Then, suddenly, Harshad who was my “talent in-charge”, came to the room and said Shahrukh Khan had come early and we would begin shooting soon.
Mad scramble to get ready began ! I think I tied my saree in two minutes after make up and ran down to the sets which accounts for the flat hair and saree tied before I put on my high heels ( vanity check).I was running late and Juliet was waiting to brief us at the speaker huddle.
I entered the little room behind the set, rushed because I had had just ten minutes to get ready, she looked up from the speaker huddle and exclaimed, “You look like an exotic bird!”. (Thought blurb in my head – should have worn the staid black saree instead !)
Then she smiled and said we must take a photo together and put me at ease.
Juliet Blake and I had dinner that night and we spoke about many things. Working in the media, patriarchy both in India and in America, where she lives, the changing roles of women and our own personal stories.
She had been the champion of the #100sareepact to become a #TEDtalk, I discovered at dinner that night, because she got it. I’d met Juliet for the first time the same day, in the morning, at rehearsals, and here we were, two women who had just met, understood what it means to be driven by a passion project, and persevered to see things through by keeping the faith.
I confess I was a bit awed when I thought about just who I was sitting with that night.
We spoke about the pact and my challenge of keeping it free from any commercial compulsions. That’s when I shared an instance that dated to the year of the pact. Not even a month into the pact and I was asked if I wanted to take advantage of the pact and make money from it. I’d refused and said I’d rather nurture it and let it grow, and then in half jest I’d announced, quite grandly, that I wanted a platform like TED to recognize the building of the #100sareepact community, thinking, knowing, that I was getting ahead of myself.
Wise Juliet, who is the head of television at TED, listened patiently and smiled and said, “That was a ‘God Wink’ moment, Anju”.
She proceeded to tell me about her friend who had told her about ‘God Winks’ – positive signs, turning points, decisions we take, that we must pay attention to, to keep the faith, to speak our truth ( my thought blurb – Brain, please make sure the spoon of palak dal reaches my mouth and does not dribble down my chin because just like that, we were talking about Oprah !!!).
Juliet has also made the film The Hundred Foot Journey, and had a powerful “God Wink” story she shared ( that is hers to tell ).
She gave me hope at that dinner table that night. And hope is what I pass on to you.
Whatever you do, don’t give up on hope, never stop believing and always, always be kind, like she was to me.
Things have a way of turning out just like you had hoped for, in time, if you persevere.
Wishing each one of you the courage to know your God Winks (yes, we are appropriating the phrase from now on, with due credit to Oprah, Juliet). May we each continue to recognize and build on positivity that touches our lives.
Thank you Juliet for being a guide and a friend to me that day on.
The #100sareepact is now a TED talk. To each person who made the pact their own, whether you wore one saree or more, and told your story, this is because of you.
I hope you never stop voicing your stories, your truth. Because the time to listen to the voice of women, is now.

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