Anu Aggarwal: Her life as a recluse

An unusual status update on Facebook caught my attention.

It was not just a Facebook status but a statement which a lot of people will find difficult to relate to.

It was a status update that would get anybody curious. I wouldn’t be able to replicate the exact words, but the update went something like this…

‘Today I found a tear-drop rolling down my left cheek. I was surprised. My mother was ecstatic! She said, ‘Look Anu, you are crying!’ This is the first time in so many years that I felt a tear-drop on cheeks. I feel so happy!’

So, what is it about a drop of tear that was making this woman so happy?

I decided to find out more about the woman who posted this curious status update on Facebook.

The name of the woman is Anu Aggarwal — the siren who made young India skip a beat when she took shelter under Rahul Roy’s jacket in an iconic scene from Aashiqui (1990), exactly 23 years ago. Anu Aggarwal still remains a mystery to most after she suddenly disappeared from Bollywood a few years later. Most don’t know where she is and what she is doing.

Yes, she has an amazing story to tell. It is a story of survival against such odds that appeared insurmountable at first.

The accident which nearly killed Anu Aggarwal

What the status didn’t say was this: It’s been more than a decade since Anu Aggarwal cried. The same Anu, who sobbed uncontrollably on screen in Aashiqui because her father was not letting her meet her boyfriend, had forgotten how to cry.

It is because Anu Aggarwal was nearly killed in an accident in 1999.

The Anu Aggarwal who emerged from the wreck was a new woman.

After the accident, Anu ‘slept’ for 29 days at a stretch and then suddenly snapped out of the coma to discover that she had broken 29 bones in her body. The accident was so severe that a part of her body including a portion of her face was paralysed.

Had it been anyone else, he or she would have probably thought that life couldn’t have been more cruel.

But the accident gave birth to a new Anu Aggarwal.

I have been interacting with Anu through her Facebook page. It seemed that she is basking in the peace of staying far away from Bollywood.

What happened to Anu Aggarwal?

If you ask her, she will say that she doesn’t remember what happened except for the fact that she was driving a car and then she crashed it at high speed. Beyond this fact there is nothing left in her memory.

There are few facts available about the accident except for that it happened in 1999 in south Mumbai and from where an unconscious Anu was taken to Breach Candy Hospital.

There she did not respond to treatment initially but her heart was beating like normal. The beating of heart never stopped for 29 days as she lay in a coma at the ICU of Breach Candy Hospital.

When she opened her eyes, her slate had been wiped clean. She couldn’t remember anything that led to the crash.

Some eyewitnesses who visited her after the crash said that Anu was speaking in English all the time and once-in-a-while she would be left blank in between conversations.

Over the next 10 days, after she woke up from her coma, Anu had difficulty recognising people.

But it would be wrong to assume that Anu Aggarwal retreated into a self-imposed exile after the accident.

Anu Aggarwal had left Bollywood long ago nearly four before her accident to live a life of a recluse. She had already chosen a life of a traveller, flitting across continents to attend yoga camps.

Anu had bid adieu to Bollywood and is not planning to return either.

This is the reason why you don’t find her interviews in the media post 1995.

Where is Anu Aggarwal now?

It’s difficult to reach Anu Aggarwal today when she decides to be offline. She has always hated to remain under the spotlight and today, she teaches yoga at the Bihar School of Yoga in Munger, Bihar.

There Anu has a small room for herself which is devoid of any luxuries that she once enjoyed while living in Mumbai.

Every year, hundreds of aspirants enrol for the yoga courses at the Ashram and if you are lucky, you will get to stay on the campus.

Anu is one of the most low-key but highly efficient teachers there. Anu does come to Mumbai once in a while but those trips are always hush-hush.

It has been reported that Anu is writing an autobiography about her days as a model and an actor.

Just like her, the book promised to be a no-holds-barred revelation of her past which includes stories of how she was treated by her former boyfriends and her drug abuse.

Those were the days that shaped Anu Aggarwal as a star. But the Anu Aggarwal of today, who is looking back at those days, is a different woman.

She is writing the book on this desk (picture on left).

Today Anu is not the person she used to be. She is a person who never cared about media exposure. Maybe that explains why she hasn’t responded to most journalists who are chasing her day in and day out for an interview.

If you want to follow her life, I suggest you follow the updates on her Facebook page.

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