Constant jibes at one's shortcomings can bog down a person, but Vani Chaturvedi, aka Thapki because of her stammering, is made of a different mettle.
The protagonist of the TV show 'Thapki... Pyaar Ki' that launches tonight on Colors (it will air Monday to Saturday at 7 pm), considers her stammering to be her strength. She believes that it gives her more time to spend with a person. But not everyone sees it that way — they find her struggle with speech funny and mock her about it, which makes her turn towards her parents for strength and assurance.
Says Thapki (played by newcomer Jigyasa Singh, who has now literally started living the life of her character), 'I stammer more in abnormal and uncomfortable situations. I don't stammer much when at home; it gets triggered off by nervousness. My biggest strength are my parents. They have supported me in all my endeavours. Every time I stammer, they give me a pat on the back, which we call 'thapki pyaar ki'. They make me believe that my weakness is actually a strength.'
While her parents are her source of strength, Thapki idolizes Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan. 'Hrithik has been my inspiration. When he made his debut, people were mesmerized with his acting, looks and dancing prowess. All that overshadowed his speech problem as a kid. I want people to take notice of Thapki's strengths and not what they label as my weakness,' she says.
Through the show, Thapki aims at changing the mindset of people and making them more receptive towards people with shortcomings. She says, 'Our society is insensitive towards people with shortcomings. But I won't let it affect or discourage me. I feel bad sometimes, and even break down at times. Although I have a high threshold when it comes to patience, I can't take my parents being insulted, lying down. Why should my parents be held responsible for my shortcomings? They shouldn't be blamed for it. It's a stereotype and I aim to break it. With this show, I intend to inspire people, not seek their sympathy. Woh ruk ruk kar bolti hai, but uska kaam nahi rukta. My motto in life is to be happy and keep everyone happy.'
We hear that Thapki is undergoing speech therapy and reading newspapers to overcome her problem. 'I don't look at it as a problem, but if you want to live in harmony with others, you have to blend in with them, and not away from them,' she says pragmatically.
But there is another reason behind the therapy to correct her speech problem. She reveals, 'I want to pursue a career in journalism, I aspire to be an anchor some day. I have a keen interest in capturing people's imagination. And I want to meet Hrithik and interview him one day.'
While she wants to follow her dreams and aspirations, her mother wants her to get married. Ask her about her views on marriage, she replies, 'Marriage is a beautiful institution. I would definitely like to get married to the man of my dreams and am sure I will meet Mr Right one day. God has been very kind and has blessed me with everything. I am certain that my Mr Right will waltz into my life when the time is right. I want my man to be understanding, loving and caring, just like my parents. I want him to treat me like how my father treats my mother in front of others. He should be a good human being and accept me the way I am. He should not treat me like an inferior, but accept me as someone unique.'