Former Miss India Universe, actress Tanushree Dutta celebrates her birthday today, on March 19. But she is not celebrating the day in a lavish manner, and instead spending some much-needed time with close friends and family on her special day. Speaking exclusively to ETimes, the actress reflects on all the near-death experiences she’s had so far and how they have shaped her up as a person. Excerpts:
You had near-death experiences in your growing-up years. What had happened?
I haven’t shared this with anyone but today, as it’s my birthday, I will. Not many are aware that I’ve had several near-death experiences in my life. People who experience NDEs (near-death experiences) usually tend not to fear death as much as regular people, and they are often risk-takers too, who like to live fully in every moment. I have a deep and profound respect for life as I’ve tasted death. I have been on the brink of death a few times in life but have been saved each time, miraculously.
I was a premature baby, born in seven months. Just after my birth, I was diagnosed with severe jaundice and the doctors had given up, asking my parents to be prepared for a funeral. But as fate would have it, I lived and was a healthy baby.
You mentioned several incidents. What were the other times?
The second incident that I can recount was when I moved to Mumbai during my modelling days, before Miss India 2004. I used to travel in local trains and other public transport. One day, a friend of mine and I were getting late and the train was a few minutes late too. Instead of taking the overbridge, my friend suggested we cross the tracks as many others were already doing. No train was due to arrive at that side of the platform, so, in the heat of the moment, without thinking that what I was doing was risky, I followed the crowd and started to cross the track. We were both new to the city back then. To our shock, we saw a train coming towards us at full speed and everyone around us started running helter-skelter; my friend and I were stuck between the lines of the track.
When the train was barely a few feet away, my friend suddenly pressed my head down to sit, and we hid in the gap between the wheels of the train and the barricade. There was just enough space for us to crouch and stay till the train would cross. It was only for a minute or maybe even less, but my whole life flashed before me like a movie. It was like a message from beyond. After that incident, my music video ‘Saiiyan Dil Mein Aana Re’ released and became a chartbuster. Thankfully, I never had to travel in local trains again.
Phew, that was scary! Were there more incidents?
Yes, once when I was going full speed on a scooter bike, heading to my destination, suddenly, a truck appeared in front of me. I was following all traffic rules and safety protocols but the truck driver had flouted the rules. I applied the brake but since I was riding full-speed, the brakes didn’t work and the truck was just a few meters away, but then, it passed by my side. Again, I was saved by a whisker in the nick of time. I stopped to rewind what had just happened and why I could not seem to make sense of it, but such is life: somethings don’t make sense. All these incidents happened before I won the Miss India pageant and became a film actress.