I used to be a big Sharukh Khan fan. I was 15 when I first saw him in the television serial ‘Fauji’. It was fated to happen. I stalked him through his TV serials, even if it was only a minor role and watched him in countless movies paying good money for it. After almost 20 years, I had to tearfully end this relationship – I could not bear him becoming the ‘Don’. I had to let him go, for our relationship had turned bitter. I had to remain sane so I bid him Adieu. But then you can never let go of people you have loved, can you?
Part I: Chennai Express
What alerted us to the fact that something was off-kilter was, the two helicopters flying constantly overhead circling our apartment block in Miramar, Goa. My children were glued to the window and were excited to the see one of the helicopters almost skimming the water at the delta where the river Mandovi meets the Arabian Sea. I had already promised my kids and the neighbourhood children a trip to the beach behind our house and they were already in a frenzy and now the helicopters pushed their imagination into overdrive. My son was sure it must be the police hunting a criminal and he was regaling our household-help with how the criminal must have broken-out of a prison. I told them to get dressed so that we can hit the beach before the sun is too high and we all get sunburnt. Mothers, such kill-joys!
So we went to the beach – my two children and my neighbours three boys,me and my extra-large beach bag. The extra-large beach bag (which we shall call Elbb) is because my children could die of malnutrition and thirst in the 100 meters it takes to get to the beach and the hour we spend there, they might cut themselves and catch tetanus from a sharp sea-shell. They also need liters of sunscreen and towels (though I have not figured out how to optimally use the towels to get them home, dry and sand less. I take them nevertheless). I also carry a large umbrella as a sunshade. I have learnt that to be a mom means you have to be prepared for disasters every minute. We prevent and manage disasters every day with such cold efficiency it would bring tears to people who work at Natural Disaster agencies world over. Put moms in charge of all these agencies and see how well equipped we will be with band-aids and disinfectant, enough to wrap and disinfect the entire planet.
Anyway, so there I was with my bag and baggage at the beach which is a public beach but mostly used by people from my apartment block and the tourists staying at the Mariott which is our neighbour. The Mariott beach guard gave us the insider scoop- he told us that they are shooting ‘Chennai Express’ with Sharukh Khan at the Mariott and surrounding areas! I was aghast! I had been postponing getting a manicure and pedicure due to time constraints and here was my ex-hero at such a close proximity. Plus I was in a shapeless baggy trousers! Alright there is probably no right garment that is going to make me look like a bombshell but hey, I would have put in a little more effort!
We couldn’t see much as the boat in which we supposed SRK was in the middle and surrounded by other boats. But we did crane our necks and tried to wave to the helicopters and the fishing boat which was stationed at the beach supplying the film crew with whatever they needed.
The kids lost interest in the helicopter that was doing amazing stunts and went off to play in the water. After an hour in 37°C I was close to collapse from sunstroke, so we called it a day and walked back home – all wet and sandy but gleeful – the children because they were wet and sandy, me because I had realized that I am back to hero-worshipping – teenage is not an age, its a state-of-mind!. It put a spring in my otherwise exhausted step.
That was the part about ‘King Khan’. The ‘Divide and Rule’ part follows