By Akanksha Gupta Last Updated:
Ever since Sonali Bendre made the heart-breaking revelation about her health that she is diagnosed with high-grade metastatic cancer, she has been inspiring millions with her positivity, determination and optimism towards life. Sonali went to the Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre, US, for the treatment and her husband, Goldie Behl and son, Ranveer Behl ensured to make frequent visits to her. Now Sonali is back in Mumbai, but her fight with cancer is not yet over! (Also Read: Cancer Survivor Sonali Bendre Collaborates With Son, Ranveer Behl In A New Venture)
On Day 2 of India Today Conclave 2, Sonali Bendre spoke about her journey with cancer, switching on the positivity in her life and on her family being her constant support system. Sonali, through her social media handle, has often updated her fans and inspired them talking about taking each day at a time and #SwitchingOnTheSunshine every single day.
Beginning with her journey of being fearless and how her family reacted on her decision to join movies, Sonali Bendre stated, “I am still asking myself 'Why I am doing it?' Every time I feel fearful of something now, I do it. Fear no longer has any place in my life. I had forgotten to be fearless. I realised I was fearless. I came to an industry, I had no idea about. I came from a very middle class Maharashtrian family. It was a big step to get into movies. My family was shocked. But I was so fearless to make this decision. But I didn't realise with time, I had become fearful, especially when I turned into a parent. For Goldie and me, it has been a journey of being fearless. Of course, the journey continues. The best part is I am alive and I am here, and I cannot thank the Universe enough.”
Sonali Bendre further talked about how she came up with the hashtag #OneDayAtATime and her ‘no hair’ phase, “Honestly, it is easier. A lot of baggage is off. Somewhere I realised, I was hiding a lot behind my hair. It is nice to look at it from all angles. My body is different, but I am making peace with it. It takes a lot of threshold to do that. I will be ok with my imperfections. I will find beauty in them. I have endorsed every hair product in my career. Looks have been my bread, butter, jam. Looks are important in our society. But considering that was the career, it has been scary. Because considering the world as I know it turned upside down or was no more there and when I came to know that I have cancer, I got my team together and told them about it. I told them that I have a disease, as a brand I endorse healthy products and a certain way of looks. I told them my brand was over.”
The Hum Saath Saath Hai actress went on to add, “I told them that I was going for this treatment and I don't know where this goes. They told me that we are in it with you and they have been with me wonderfully. I told them what I don't want is pity and sympathy. I don't believe in it. I will feel it. Goldie always said one day at a time. Hence, the hashtag.”
Revealing how the negative thoughts after getting diagnosed with cancer turned into positive thoughts, and why she shared the news with her fans on social media, Sonali Bendre said, “Everyone said, 'Your lifestyle was never like that. How did it happen to you?' I actually thought that it was me doing something wrong and that I have caused it. I actually went to a psychiatrist in New York because I was like, 'I don't understand what is happening to me. I'm not a negative person, I have a lot of positive thoughts. Am I being delusional and sweeping under the carpet? Do I actually have negative thoughts and I am burying it so deep in my sub conscience that I don't realise it?' I needed to understand what was happening to me. The line that he said is the hoarding for me in my life.” (Also Read: Tahira Kashyap And Sonali Bendre Share Awe-Inspiring Messages And Pictures On World Cancer Day)
Sharing what her psychiatrist said, Sonali continued, “He said, 'Sonali, cancer is caused by genetics or virus. If thoughts could cause or cure cancer, I would be the richest man on this earth because I deal with thoughts.' It was like a weight was lifted off. I said I can deal with this. I don't have to flog myself. Because I was doing that. I kept thinking what did I do wrong. I realised that we have done nothing wrong if we have got this disease. Every cancer is different. The symptoms and treatments are different and every human body deals with it differently. There are no formulas to it. That, I think, was the biggest takeaway for me. I don't know why people hide it and don't talk about it. As soon as I put that post out which was basically because I didn't want rumours or distortion, the response was so overwhelming.”
Acknowledging the immense support she received from her husband, Goldie Behl, her sister, Rupa and how maturely her son, Ranveer Behl reacted to the news, Sonali was quoted as saying, “I have had the most amazing support system. Goldie and my sister Rupa have been my support. Where Ranveer was concerned, he was on a school trip. I could've sent him home, but I said I need to see him. That's the way Goldie and I've brought him up. It was about telling him something very honestly. If he didn't tell him, he would probably misconstrue it. When Goldie told him, he went quiet. He said, "Mumma and me have read a book. This is going to be a tough time, we're all in it together." I felt he was tiptoeing around the process, but when he came a for the chemotherapy he said okay this is not so bad. I thought there would be blood and tubes.”
Sharing the difficult moments she face in those six months and the happiness she had when she came out of the hospital, Sonali remarked, “I was clear I wanted to be in-charge of my narrative. I would be dishonest if I say everything was sunshine. There is pain and you go through it and it is hard. The toughest part was the post the surgery. I have a scar which is 20 inches in the mid rift. My sister hugged me when I was going, I said don't be dramatic, I'm coming back. That part that I might not be there for my son and family was the most painful. I was happy when I came out of the hospital and said yes, I'm alive. Physical pain is painful, but mental is more painful.”
Speaking about her views on spirituality and what it means to her, Sonali added, “I needed logic. I have been looking for logic. There were lot of instructions and advice. So i shut everything down. The treatment has become gentler. I am getting better. The healing process starts. A lot of prayers were said for me. I think it was love that took me through it. We have to love ourselves to get through this. It was love that saw me through. For me spirituality is to love.”
Will she work again? Sonali Bendre answered, “I have reached a stage in my life when say I don't know if I will work. I don't feel insecure saying it. I don't know what I am going to do next. Will I act in movies? Maybe. But there is definitely something out that there that I have to do, I wouldn't be here otherwise. There is some purpose to it and I will find it. I will wait for it to show itself.” (Also Read: Sonali Bendre, On World Cancer Day, Shares She Laughed Through Chemo Sessions To Deal With Cancer)
Sonali, you are a brave heart! You have been an inspiration to many, and we wish you a speedy recovery!
When Bollywood actress, Sonali Bendre was diagnosed with cancer, millions of her fans had gone into a sort of depression overnight. Such was her fanbase and everyone was so tensed about the news that they weren't able to extract some hope from that situation. But even at that time, itRead More