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With Honour: Jaffrey's brutally honest take on his failure as a husband

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 17 November 2015, 9:24 IST

For the 90s' child, Saeed Jaffrey was the quintessential 'dad' who could switch from a spineless, stuttering semi-evil father-in-law in Bahu Ho Toh Aisi to the supporting Papa in Chaalbaaz.

He won a BAFTA for My Beautiful Laundrette (1985), a Filmfare award for Shatranj Ke Khiladi (1977) and received a nomination for his lead role in Masala (1992) by Genie Awards, but on social media this week, he won for the most heart-wrenching diary entry ever.

While no-one is able to confirm the authenticity of the entry - allegedly from his autobiography 'Saeed: An Actor's Journey' - it has been widely shared ever since it appeared on a Facebook page recently.

While paeans are being written paying tribute to the iconic actor, this excerpt is perhaps the only homage needed; it shows a man capable of the most brutal self-reflection and humility, one who didn't hesitate to salute another man who did what he himself couldn't do.

For the record, Saeed Jaffery's first wife was celebrated chef and author Madhur Jaffrey, with whom he had three daughters. He did not have any kids from his second marriage with Jennifer Jaffrey.

You can read the full post here:

I was 19 when I was married to Mehrunima who was 17. As I grew up, I was very fascinated by British culture in colonial India. I learnt to speak English fluently, wear suits with grace, and developed impeccable etiquette. But Mehrunima grew up to be my complete opposite - homely, a typical housewife. All my advice and admonishment couldn't change her basic personality - an obedient wife, a doting mother and a good homemaker.

But she was not what I wanted. More I tried to change her, the more we drifted apart. Gradually, she metamorphosed from a cheerful affectionate young girl into a quiet insecure woman. Meanwhile I started getting attracted to a co-actor of mine who was all what I wanted in my wife.

After 10 years of marriage, l divorced Mehrunima, left my home and married my co- actor. I had ensured financial security of Mehrunima and my kids . For about 6-7 months everything went well. Then I started realising, my new wife was not caring and affectionate. She was only concerned about her beauty, her ambitions, her wants and desires. Sometimes I missed Mehrunima's caring touch and concern for my welfare.

Life moved on. I and my new wife were two people liiving in a house, not one soul living in a home. I never went back to find out what happened to Mehrunima and my kids. After about 6 -7 years of my second marriage, I came across an article on a Madhur Jaffrey, an upcoming famous chef who had recently launched a book of her own recipes. The moment I looked at the picture of the smart elegant lady, I was stunned. It was Mehrunima. But how could it be?

She had remarried and changed her maiden name too.

I was shooting abroad at that time. She lived in US now. I caught the next flight to the US. I inquired about her whereabouts and went to meet her. She refused to see me. My daughter who was 14, and son who was 12, told her that they wanted to talk to me one last time. Her new husband was by her side. He was also my children's legal father now. To this date, I cannot forget what my children told me.

They told me that their new father understood the meaning of true love. He accepted Mehrunima as she was and never tried to change her, because he loves her more than he loved himself. He let her evolve at her own pace and never tried to force his wishes on her. He accepted and enjoyed her person as it was. And she has bloomed into a confident loving affectionate self-reliant lady today under her second husband's selfless love and acceptance.

First published: 17 November 2015, 9:24 IST