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In 1974, pictures appeared in magazines and newspapers of Protima Bedi streaking down a road in the centre of Bombay in broad daylight. There was immediate uproar. The incident was, in many ways, the culmination of a life of youthful rebellion and brash sexuality that Protima, the scandalous model and wife of the rising star of Bollywood, Kabir Bedi, had lived ever since she ran away from home to live 'in sin'. Barely four years later, the glamorous flower child had reinvented herself as an accomplished classical dancer, a devotee of Goddess Kali, and chosen the sari over slit skirts and halter-necks. Shortly before her death, she had shaved her head and decided on a monk's life. She died in August 1998, in a landslide in the Himalayas while on a pilgrimage to Kailash Mansarovar, leaving behind her most lasting achievement-a flourishing dance village, Nrityagram, where students continue to learn the classical dance styles of India. Few lives have been more eventful and controversial than Protima Bedi's, and Timepass, derived from her unfinished autobiography, journals and her letters to family, friends and lovers, is a startlingly frank and passionate memoir. Protima recounts with unflinching honesty the events that shaped her life: her humiliation as a child at being branded the ugly duckling, repeated rape by a cousin when she was barely ten, the failure of her 'open' marriage with Kabir Bedi, her many sexual encounters, and the romantic relationships she had with prominent politicians and artistes. She writes, too, of her involvement with dance, her relationship with her guru and fellow dancers, the difficult mission of establishing Nrityagram, and the suicide of her son-a tragedy from which she never fully recovered. In a moving afterword to the book, her daughter, Pooja Bedi, describes her last days and the circumstances of her death. Illustrated with over fifty photographs, Timepass is the story of a remarkable woman who had the spirit, the courage and the intelligence to live life entirely on her own terms.
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