In an exclusive interview with ParentCircle, the winner of the latest season of Kaun Banega Crorepati talks about her struggles and how her two children and her mother are her biggest supporters
By Meera Mathews Marrate
The first person to win Rs 1 crore in KBC 9, 41-year-old Anamika Majumdar from Jamshedpur, Jharkhand gives credit to her children and her mother for always standing by her, both in success and hardship. The social worker says that her children had immense faith that she would win. “They are my backbone,” she says. Anamika’s mother is an inspiration to her and she was happy that her mother witnessed her triumph at the show.
All her hopes had been pinned on winning so that the prize money could be used for the betterment of underprivileged children and women in her State. The vivacious social worker spoke to ParentCircle about her struggles and her dreams.
What was your children’s reaction to you going on KBC? Did they think that you would make it?
They were very supportive. They were confident that I will make it to the hot seat. In fact, they are most excited about the fact that their prediction about my win came true.
Is there a defining moment that made you decide to join up for KBC?
It wasn’t a momentary decision. I run an NGO for children called FAITH (Female Aura Initiated Towards Hope) IN INDIA and it is a home for around 300 children. For a year and a half, we were running short of funds. And the children had pinned their hope on the organisation to give them a better life. I had approached the government and other organisations for help but to no avail. I was at my wit’s end. That was when I happened to see the KBC registration ads and thought that I should give it a try.
Was the process to get in challenging?
Surprisingly, the process went off smoothly. Each stage went off without a hitch.
What was your family’s reaction when they heard your decision to join?
It was a well-kept secret. Only my children were aware. Neither my husband nor my parents knew about it up until the time I had to go to Mumbai for auditions.
What was your preparation like? Did your children help you prepare?
After I got through the auditions, I had about a month’s time to get ready for the quiz. Out of this, I got only around 10 days to prepare as my children had their examinations going on and I had to help them with their preparation. My children gave me a lot of suggestions in terms of what I needed to read up on and that was a big help. My schedule during the day is quite hectic, so most days I used to stay up at night and prepare.
How did your mother feel about accompanying you to the show?
I had sprung a surprise on her when I asked her to join me. She is very knowledgeable about mythology and I told her that I might seek her help in that subject during the show. But that apart, I wanted her to come on television and thought it will be a wonderful experience for her. She went through a lot of difficulties to bring us up and I wanted everyone to know I have a great mother. She was very nervous to be there and kept telling me not to call her out.
Did your mother get a chance to speak to Amitabh Bachchan?
Yes, she did get to meet and speak to him. Interestingly, Amitabhji asked her why she didn’t try to join and sit on the hot seat. And my mother responded saying “beti bhi adha maa hoti hai” (“the daughter is anyway part of the mother”)
What was going through your mind when you won?
There was so much riding on the win and I would have been deeply disappointed. So, I was extremely grateful.
What was the motivation behind starting your NGO, Faith In India? Any particular incident that has impacted you?
I am from a regular joint family and most of my time goes in taking care of the house, the children and looking after the elders. I used to take my children to a nearby playground, where I spotted few children who looked malnourished and were behaving abnormally. When I enquired, it was shocking to find out that there were a lot of homeless kids addicted to substances. I made an effort to send them to rehabilitation centres but they would run away from there.
This made a significant impact on me as I had a strong sense of social equality and would often wonder where the world was heading to. In fact, I wasn’t even keen on getting married but my parents were quite stubborn that I had to.
After a lot of failed attempts in rehabilitating them, what finally struck a chord with these kids was music, art and culture. I involved them in small dance dramas and many of the children started participating actively.
What was your children’s reaction when you decided to start? Did they ever feel left out?
Initially, it was difficult for them to adjust. But they overcame it quickly. As my program was based on music and arts they started enjoying the process and got involved in it as well. I had done a course in sound engineering and put up a studio in my house. When I started composing my own songs, they were my biggest critics and support. We are a team now and they are my two backbones.
Wouldn't your family resent it, if you did not use the KBC money for their benefit? Are you planning to use all the money for the NGO?
I am planning to use the money for social work. Part of it will go to my NGO and some for the betterment of Jharkhand.
What about your children? Any demands from them?
Their only demand is to have a pet dog.
How did it feel to sit opposite Amitabh Bachchan. He has a larger than life personality, were you nervous?
I was extremely nervous and frankly, all your concentration is on him. Even to the extent that if I knew the answer to a question, I would doubt myself because my focus was on him. He has such a larger than life personality that when he walked in, the whole audience was spellbound.
As a woman and a champion of the underprivileged, what message do you want to give to the country?
When you become a parent, you’ll realise you have a lot of strength and potential which you didn’t know existed. My request to everyone is to make use of it and channel it in the right direction.
What is in store for you?
The women in Jharkhand would love to meet Mr Modi and have written a letter to him. He is an inspiration to all of us here.
Also read our article on the ill-effects of reality TV:
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Meera Mathews Marrate