Bagmati River Cleanup Campaign

Bagmati River Cleaning Campaign
Chain of Volunteers Cleaning Bagmati River

Just as I was named Goodwill Ambassador for cleaning Bagmati recently, I became fearful of my voluntary job. What if I fail to achieve some concrete results in the cleaning project of Mother Bagmati River? This is the lifeline of humans, cattle and vegetation in and around the precious and picturesque Kathmandu. Our home is so beautiful yet it has been plagued by irresponsible human behavior of throwing trash, garbage and plastic poison in the holy river. As an achiever, I value success I wish and hope for success in every endeavor I embark upon. I hope it ends with some tangible value for my community and myself. And, I am talking about my hometown, Kathmandu.

Manisha Koirala during the Bagmati River Cleaning CampaignEarlier on when I was appointment Goodwill Ambassador to Natural Disaster Fund, post the massive earthquake that my country faced. I remember the immense suffering of the people in Sindhupal and adjacent effected areas. How can I forget the young mother who was blankly staring at the horizon, her mind far away, trying to solve problems that had engulfed so many people, people with destroyed homes and perished hopes of finding their loved ones. The physical tremors of the massive quake may have subsided but what there are still challenging days where family members are lost, where homes, hopes and will are crushed. How to repair homes, rebuild lives and relive the dreams they had lost? While I took my appointment seriously and held many high level meetings, I must admit the results were disappointing. So little was done, so little achieved, so little hopes revived. During Sajha Sawal, it became starkly clear we had failed the earthquake victims. We all share that burden of non-delivery at the most critical time of our recent tragedy. No I’m not alone in this failure – the rulers, bureaucrats, the government in succession have failed. I feel ashamed for this non-delivery. Do ALL others who were accountable and responsible, feel as ashamed? I sincerely do question.

WhatsApp Image 2017-06-24 at 3.43.49 PMIn 2010, post my marriage, Kathmandu became my home and cleaning Bagmati was one of my personal ambition and for that I had formed a core group. In the process of research we met and discovered about Vaidya who tirelessly worked everyday to clean the river. My professional life then took me back to Mumbai. After seven years, the challenge and opportunity is again in front of me. I am really excited to fulfill my dream to create a clean Bagmati for all the valley residents and the habitat.

Manisha Koirala during the Bagmati River Cleaning CampaignWhatsApp Image 2017-06-24 at 3.37.10 PMIn the process of working for cleaning for Bagmati I had the opportunity to have two most important meetings. One was with the government body and the other one was with a group of dedicated volunteers. It seems to me, that both the government and the volunteers are quiet earnest about this issue. During the government body meeting, it was made clear that they have thought through a permanent solution, which would indeed take a few years, provided we dedicatedly work towards it. The solution would also require large amounts of funding. The core issues they wish to tackle included:

  • The building two dams so that the flow of water is consistent throughout the year and the flushing of the garbage happens.
  • Separation of the sewage system from the river.
  • Plotting plants near the river to purify the water.
  • The encroachment of the river and the land around it, this has to be tackled well.
  • Beautification of the river site in which many companies have already committed.

Manisha Koirala during the Bagmati River Cleaning CampaignWhatsApp Image 2017-06-24 at 3.37.10 PM

What I learnt in the meeting with the dedicated volunteers was that they have taken this cleaning campaign as a symbol to bring about good values in life. That’s why, without any financial support or any selfish gain they volunteer in the clean Bagmati campaign. Every Saturday, on their holiday, they are up from 7am to 9am, for two hours they go and pick other peoples garbage. No self-interest, no money involved, they in fact even put money from their pocket. They do service without any selfish interest and they are dedicated to it until Bagmati is not clean completely.

Manisha Koirala during the Bagmati River Cleaning Campaign
With the volunteers of Bagmati River Cleaning Campaign

Looking at them, and being fully fully aware of my responsibilities and also about my serious limitations about being able to deliver, I do carry hopes that together we will succeed. A goodwill Ambassador has very limited, restrictive power and few resources at disposal. But I know that I can raise my voice, advise for right actions, bring people on board, and show faith and commitment, which of course I shall do. Every day, I will hope and work for better tomorrow with cleaner Bagmati and fresh air. We are all entitled to this dream. This must be delivered. We must not fail again.

On Women Empowerment

What does women empowerment actually mean? To me it means the ability to control my life; to confidently make a decision for myself, and to have the ability to dream, aspire and achieve goals. To live a full life the way life is meant to be lived, for me that is empowerment.

Swami Vivekanand Ji had once said said, “There is no chance of the welfare of the world unless the condition of the women is improved, for it is not possible for a bird to fly only on one wing.” and it is important to talk about this for in a patriarchal society like ours when a boy is born there is so much of pride and so much of joy, “beta hua hai-beta hua hai.” We hear that with so much of pride and joy, but is it their the same pride and joy when a girl child is born?

Let me share my personal story. When I was born, my Nanaji, my mum’s father, made a disappointed face. My mum was deeply hurt. She didn’t speak to him for weeks, and when I got to know about this years later, I was deeply hurt too. It made me wonder that why my birth did not give joy to my grandfather?

I found a common thinking behind this, which is so common in everybody that beta is a symbol of security and bread winner- “Hamare budhape ka sahara banega, Budhape ka lathi, Hamara vansh chalyega.” Whereas, the moment a girl is born, a sense of responsibility comes. Her safety/security becomes the prime most important thing for a parent, and the best way to ensure that is to get her married. To me it appears as though the responsibility is shunned from one hand to other.

Let us take a journey into a woman’s life from the time she is conceived in a mother’s womb till the time she dies. First issue, female infanticide, almost 50% girls under the age of 18 are married off. India and Nepal both featured lowest in female literacy.

Next, dowry issues, this problem is not only available for the poor and uneducated, but I was appalled to know that this problem exists in the middle class and upper middle class families too.

Domestic violence, crimes like assault, kidnap, rape, and acid attacks. When we hear so many stories on the news, it makes me wonder aren’t there laws? But of course we have laws, but implementing these laws are a problem because of the legal loopholes. There is a need to implement the laws so that there is a fear of the law. We need to hear more stories like if there is crime committed against woman, he is punished by the law. We need to see more examples like this.

Another rampant issue, income inequality. Imagine your equally talented, equally hardworking and equally sincere in your job as your male colleague, but just because your colleague is a male, he would get 25% more income. Is this fair?

As a Bollywood actress, I my story to share. There was a time when I was doing a lot of movies, and I was at the top of my game. I was shocked to know that the difference between my salary and the hero’s salary was huge. I thought I was important for the film, but when I saw this, I was hurt and disappointed. I asked the producer of this, told him that this makes me feel unwanted and small. Think about it, why don’t they make movies with only men, if female actors are not valued enough?

Finally, and the most important point is political participation. We have almost 50% of the \ voters as women, yet only 11% member of parliament are women. Imagine, if we have more women on decision-making chairs, on policy making and changing chairs; the kind of parliament we would have, and the kind of government we would have. We need more women in our boardrooms, in our courtrooms, in our schools and universities. The kind of society we would be making. The kind of nation we would be having.

I asked a question to myself: What can I write that would add value to you dear reader? Not long ago; some years back. When I was young, I saw double standards in our society, and in my work area. It angered me, and then I became a rebel. A rebel without a cause. I am not saying that’s the best way to be or that’s the best way to react. Many years later with a couple of wrong decisions, I now know better.

I am a little wise now, and in times of confusion, and in times of disappointment there is a better way to deal with, which is to stay inspired with the great ladies that this country had already produced. We had Rani Lakshmi Bai known as Jhansi ki rani. We had Ahilya Bai, and we had a Kalpana Chawla, we had a Mother Teresa. There are so many women, we need can be inspired by them. When it is in our culture, and in our history, for in our genes then why not take benefit from that. Let us remember them, and in times of confusion never forget who we are, we are Shakti, the wisdom to deal with life’s problems is all within us.

Trust the process.

What should one do, when you have too many dreams and goals, but neither the time or the physical capacity to see it through? That’s how I feel at times, overwhelmed !! I’m sure its pretty common with most of us, especially those who are on the crossroads where one life chapter gets over and before you start another, there is a struggle to get clarity. It gets confusing, does it not ?

At this stage in my life, I still feel like the same 16 year old, on the precipice of cinema… with big dreams, shy, nervous, unsure, slightly lost and slightly alone. (Even though there was ample of advisors and mentors, no was saying “that this route and for sure you will succeed,” Notice how we all love to give advice, yet we feel clueless in our own challenging times.) 

That time, it was the dream of being an acclaimed actress, but in this second phase of life, I have so many more goals to accomplish.. directing films, starting wellness programs, pushing more awareness for cancer patients, even opening shelters for the poorer patients, I definitely want to write a book too, and all the while living between Mumbai, Goa, Kathmandu and NYC… aaaahhh !! 

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Right now I’m in Thailand to be a Bikram Yoga Teacher… as you all know wellness is my passion and an integral part of wellness is Yoga and so here I am. There are days where I feel I have taken on too much… Bikram Yoga twice a day, 90 mins each session in 105 fahrenheit temperature trying to perfect the 26 postures and all this amongst experienced practitioners !!! Everybody here is well toned and so balanced… and I know I have a long long way to go and yet I have to be mindful if I’m overloading myself. I have to keep watch on my harmony between body, mind, soul….

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And so just like my 16 year old self… I struggle, I have anxiety, I shed a couple of tears, and I have my inhibitions… what if I’m not good enough? Have I done the right thing?  Again slightly lost and slightly confused… This is when I remember people who have converted adversity into opportunity, meeting these people, learning about their human spirit, acts like my own personal fuel !!! Such people never give up, they aren’t confined to being too old to change or too scared to try some thing different and new… 

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So, Just like before, this chapter too is new and this new road is tough and its dark out there… but despite the fears, the tears.. one must walk.. walk.. walk.. with faith.. trusting the process!!

My Experience At Mahakumbh

Manisha Koirala with Pilot baba at Mahakumbh 2016

During the Maha Kumbha, city of Ujjain witnessed a gathering of 60 million people. I have had a longing to go to such places since 2013 when I was in bed dealing with cancer and uncertainty of my life loomed over me. My mother’s guru Sri Pilot Baba was present with his followers and my mother was constantly on phone during that time, there was so much talk happening, so, to see a grand event of unimaginable scale, I had made a promise to my self that I will experience it at least once..if life allowed me !!

It so happened this year mothers day coincided with it and my mom wished to go as she had prayed for my life…dwadash jyotirling trip was my promise to mom n her promise to god..

Here are some glimpses:Manisha Koirala at mahakumbh 2016

Manisha Koirala at Mahakumbh 2016

Would I do it again? Yes for sure !!!!! I love India’s rich tradition, millions of people coming together with devotion in their hearts and yearning for moksham.Where else can I see such a sight? In the rich company of naga sadhus, sages and saint..I was in bliss ! 🙂

Manisha Koirala at Mahakumbh 2016

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Rezendevous with Rachna Chhachhi

Isn’t meeting amazing people a part of life. I am blessed to have met some really amazing people in this journey of life. And, one such amazing person is Rachna Chhachhi. Rachna is a Nutritional Therapist, Author & Wellness Entrepreneur. Rachna has cured hundreds of people suffering where medical science offers no treatment except to suppress the disease. Rachna helps patients go to the cause and root the disease out.

Rachna Chhachhi
Rachna Chhachhi

I am sharing my amazing Q&A session with Rachna.

1) What’s the real reason behind so many lifestyle diseases cropping up?
Rachna Says: “80% of lifestyle diseases are caused by an inflammatory lifestyle, including 70% of all cancers which are lifestyle related. We’re seeing almost an epidemic proportion of people being hit by disease and I myself get people as young as 18-19 years suffering from disorders caused by their lifestyle.”

2) Is there a damage control strategy or once you get the disease, like you adopted with yourself, or people have to live with it till you are alive?
Rachna Says: “Of course there is. Not only is there damage control but you can reverse the disease itself and live healthier than you ever lived. But that requires major changes in your eating, living and exercise habits, so a lot of people prefer popping allopathic pills that suppress the symptoms of the disease, thereby causing long term side effects of medicines that can be irreversible sometimes. I suffered these and was bed ridden, so I had the motivation to reverse my disease, get certified to help others, just like you are doing. People like us who suffer, have a very high level of commitment towards disease reversal because they have taken the tough path.”

3) What are the 5 things you would tell a person with an inflammatory condition?

Rachna Suggests:

  • Eat 50-60% raw foods. Wash them well. Customise these raw foods to your condition by consulting with a nutrition expert.
  • Do pranayamas. Consult with an expert as all pranayamas are not for all diseases, some can actually aggravate a condition. Do the pranayama best for your issue, do it every day, and oxygenate your body. Cancer cells cannot survive in an oxygenated body. Oxygenation of the brain cells makes them sharp, reversing memory loss.
  • Eat your good fats raw. Good fats decrease inflammation. Consume nuts, seeds, extra virgin oils raw. Good fats cut bad fats, sharpen the brain and memory, reduce stress and depression.
  • Take vitamins & minerals supplements. Depending on your health issue, you should consume supplements that can hasten the process of healing. We live in a world of anti-nutrients: these being stress, pollution, pesticides, less sleep. This makes absorption of nutrients from food less and repair of the body’s cells cannot happen in a low nutrient environment. Now there are so many studies that have proven that vitamin C lowers blood pressure and pain, vitamin B reverses memory loss, minerals and enzymes aid the process of recovery and probiotic supplements heal a compromised stomach lining destroyed by junk food and medicines. But don’t take supplements without consulting a nutrition expert. There are enough cases of non nutrition health experts (including some doctors) prescribing vitamins wrongly, that have led to toxicity.
  • Sleep 8 hours a day. Every day. It cuts the risk of ageing, heart disease, pain issues, type 2 diabetes and memory related decline.

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Finally, at One With Myself!

Ray Bradbury, the famous author once said, “Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a landmine. The landmine is me. After the explosion, I spend the rest of the day putting the pieces together.” 

Many modern professionals will resonate with this description of their day in which they become slaves to deadlines, constraints and urgent demands by the minute on them. Each time I would feel like this, I would wonder whether I was meant to lead such a fragmented life? Why could I not feel One in Mind, Body and Spirit?

Several areas of my life needed urgent fixing. Life was playing “catch ball” with me. Sometimes I dodged the ball; other times I caught it. But I knew this ‘living on edge’ was no way to live. I needed trusted tools to deal with problems. I needed a strong armor to face life’s battle.

And then I found it. My spiritual anchor–Oneness University.

What have I learnt there?  To discover oneness within oneself, in the family, in society and in the country. It doesn’t stop there. One also discovers oneness on the planet, with living things, with the universe and finally Oneness with the Divine. 

Manisha's God's Altar.
My God’s Altar.

The most precious lesson I have learnt how individual transformation leads to global transformation. I learnt how to joyfully follow one’s passions, lead a life unified in mind-body- spirit while balancing home and career. All this while continuing to grow in spirituality, in income, in peace and in compassion to all.

Three teachings are very close to my heart:

  1. Relationships: We often use relationships to fulfil our needs, insecurities, ideologies, belief systems. Imagine what our relationships would be if we saw them as our own reflection? How would we treat others if they were us– our image ? 

    sessions at amazing oneness campus
    A Panoramic View Of One Of The Sessions At The Oneness Campus.
  2. Awareness: Our external world is a mirror of our inner world. Watching our mind is a tool to clean all the hurts and disappointments rooted within us, possibly since childhood. 

    Shri Kalki Bhagavan and Shri Amma Bhagavan
    Shri Kalki Bhagavan, Shri Amma Bhagavan and the Dasa’s at Oneness University.
  3. Deeksha: Oneness Deeksha is a phenomenon sourced in the deep passion, intent and the spiritual sadhanas of Sri Amma Bhagavan. Deeksha catalyses the secular and spiritual evolution of individuals and communities through a neurobiological shift brought about by a Divine Energy Transfer.

Today, I can deal with anything life throws at me. Amidst the chaos of life, I have reached a clarity. I feel whole, unified—in harmony with myself.

Every ship needs an anchor. Every life needs one too. I bow in gratitude to Oneness University for being mine.

So today, I wish to share with you words which I read somewhere–words which have had a deep impact on me:

Stop chasing what your mind wants and you will get what your soul needs.

manisha koirala signature

Harmful Effects Of Free Radicals

We always want to review our life style so that we can live healthily to our full potential at every given age. In my view every age is beautiful and I absolutely love the term “ageing gracefully” rather then pathetically inducing unnatural youth. A balanced life filled with  exercise (according to your body and age) + nutrition’s + adequate rest are potent scavengers of free radicals. Which implicated in ageing faster and in a number of human diseases such as cancer, atherosclerosis, malaria and in rheumatoid arthritis. 

Free radicals
Harmful effects of free radicals.
  • Follow a balanced training program that emphasizes on regular exercise and eat 5 servings of fruit or vegetables per day. This will ensure that you are developing your inherent antioxidant systems and that your diet is providing the necessary components.

    fight free radicals
    Healthy diet fights with free radicals.
  • Weekend warriors should strongly consider a more balanced approach to exercise. If failing that, consider supplementation.
  • Look for upcoming FDA recommendations, but be wary of advertising and media hype.     

    effects of antioxidants
    Effects of antioxidants.
  • Do not over supplement. The supplements of antioxidants are believed to help protect the damage of body from free-radicals. But before you go out and stock your pantry with mega-doses of these vitamins, be warned: more is not always better. The long-term effects of large doses of these nutrients has not been proven yet. Other chemicals and substances found in natural sources of antioxidants may also be responsible for the beneficial effects.

❤ Lastly if we can incorporate being around nature and deep breathe looking at its beauty and feel nourished every day, there is nothing like it!! life can be lived beautifully at every junction with mindfulness. Cheers to happy and healthy life!!  🙂

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Medicine Man

Hippocrates (father of medicine) studied, practiced and taught medicine. Contemporaries Plato and Aristotle wrote of his fame as a physician. It is impossible to deny the impact of Hippocrates and his followers on hundreds of generations of healers who followed...The_staff_of_Asklepius

The symbol of Hippocrates is prominent in medical practice. I was seeing this sign everywhere I traveled and wondered what did it mean? So in my blog a separate section is dedicated to the many healers I meet. Nicolas is one of them, who is so unique and radical in his approach that fascinates me to no end.. Expert in ancient Chinese methods of healing through Qi Gong, Tai Chi. He left all of worldly attachments for spiritual pursuit, spent years in the mountains of Tibet and now he travels throughout the world healing people & giving lectures.

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And when I stumble upon these questions, I asked Nicolas.

How do you manage to live in so much uncertainty, when you can easily afford to be secured?

Nicolas: “To live in such uncertainty requires faith and courage; faith that you are not alone and will be taken care if -by a higher force- no matter what the hardships and difficulties. And courage to undergo the uncertainty and hardships without anything. ( from the mundane world) but your belief and faith in a higher power. Secondly it requires an understanding that everything is exactly as it should be, so what is the need to worry? The uncertainty is only the voice of the ego and it’s need to be in control. With faith and understanding one smiles and gives thanks.”

What motivates you to heal people, when it’s not all about money? 

Nicolas: “Love and joy, pure and simple. One cannot attach to the results, because they come independently of the healer. A healer is a conduit a channel, but the healing comes independently. Attachment comes from ego, love and joy come from the soul. So what motivates me to heal is the unity and fulfillment I get from purposeful and soulful living. Healing is just another word for living selflessly and helping others to  find their souls and then to heal themselves naturally.”

What is a balanced life according to you?

Nicolas: “A  balanced life is a natural life in harmony with nature. The way of finding this balance lies naturally and spontaneously within the natural world, not within artificial institutions and man-made values. To follow this way means to be natural and to harmonize oneself with the natural flow of ones soul and  ones body in nature. This balance- and the right direction- is encoded within the ways of life itself. Nothing is to be taught, since everything is already known naturally and inherently.  To follow the way of balance in life is to follow the universal way. To follow the way is to be one and in harmony with the way if nature and the Way of the soul.”

Tai Chi Qi Gong Healing

Nicolas Healing PeopleNicolas Healing PeopleNicolas Healing PeopleNicolas Healing PeopleNicolas Healing PeopleNicolas Healing PeopleNicolas Healing People

Reach Nicolas.

Sleep…zzz

My brother said ‘if you can’t sleep, try and do something, like watch a film, read a book, listen to music etc..  as I have been terrified of waking up in the night I could NEVER really enjoy any of this. Heart pounding, head buzzing with worry and whole of next day..being a zombie. I have struggled with insomnia for ten years , may be more..and I know how bad it is! My worst nightmare was to lie awake, without my sleeping pills , which I had gotten so used to..(doctors in my family prescribed low dose of Ativan after doing a lot of effort in convincing because its highly addictive ) as a result I got hugely dependent on tabs to help me sleep…

I guess years of unskillful lifestyle bombarded with stress, erratic shooting hours in nights or staying up late in parties..could be the trigger. Health deteriorates if we don’t get 8 to 9 hrs of sleep daily, specially our immune system goes for a toss. Sleep is a very important aspect of healing as in this time our cells are getting regenerated and recharges too.

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lavender soap, bath oil and bath salts

My tried and tested methods are.

1) No caffeine in the evening.

2) Slow down the pace of activity as the night falls.

3) Take hot bath (l m a big fan of lavender oil,soaps,bath salts).

4) Soft music..relax.

5) meditate, do breath watch n meditate. I FIND THIS SPECIALLY EFFECTIVE FOR SLEEP.

6) NO TV and No comp (this one is my struggle as I get free in evening and would like to check my mails or catch up on news etc..hence I m mindful that I won’t switch on comp or tv after n if I do its only for 30 mins and thats all).

7) Read a book.

8) Fix a time to go to bed n wake up, this really works as body loves discipline. BUT  my freedom from it actually happened after a long stint in oneness university as the result of my intense prayers!! The day I could sleep without tab peacefully for 8 hrs, I celebrated with my teachers in oneness university!!

Interestingly I stumbled upon articles on plants that promotes sleep..wow, who could think of that?

Aloe vera is an excellent indoor plant. 

Lavender plant..You may have used lavender essential oil, but have you ever tried growing your own lavender plant? 

Jasmine plant.. Just smelling this plant may help to reduce anxiety and stress.

English ivy.. is classy and easy to grow and this affordable plant may help you to significantly improve the quality of sleep.  

Snake plant..are easy to keep alive and are great for interior decorating. Snake plants are believed to improve air quality by filtering the air and thus improving the overall atmosphere of a home.  

The purer the air the better sleep at night and more productivity during the day!  

I read anything under the sky about insomnia, talk about it passionately as I KNOW  the struggle. So I will suggest few good articles on insomnia and how to get rid of it.

AND  at the cost of sounding cliché i will say..”YOU CAN DO IT..IF I CAN SO CAN YOU”” 

Good reads..

Actor prepares..

My grand ma told me ‘even if you want to be a mali (gardener) you must aim to be the best in your profession’!!

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Looking back, this one sentence has driven me to do a lot of hardwork in the sense I have taken up long infact very long hours of rehearsals, the look test (which has hours of discussion with the stylist or designer about the costume, jewellery, hair n’ make up), understanding the psychology & thought process, the language (my weak point – hence even more effort) etc.. Though I must admit during my hay days of shoot, when I was running from one set to another and working on 12 films/yr, all 360 days and at times 18 hrs/day hence I never got chance to rehearse, but there were directors who insisted upon rehearsals back then too & it definitely shows in the final product. I feel a genius is a product of anxiety filled long hrs of hard work, and total focused effort to bring out that lil extra in the character, beyond what writer has written or director has imagined (if that is possible because I have seen good directors have thought about various aspects themselves 😉

So before we go on set, one is totally relaxed and let the intuition guide you. We train enough and not more, what I mean is we need to be a lot flexible because our sets, lighting, actors are all fluid. We need to have flexibility to be able to blend accordingly to the last minute changes. Ha, you might think its tough, it is! But artists are trained and this is what seperates a good peformace to an exceptional one. Who does this? An ARTIST!

When Vinod Chopra told me that I was a shit actress it was a turning point in my acting career as that drove me to put in relentless long hrs to understand why?

Since then I haven’t looked back..

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