Strength woman

Avril- Ann Bra­ganza talks to ac­tivist; ath­lete; ther­a­pist and co­me­dian Vasu Prim­lani, re­cip­i­ent of the pres­ti­gious Pres­i­dent of In­dia’s award for women— the Nari Shakti award 2016

DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - FRONT PAGE -

tand- up co­me­dian, B- school pro­fes­sor, cor­po­rate trainer, en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist, triath­lete and so­matic ther­a­pist— no, this story is not about six peo­ple, just one. Vasu Prim­lani, who’s won the Pres­i­dent’s Nari Shakti award, packs in all this and more. Did we men­tion she’s also train­ing for the Iron­man Triathlon, which will be held this July? How does Prim­lani man­age so much? “My par­ents said, ‘ You can do what­ever you want; if it’s good, the re­wards are yours. If it’s bad, don’t come cry­ing to us. Whether or not we un­der­stand it, we will sup­port what­ever you take up’. My fa­ther, who was a lieu­tenant colonel in the Queen’s Com­mand, taught us ( my twin sis­ter and me) not just to fol­low rules, but to break them. He told us, ‘ No mat­ter the rule or who or­ders you, think for your­self ’.” ‘ Try’ is the key­word for the 42- year- old, who shut­tles between US and In­dia ( Delhi and Mum­bai). “I am nei­ther the bright­est, strong­est, nor the fastest, but I try with all my heart. My mother taught us to do our best. So I try my best, that’s all,” the short- haired Prim­lani, dressed in a blue checked shirt and cargo pants, says sim­ply. Hav­ing spent 17 years in the US, Prim­lani re­turned to In­dia to be with her 95- year- old ail­ing fa­ther. “He had con­sti­pa­tion for four days, he nearly died. I got two jokes out of that too— my fa­ther had con­sti­pa­tion for four days and it scared the shit out of us. And my fa­ther is a royal pain in the ass, he’s such a pain in the ass that af­ter four days of con­sti­pa­tion he was a pain in his own ass. I was writ­ing this in the ICU.”

SAs a stand- up co­me­dian for chil­dren, she also teaches con­cepts of con­sent, re­spect, gen­der equal­ity and civic sense. Her show My­self Tinda Badal is about a ‘ bad’ Sikh boy who mis­be­haves, comes last in class and is proud of it. “As a ther­a­pist, I don’t tell chil­dren what to do. I mis­be­have, so I have them tell me what I should do. When they do that, they’re most likely to em­body that be­hav­iour.”

Prim­lani has also per­formed on a flight. “I was trav­el­ling on South­west Air­lines. I gen­er­ally talk to the crew. I said, ‘ I’m a stand- up co­me­dian. How about I do a lit­tle show for you?’ The crew ar­ranged it, gave me the pas­sen­ger an­nounce­ment sys­tem, and I did a 5- 7 minute show. One of my lines there was, ‘ Talk about a cap­tive au­di­ence. If you don’t like my jokes, you could al­ways walk out’. But look at the trust they gave me. They didn’t know me and if I had said one word— n**** r, bomb, Osama bin Laden— they would have been sued.”

Vasu Prim­lani re­ceiv­ing the Nari Shakti award from Pres­i­dent Pranab Mukher­jee, ( R) train­ing for the Iron­man Triathlon

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