The new Vicks ad, based on a true story, focusses on the moving relationship between a mother, Gauri Sawant, and her adopted daughter, Gayatri.
It opens with Gayatri, a young girl, fondly talking about her mother. She says that her mom is a self-made person.
Gayatri was 6 years old when her birth mother, a sex worker, died of HIV/AIDS. Gauri later adopted her.
Gayatri lovingly recalls how Gauri made her feel at home and took care of all her needs.
Gayatri then introduces her mother, Gauri Sawant, a transgender activist who’s fighting for equal rights for her people.
What I loved about the video was how it normalises both adoption and transgender rights, by showing that a trans woman is just as capable of raising a child, and that the mother-daughter bond can be just as strong.
I was so moved by their story that I wanted to find out more. I did a little research and found this article by Open magazine.
In the article, Gauri tells the interviewer about her childhood.
She was born in Pune, and was ill-treated by her family ever since she was found sleeping with a bra under her shirt. Her uncles watched her urinate, to make sure she was doing it standing up, like a man "should", and her father forced her to grow a moustache.
When she was asked to leave the house by her father, she had nowhere to go. Finally, Ashok Row Kavi, a gay rights activist, took her in and even paid for her education. Consequently, Gauri had sex reassignment surgeries done to complete her transition from male to female.
Gauri also says that it wasn't easy to raise Gayatri.
This was only because she picked up so much from her surroundings. It came to a head when she got into a fight at school and she began to clap aggressively and use abusive language. After that, she decided to put Gayatri in a boarding school.
Now, both of them have a good life. Gauri is the director of an organisation that helps people with AIDS and transgenders, called Sakhi Char Chowghi Trust. And when Gayatri comes home for holidays, the two spend all their time with each other. They hang out at the beach, watch movies, and eat homemade food.
Together, they're building their relationship, in spite of all the challenges in their way.
Watch the full video here:
We have reached out to Gauri Sawant. We’ll update this article when she responds.