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Meet Anu Aggarwal: Gold medallist to Aashiqui girl, powerlifter to yogini

Anu Aggarwal, who caused sensation as Aashiqui girl in 90s, turned to tantric practices and sanyas after a fatal accident. At TEDxWalledCity in Delhi, she shared her journey full of twists and turns. By Shreyansh Rawat  


Poster of Anu Aggarwal’s autobiography via HarperCollins

It was a moment of nostalgia when original Aashiqui girl Anu Aggarwal walked her way onto stage at TEDxWalledCity seminar and dived back into the times when her entry into the film industry had caused sensation. Before joining movies, she had already endorsed hot photoshoots and ad campaigns like that of condoms. “I had become the new sex bomb,” she said amid applause, adding, “Well, a sex bomb is better than a nuclear bomb, isn’t it?” causing more laughter among the audience.

From being an international model briefly and sensational Ashiqui girl to resorting sanyas and yoga, Anu Aggarwal has seen many twists and turns. In 1999, she had a near fatal accident in Mumbai and was treated at Breach Candy Hospital to recuperate after a 29-­day coma. She rose from where many die. She took sanyas, discarded her sea-facing Worli apartment. Later, she returned to Mumbai as a yogini.

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Anu Aggarwal speaking at TEDxWalledCity in Delhi/SANJEEV KUMAR

“I had almost died that night. The accident took away my memory. It took me time to believe that this was a planet, to understand the shift of energy which was the day and night. The doctors still think it’s a miracle that I am alive… Alive to tell you about the love I discovered through a ruptured body, bleeding-brain and several incisions of needles and sutures made with surgical thread tied tight,” she said.

Anu today looks disciplined, sometimes cold, but full of life. Her passion for yoga reflects in her speech and well-sculpted body. Post her accident, she also became an amateur power­lifter and competed in many power­lifting competitions. In fact, in one of her interviews, she said, “To feel strong, to walk amongst humans with a tremendous feeling of confidence and superiority is not at all wrong. The sense of superiority in bodily strength is borne out by the long history of mankind paying homage in folklore, song and poetry to strong women.”

But it was sanyas that “brought about alchemic changes within me.” “We are fearful and insecure, anxious and nervous, vulnerable and close-guarded. Our cities are being bombed, people are being killed and communities are rioting for their own demolition. In times such as these, we need compassion and love,” she said.

From her life and near-death experiences, she said her greatest pleasure is to be able to help others. She teaches Mumbai’s slum kids ‘AnuFun Yoga’, a healing module she developed after years of experimenting with Vipassana, Craniosacral therapy and Tantra across ashrams in Uttarakhand and Kutch. She teaches it for free.

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