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Editorial|30th Sep, 17

Bewakoof Confessions with Teena Singh


From being a small town girl, to being the Nescafe poster girl all over city. Get inspired by Teena Singh's tale of never changing for the winds, a tale of defiance, perseverance and success! 

 

If you drive or have been driven around the city lately, or subscribe to a daily newspaper, or scroll through facebook to kill some time, chances are you’ve seen her face - the new Nescafe Girl - Teena Singh! While she looks like a wide-eyed girl next door having her morning cup of joe, she is far from it. While we hear people describe themselves as unconventional all the time, we know very few who have lived their lives as a testament to that definition. Allow Teena to show you, how she really has.

"For me my long hair that I wasn’t allowed to cut, was a sign of bondage. So one fine day, I asked one of my roommates to chop it off, and she was really scared too, because she knew how conservative and rigid my family’s beliefs were. But I told her I’ll tell them I did it, so she cut it up to my shoulders and I felt this rush of freedom! Since then it has only gotten shorter"

 

“When I was in school in Punjab I was dark-skinned and chubby, so definitely I was not one of the popular kids”, and I was constantly bullied. Teena hails from Punjab, her family was very conservative and she remembers going to school and seeing kids with these funky and hip hairstyles and wondering why she wasn’t allowed to cut and style her hair and or why it was such a big deal. “When I went to boarding school, it was a total culture shock for me, cause there were kids from all over the country”. Teena recalls thinking in that moment that she was not meant for this place, she was meant to do something much bigger, and it was the first time she found her inner rebel calling. “For me my long hair that I wasn’t allowed to cut, was a sign of bondage. So one fine day, I asked one of my roommates to chop it off, and she was really scared too, because she knew how conservative and rigid my family’s beliefs were. But I told her I’ll tell them I did it, so she cut it up to my shoulders and I felt this rush of freedom! Since then it has only gotten shorter”, there’s a twinkle in her eyes as she says that.

So did you ever have acting as a plan in life. “Oh God no! My plan was to get out of Punjab before they got me married, so I told my father I want to move to Delhi and as expected he was furious, and said no boy from our family has ever left Punjab, how could you imagine we’d let you go and everyone else too was against it. So he let me be and thought I’d change my mind and later when he realised I didn’t, he gave way.

“So I went for it, one day I was hanging out at Thalassa, a renowned restaurant in Goa, and Mariketty Grana, the owner of the restaurant came up to me and said would you like to tend the bar for us, and I said I don’t know how to, but she said I could learn and they were giving me a good pay and accommodation, so I called my boss in Delhi and said, I am not coming back!”

 

So I left and I have never looked back since. I had no choice but to be financially independent so I started working in events and then later PR”. Like most of us, she said it was good, stable and “I got decent money so I went with it, but I wasn’t happy or content, after a while it was boring”. While most us end up feeling that way, not all of us have the courage to do anything about it, we take small breaks and feel refreshed. But Teena has never learnt to settle, so she headed to Goa for a 2 month Yoga Retreat. “So I went for it, one day I was hanging out at Thalassa, a renowned restaurant in Goa, and Mariketty Grana, the owner of the restaurant came up to me and said would you like to tend the bar for us, and I said I don’t know how to, but she said I could learn and they were giving me a good pay and accommodation, so I called my boss in Delhi and said, I am not coming back!”

“I was just mesmerized by it, and everyday is a challenge, so I found it what I wanted to, cause no two days are alike here, and that’s what I always wanted”

 

We still haven’t gotten around to her introduction to tinsel town but I don’t mind, I am just awed by her experiences, there is something very intriguing about how boldly she accepts even her vulnerability. While most celebrities like to be seen as somewhat flawless much like their appearances on camera, Teena has no such inhibitions. “I moved to Mumbai, because I fell in love with a guy!”, she confessed. “We opened an event management company and it was going good, and it was him, who said that I should go for auditions, because I was approached a few times. You know they’re always looking for fresh faces here.” She mentions that she never had an “Aha moment”, it was very gradual, but her decision to stay came from her initial encounters with the film set, first for Fitoor and then for Akira. “I was just mesmerized by it, and everyday is a challenge, so I found it what I wanted to, cause no two days are alike here, and that’s what I always wanted”. 

If you go through Teena’s social media page, she is always at some new restaurant, so when we talked food she said, “Yeah, I don’t drink, so that leaves me with food and I love food, I am a Sardarni and our love for food is well known, on any given day I’d take Rajma Chawal over anything else, and I love Mangoes(that was said with a surprisingly innocent enthusiasm of a 5 year old)”.

“Don’t let anyone tell you what you can, and cannot do, because nobody sees your dream like you do. Hard work and believing in yourself against all odds is what matters in the end!”

 

When I ask her what kept her going through the ups and downs in her life, and all the obstacles she faced and still faces, especially as a the dark-skinned bob-cut actress in this industry and more likely to experience prejudice and be typecasted, she says, “There are bad days just like everyone else, but I live close to the sea, so I look out towards it and hear the waves and it’s like therapy and I tell myself that I need to move on.” And as she looks out of her window, I see someone much different than the girl in the Nescafe posters, someone more like a hot cup of coffee that will give you a wake up call to follow through on your dreams. “Don’t let anyone tell you what you can, and cannot do, because nobody sees your dream like you do. Hard work and believing in yourself against all odds is what matters in the end!”.

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