Friday, December 18, 2009
I do not win the lottery. Or lucky draws.
Or have lady luck shower her benediction. Generally.
Nope. Just the way it is.
So I was stunned when my friend M mailed, in our flurry of whatyou’redoin daily mails, “Hey you know what? AB Corp actually replied.”
“They’ll try fit us in, they’ll get back later.”
“So we’ll see later.” No point in building great hopes.
Not that I’m star struck. Or a celebrity hounder. Hell, film mags weren’t allowed at home when we were growing up. And I went close to a decade with NO movies-- I was sulking.
But Amitabh Bachchan? Sholay and Muquaddar ka Sikander and Abhimaan and Zanjeer and Black and the Last Lear.And AAA. And KBC- “Lock kar diya jaye”!
AB is AB. AB is God.
And that “later”? The closer it got to the big day; I had a hunch it would work out.
And yes, it did.
We kept it a secret from our friend K.
She has health issues and can get happily hyper. So a last-minute secret.
The previous evening, I check out from work early, feeling like a kid bunking school.
The four of us meet for the first time ever at a MacD’s, and then proceed to a movie, to Paa.
What a crazy, noisy meet. Strangers look at us and grin.
Then the big moment.
We show K the address slip.
With a flourish. And a straight face.
“We’re going here tomorrow. You know what this is?” Squeals and whoops. A Kodak moment. An “Oh I can’t believe this!” moment.
(The movie leaves me thoughtful. But more of that later.)
“What shall we give him?”
What do you give a man who has the world at his feet? Demi-God status for millions?
L says we get him a card. Something personal. Something us.
I use letter paper that I’ve hoarded for the last ten years. And sneak in a translation.
The next afternoon, I take a half day off.
We meet at Kailash Parbat for lunch. We draw curious looks with all the laughter and leg pulling.
“Must leave by 3.30, the man’s a stickler for punctuality…”
L has no card—she’s been up all night with an allergy. So she creates a card from an envelope minutes before we enter the office. That’s L.
The office is a lovely 4 storeyed building, right on the key road.
But first we go all over Juhu Gaothan, asking people for directions.
We are ushered in through the gates..
Climbing past a tasteful pichwai featuring the big B, we reach a meeting room.
And we wait.
A wall length portrait of the man has K almost devotional. “The great man himself… oooh what shall I say?”
And I tease her some more.
Footsteps. Someone checks for tea, coffee, anything? L says she’ll have AB.
And I look at the art, the books. The inland letters with smudged handwriting, framed on the wall.
And then the big man himself.
Hugs, so much laughter. I touch his feet.
We talk. L asks him to identify us, a mix-up.
And we sit across the table and talk.He’s so genuine, so DARN nice.
All this while his blackberry is beeping, his cell is silent.
AB invites us for a photoshoot! The studio is on the next floor.K is escorted up in the lift.
As shot after shot is composed,
We witness one of India’s top photographers in action.
We witness what a perfectionist AB can be.
And what a natural.
We get a group photo. With the Big Man.
Then we present our cards, and ask permission to shoot – on our point and cliks.
And for autographs.
And are gifted copies of Paa.
By now we’re fretful, we’ve taken entirely too much of his time.
There is one more surprise.
He escorts us to the gate! (Baba is so impressed when he hears this)
We take our leave and we go Prithvi-wards, to noisily discuss, dissect and tease over a cup of coffee.
We’re still mesmerized.I am.
Thank you, for making me believe. That I'm lucky. Sometimes.