Geetha Bhascker Dhaassyam is one of those exuberant and exemplary persons who says, “The period and time between life and death can never be the same for any two individuals. It is left to each person to design the gap and live it to the fullest with dignity worth a remembrance.” She continues, “Each day dawns with a war between temptations and discipline, until the next, deciding the quality of a legacy.”
Geetha has lived through many unpleasant situations in her life without undermining herself. “Move on and not away” is only what she believes in. Geetha Bhascker is an artist who worked for commercial layouts and textile designing.
Family decided her career as a teacher and a role in her son, Tharun Bhascker’s short film, ‘Anukokunda’ helped her bag the character that led to fame and recognition in the film Fida directed by Shekhar Kammula, one of the well known directors of the film industry. Later she worked in some of the films like 118 (2019) and Ee Nagaraniki Emaindi (2018).
Reading through this article, it may seem like eulogising and symbolizing her patience. Yet the intention as she wishes, is to reach out to those who face similar situations or even worse. She means, never to take drastic decisions in life or run away from situations, however pushed. She wants everyone to understand how patience and conscientiousness in whatever one does will never be betrayed.
Nobody gave her hope for better conditions in life other than her husband. Though he had his drawbacks, she looked into the positive side of him. He encouraged her as best possible. Yet Geetha was left with people discouraging and ridiculing her stature, dressing, practices, and her upbringing.
Not meeting standards of status, she was avoided or insulted at gatherings. She never gave up and each of such push from others opened a door of opportunity for her.
When asked about her relationship with her father Geetha Bhascker replied , “My father never wanted a second girl child, but I happened to be one. I went through the brunt of being obese and teased always compared to my sister on English language skills.
I was bullied with comparisons to an extent that my uncle took me away to live at his house for a year. It wasn’t easy but fought back by practicing crosswords and writing poems to improve my hold on the language.
I was never pampered as other siblings. My marriage was then just a formality of social norms than my concerns. It was merely completing responsibilities and clearing the path for others. In fact, now my father who is 84 years old admits being indifferent to me. In fact he made me write a booklet on his life and made copies to be distributed for his 75th Birthday. Now I am fortunate for his blessings when most needed.”
Geetha Bhascker is a Chennai-based person who got married to an engineer, Vudhay Bhascker. Being jilted and pained he was addicted to undesirable habits. Due to political disturbances in the family, he also resigned a government job and was debt-ridden.
But his good nature was the only reason that held her back. Moreover she noticed many take advantage of his plain and uninhibited nature. She sensed his pain in being deprived of what he was actually entitled to. He was an expert in Vaasthu and numerology which he later took as his profession. Many who didn’t believe in it, derided. People around pushed her further with unwanted comments and discouragement.
Questioned with disgusting doubts for marrying a man without knowing his stature. Language and cultural imbalance created further disturbing moments. Worse was the pressures of the debts taken by her husband before marriage. There were relatives who barged in and pressurized to pledge her Jewelry and repay their dues.
Not the least, even took away furniture revealing stories of unsavory past. Her parents and other family members persuaded her to live on her own but she thought running away from one situation could only be a temporary solution and so continued to live up to having a child. There were days when Geetha could only afford to walk her son to school.
She felt it much painful when no one offered to help her travel and attend her mother’s funeral, which was sudden and unexpected. Fortunately, her father who had visited her place just the day before, gave his ring to pledge and fetch the flight tickets. That one incident drove her to go against the wish of her husband and she began to work as a teacher in school. He actually preferred her to do something creatively on her own rather than take up a job.
Geetha Bhascker thought work-life would bring a change of thoughts and also fulfill all their needs. But it turned vile when intolerances reached a peak. She was one of the many teachers in the art department of a reputed school.
There was a misconception among the staff members that Geetha Bhascker used political influence to get the job and created uncongenial situations for her with gossips. Her son who was studying in the same school was spared no less as anticipated by her husband who never wanted her to work in the same institution. His capabilities were ignored and many opportunities deprived, because he was a staff child. This created immense unrest in her family. None of them realized that her job was not a fancy but genuinely a support to her family.
She was told to paint walls and write names on tree guards wading through the bushes besides taking classes. She took it up without resentment and soon her work was recognized and received appreciation from many other staff members and parents.
This irked a few staff members who began to blame her as overpowering and overshadowing others. The situation once turned worse, when a school event article, covered by the newspapers had only her name mentioned.
She was cornered and questioned as to seeking media attention and shadowing others. One of the teachers and her family blamed Geetha Bhascker for her depressive bouts.
On one occasion the teacher took an extreme step of texting a suicide note to the principal. The reason being that the principal mentioned Geetha’s name and praised her as guiding the art department. It was an embarrassment when Geetha was called and questioned for no reason. For long she bore the brunt of being blamed for the teacher’s unusual tantrums but the bolt came in when she had threatened a reason and blamed Geetha for her insecurities in life.
Geetha was more affected by the ones who supported the teacher’s weakness and made it more unpleasant for her to work. She put up everything with the love and strong bonding that she garnered from her students. She waited until her son completed his schooling because she had a concession of his fee, a privilege for working in the same school, which was a blessing to her financial situation.
Incidents kept haunting her to such an extent and on the advice of her family, she resigned not bothering the sixth pay commission that was newly implemented. Her support staff raised his hand to almost hit her, out of concern, and tried to stop her from leaving the job as there was a big hike in her salary. But she stepped down and felt mentally relieved.
She was pushed back on the road of financial insecurities. She felt that a full-time job was never her cup of tea and became a rolling stone with no moss attached! She took up part-time teaching jobs as a better option. Thankfully, she rose again to be recognized as a trainer in communication skills and visual arts for bigger institutions.
She ignored the criticism of some teachers who derided her as fit only for art and not as qualified to teach English. She thoroughly loved visiting various institutes, meeting different people, making friends instead of getting stuck in one place. In the process, she said she was learning too and also found time to be with her son and look into his skills and activities as he was more than just being good at studies.
With a child mostly of a father’s dream, the obsessiveness and concerns for the son consoled her of all the other setbacks. Danced to her husband’s tunes in their son’s upbringing. Income was always an issue as he never settled with a job nor compromised on his living styles. He always preferred houses beyond capacities of paying rent as he felt space mattered for his son’s creative thinking.
Not understanding this helpless situation, Geetha was blamed as encouraging her husband’s frivolous expenditure on rents and once his brother thoughtlessly verbalized that they’d one day face a situation of going homeless. True to his words, they went through the brunt of court eviction in one of the houses and was shunted with all their belongings strewn outside. They moved over to her husband’s sister’s house.
A demeaning situation that was uncalled for as the saying in Telugu goes, ‘chedi chellalu entiki povadhu’. The most challenging was handling her son’s depression that followed. With all this and more, which she refrained to reveal as too unsavory to print though, she never walked out of the relationship with her husband as she respected the ardent love between the son and the father. She saw a reason in everything her husband did, just to make their son be what he is today. He got him married without any expectations from the bride’s family such that he always lived in dignity.
Geetha’s husband’s death was sudden. She felt lost again not knowing how to take her husband’s dream forward in making her son, a film-maker. Debts, bank notices and court summons kept haunting her.
Her son Tharun Bhascker was then just stepping into films and to put a foot forward was intensely painful emotionally and financially. Thanks to her teaching profession that kept her sane and a few people who she feels always indebted for helping her clear most of the debts.
Geetha Bhascker Dhaassyam worked extra hours and took all opportunities that came her way. One was the offer to act in the film Fidaa. It came as a blessing to her in many ways. She was able to get away from her emotional bouts. She wasn’t spared of the tag ‘widow’.
All her normal activities seemed to go under a scanner leaving her dazed and hesitant of every move she took. She’s thankful to her son and daughter-in-law who encouraged her against the raised eyebrows as it wasn’t even a year since her husband’s death.
The trips to Banswada for the movie Fidaa taught her to be strong and independent. There was a scene in the film where she had to invite people with the traditional ‘kumkum bottu’ for the marriage of her niece, as part of the story.
She hesitated a lot to enact that scene as it can never happen for a widow in real-life situations. But the unconventional attitude of Director Shekar Kamula instilled strength in her to live on as a woman. He made her do the role with confidence. The whole crew seemed like a second family to her.
Back home by then, it was the success of her son Tharun Bhascker Dhaassyam’s debut movie ‘Pelli Chupulu’. She sensed the difference of treatments being a widow, but she silently ignored and told herself that no one can change the fact that Tharun is her child.
Fortunately, the role she played in Fidaa was fondly liked by many and appreciated. She felt content, walking past the rough path that destiny laid. She has passed the stages of a woman to the best possible. Yet people, especially fellow women, gave her the social label, ‘widow’. But Geetha Bhascker moves on with the strength of her family and students, especially.
Nothing deterred her from penning her thoughts into a book “Destiny’s Child”, nor conducting an art exhibition with her students of various batches.
She lives on packing her day with work and listening to music, giving no time for regrets. While she does agree not to live in the past, she does not believe in forgetting for she says that a flash of those spills recalled helps handle the present and live the future more judiciously.
Geetha Bhascker draws strength in her rigid practices and assertions against any unfavorable conditions. She recalls the period of one such quality as said by her that each time she rode over the flyover at Begumpet , everyday to school with her son on the pillion of her Scooty, particularly at one point, for some reason or perhaps for sure, she would tell herself, “Yes days will change and all that is now shall pass for better days ahead.”
Days have undeniably changed, yet her dreams move on. She wants to write more, paint again and of course, teach as always and act when opportunities come her way.
With the magical charm that’s innate in her skills and the rough seas that she’s sailed through to become what she is now, we believe that Geetha Bhascker will continue to influence youngsters for generations to come.
To move on and not away.