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'The kind of stress and turmoil one goes through in a situation like this is beyond the imagination of anyone on the outside. Such an experience can kill you even if the illness doesn’t.'
Manisha Koirala tells Subhash K Jha how she overcame cancer.
Her bout with cancer behind her, Manisha Koirala is back to being her stunning, svelte self.
The new photo-session she has done with the top-notch fashion photographer Zakia is simply wow.
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Make-up: Zahra Zariwala
Manisha feels she is “born again”.
“This is a new me!! I cram in a lot more into 24 hours than I did earlier. I appreciate the time that I have far more than I did earlier. I don’t want to waste a single moment," she says.
“I want to actively promote a healthy lifestyle. But please, I don’t want to become a spiritual guru! I don’t want to be known as Ma Nisha. I am an actress first and last,” she adds.
The illness was a nightmare. “The kind of stress and turmoil one goes through in a situation like this is beyond the imagination of anyone on the outside. Such an experience can kill you even if the illness doesn’t.
“But then you can look at the crisis as a challenge, take it on and try to defeat it. I’ve been a fighter all my life. Giving up is not an option for me.”
Her very supportive family helped.
“My family, specially my mother, also my dad and my brother, were a big support. They never let me give up. My mom was there, always smiling. When I’d be in a depression and express my inability to go on bearing the pain, she would shake me up saying, ‘Nothing doing. Who will look after us in our old age?’
“I am lucky to have my parents and brother to see me through this.”
Manisha wants to write a book about her illness, healing, and what the experience taught her.
“I want to share not just how the illness changed my complete outlook on life, but also how all my experiences in life have benefited and harmed me.
“I want to tell the world that each day is important and that bonding with your loved ones is far more important than being sweet to strangers.
“My attitude to being healthy is very different now. It goes far deeper than looking good. One has to eat right, exercise, meditate and be happy.”
For now Manisha is not looking for romantic love. “I valued relationships with men a bit too much. Now I feel companionship has nothing to do with the conventional man-woman equation.
“A friend with whom you are not romantically involved can give you great companionship. Today I don’t need that one companion. At this point of time I am far more comfortable with my family and close friends. I don’t see the need for a lover.”
Then laughing she says, “I hope I haven’t become a saint. But at this point of time a man-woman relationship would be too exhausting for me. My main concern right now is my health, family and friends. If a relationship with a man gives me stress-free happiness, I am open to it.”
Always interested in spiritual matters -- she has done yoga and the Oneness meditation course -- Manisha is taking off for the US to learn the art of meditation known as Qipong.
“Qipong is the life-force. It is actually present everywhere in our universe. We just don’t know how to find and embrace it. This course will help me grasp the mystery of Qipong,” Manisha says.
Tai Chi comes from Qipong. It is actually a means to achieve a balanced life and equilibrium in one’s spirit. It also harnesses the materialistic side of your personality, she explains.