“I don’t take my life seriously, but I take what I do — in my life — seriously.” — Audrey Hepburn
Image by WikiImages from Pixabay
One weekend night, mom called me to the sitting room and said: “Benka, come here! Here is the film you’ll love. There is an actress who is very beautiful and incredibly wonderful when she smiles. You love her… We love her” (meant my mom, granny, and aunt). It piqued my interest, so I rushed to see her. Everyone gathered to watch Roman Holiday. I was 6 or 7 then, but I was so excited after watching the film that I longed to watch it again.
Some years after that, I came across Sabrina. Old movies were not shown often at that time. We couldn’t afford the DVDs or videotapes, so it was a matter of whether my prayer would be answered while going from one channel to another, hoping that her movie was there. It would be answered. Sabrina came to be my favorite. I have this fetish for watching this movie bazillion times because of its elegant clothes that sit sooo well on Audrey, and the script of the film itself is relatable to me.
Then came Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and I would say to my mom, I love when she calls those millionaires “super rats!”
Initially, I couldn’t remember her name. (I was 6 years old!) It was tricky for me to pronounce Audrey Hepburn. I would say Buden Hearden. Whenever I noticed her in the magazines, posters at the shops or streets, I would get excited. I loved her. I kept asking myself what it was about her that made me love her. The love would grow. It was only when I became a teenager I got to know more about her.Image by aks9215 from Pixabay
I think she influenced me in a way that I started to imitate her. The unconditional kindness that she spread around herself was visible in the characters she played. When I watched as a kid Breakfast at Tiffany’s, I never realized that Holy is a prostitute who lived her life to survive and provide for her family. Her kindness was able to hide the vulgarity about the character she played at Tiffany’s.
My friends know me as an Audrey fan. Everywhere they see my stuff, something will be connected with her. People say that I have a heart of an old-aged person because I long for that kind of old Hollywood movies. She introduced me to the Hollywood Classics, but until 20, I only watched and rewatched her movies. Through her, I found myself inclined towards the past times. Sometimes I get obsessed with her in a way that I even start to think of the afterlife. Once I asked my mom: “How can I make sure that she will be in heaven?” She told me to pray for her. Seasons change and worries go. I calm down. Then that wave of love for her come back again and again. The interesting thing — it never tires me.Audrey believed in pink. So do I. (That’s how I came to love “La vie En Rose”. Still cracking my head to sing it in French though). People tell me that I don’t understand life because I don’t experience it. Well, I beg to differ. Pink is not the color of naivety or ignorance. For me it is the color of art, patience and understanding.Photo by Cristiane Teston on Unsplash
Today is not her birthday or the day of her death. It is just the moment for me to remember her because some external forces blew into my mind sweet reminiscences about how it all started. Many people have been teachers of my life, and I wholeheartedly feel indebted for them. But she was the first, and the day she entered my life stays in my mind forever. One day I wish to visit her cemetery and pray for her. Audrey came early into my life and helped define my identity. Imitating is not internalising your fake self but individualising it through love. And indeed, Love she is!
I’ve long had this eagerness to write about the woman who I fell in love with at first sight. I am happy that I did it. Let me know if you are also an Audrey fan :).
For Audrey with Love was originally published in ILLUMINATION on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.