full of debris. There are bodies lying everywhere.

Zinta survives the ordeal, and is in relatively good health. She calls her mother to tell her that she’s safe, and then decides to do her part for the rescue and relief effort:

I ended up spending eight more days on the devastated island, and saw survivors picking up the pieces.

I saw rescue work picking up speed. I find a German kick boxer in the neighbourhood, and I begin taking lessons.

Unfortunately for Zinta, the relief effort already had an adequate supply of kick boxers on-hand (just in case Jean-Claude Van Damme tries to pull something). Unable to contribute, she elected to spend the rest of her holiday overcoming a childhood-rooted fear of water. Zinta chose to forgo traditional methods such as therapy or swimming lessons, and did it like they would in the old days…if your last name was Onassis:

I go out into the deep sea off the Thai coast and spend four nights in a yacht near Similan island close to Burma.

All my life I have dreaded water.

I almost drowned twice when I was younger. I tried to take swimming lessons, but I barely swim now.

The tsunami should have made me stay away from the water forever. But I have I decided to try and overcome this fear.

This is the third in a small series of first-person perspectives written by Zinta for BBC News. Her prior columns address Indian society’s treatment of women, and a preview of Bollywood in 2004.

2 thoughts on “Preity Zinta defies reaper of grim

  1. Hello My Dear

    I’m your best friend. I’m from Myanmar. I know you don’t read my mail. If you read my mail please, reply and give me your e-mail Address.

  2. She looks like a man at some angles, but at least she is self-made and didn’t sleep/bleach her way to the top like the other Bollywood gals. Plus she’s a great actress…I for one am glad she didn’t kick the bucket. :)