BY Vani IN Guest post

If Charlie Sheen were Indian…[DailyO]

A week ago, Hollywood actor Charlie Sheen revealed that he was HIV positive. Having watched Two and a Half Men and Anger Management for years, it was a heady mix of emotions for me: sympathy, pain, anger, regret, disappointment. Finally, there was one question that ran through my mind: why did no one stop him when he was going down this road of substance abuse and promiscuity? Would things have been different if Sheen was in India and had the benefit of a close-knit social structure the way we have here?

As I got ruminating, one thing was clear: Sheen’s wayward ways would have attracted public scrutiny much earlier here, knowing that our neighbourhood aunties have a prurient fascination with other people’s sex lives. Sheen’s secret would have been out in no time, forcing him on a path of course-correction and rehabilitation. Now that’s one thing America lacks – the neighbourhood aunties, I mean – for how else was he able to sleep with five thousand women, men and transsexuals, and nobody even batted an eyelid or intervened?

Even if we forget his sexual misadventure, his narcissistic lifestyle would have earned him much vilification from the popular Indian press which so loves to act as the conscience-keeper of our society. This would have probably alerted someone from his family – parents, siblings, three ex-wives, five children, a grandchild. One of them would have drilled some sense into his head, told him that he didn’t have “tiger blood” or “Adonis DNA” like he thought, that karma, good or bad, catches up to you sooner than you think, that substance abuse and reckless sex would affect him the same way as it affects other human beings.

After Sheen’s interview with Matt Lauer on Today show, some psychiatrists came out saying that he probably had deep, unresolved issues, the reason he was so promiscuous, even living with prostitutes whom he called his “goddesses”. But hey, we aren’t talking about some coffee farmer in Rwanda with no money. Sheen was the highest paid actor on American television earning $1.25 million per episode of Two and a Half Men, which would have been enough to get him the best possible psychiatric help in America, don’t you think? If he was in India, he could have very well availed himself a past life regression analysis; we could have probably seen him in an episode of Raaz Pichhle Janam Ka, and felt mesmerised by how a trauma sustained two centuries ago was the cause of all this mayhem in his life.

And if he had a grandmother like mine, he wouldn’t have even needed regression therapy. She would have carried him to kirtans, put him on Baba Ramdev’s yoga, herbal medicines and lauki juice, made him listen to Indian classical music and given him an hourly dose of spiritual lecture, enough to put him off the path of carnal pleasures. A distant uncle would have then asked him to invest all his hard-earned money in LIC policies for securing the future of his children and grandchildren. Wouldn’t that have been better than “desperate charlatans” taking pecuniary advantage of him for keeping the secret of his medical condition secure with them?

That was the end of all my rumination and I realised Sheen was not in India, he neither earned in rupees and nor was he from the Indian middle class. But then I heard how Aamir Khan was planning to leave this country because of “intolerance”, just like his wife Kiran Rao had suggested, and thought maybe the slot created by him in Bollywood could be occupied by Sheen. However, looking at how our censor board had sanitised the latest James Bond film Spectre, I wasn’t sure what they would do if Sheen came up with something like Two and a Half Men here. Even the Indians can’t help him then!

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