Dear Mr Bachchan,
If not for you, I would have been a doctor, an engineer, a Chartered Accountant or maybe, a lawyer.
I’ll tell you how …
I come from a family of intelligent and great minds – my dad was and is a well-known doctor in Goa. My sister was a topper in college and my brother managed purely on merit to secure a seat in both IIT and medical college, in the same year!
So, when I, the youngest, floated up to that important year in every Indian student’s life – the 12th std, everyone outside of my immediate family, expected big things from me. All was okay-ish for the first few months of the academic year. Then towards the end, the kind souls at the Education Dept, declared a month’s break. It was called study leave for a reason! It was to give us time to study for the Board exams. And I fully planned to make good use of every minute and hour of those 30 days. I made a neat time-table for studies, meal times and sleep and stuck it up on the wall, next to your poster, opposite my bed.
Then, you came along! With the entire crew and cast which included, Zeenat Aman, Randhir Kapoor and Tina Munim, for the shooting of the film Pukar, right in the city of Panjim.
Big B was in town! Like the classic case of the mountain and Mahomet, THE MAN himself was like, literally at my doorstep! Oh, the excitement! It would have been a crime to expect a colossal fan of the Big B, like myself to sit at home merely to study for some silly exams! How could the Big B’s big fan resist his pukar? Your reputation as a superstar and mine as a super fan was at stake here!
My path ahead was clear. I hung a towel over my study time-table, pushed my books under the bed and took off every day to the shooting site, regularly, faithfully, as if I was in a 9 to 5 job. My poor mother did try to remind me that my Boards were due, but gave up completely when I proved that iss ladki ko ghar mein bitaana mushkil hi nahi, namumkin hai! There I would be hanging onto the rope cordoning off the area, along with hundreds of others, drooling over the sight of the tall lanky B and the seductive Z dancing around the trees, in the municipal garden of Panjim. Every day for a fortnight, in the hot baking sun, rubbing shoulders with the who’s who of street Romeos and other unsavoury characters. While my classmates were telling each other how many revisions they had completed for the exams, me and my companions on the street were telling each other how many times the Big B had looked in our direction.
By the end of the shooting schedule, when the crew and you packed up and left for other parts of Goa, your devoted fan who already had what the matrimonial columns call a wheatish complexion had now attained a shade which could give a massive complex to even a burnt dosa. My neighbours didn’t recognise me.
Back home, my parents nursed me back from the deep Bachchan coma I was in, our maid waded under the bed and gathered all my study material and wiped the dusted off them and I think my sister blew the conch and my brother beat the drums when I finally opened a book to study.
I passed the exams, just barely, but pass I did. With an over-all percentage which was mere inches above ground level, I wouldn’t have made it past even the gate-keepers at the professional colleges.
But who cares? For a fan like me, without seeing the Bachchan at least once, yeh jeena bhi koi jeena hai, Lallu!
Wishing you a very happy and healthy 80th birthday and then some!
Your fan … angrezon ke zamaneein ke time se! Aur aage bhi!
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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