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.”
“Really?”
“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.

20 comments:

Sathya said...

awesome stuff aust...

photos link share keejiye...

Sathya

mago said...

!
I would very much like to see a photograph of the event! He seemingly enjoyed your company! Next you'll write a skript for one of his films ...

Loup said...

Congratulations ji.. it must have been a great experience. Treasure it and relive when you close your eyes.

- Loup

shiv said...

Congratulations!!! wonderful that you got to meet him in person ... see, you did what I said.. and there is nothing else you could have done ..but touch his feet. It is very easy to guess what he must be as a person, but your account confirms it....it is great that you have been sharing the same photo frame as him but you should treasure the fact that you met awonderful human being

austere said...

Sathya- thanks, boss, He is a lovely human being.

mago- :) I wouldn't dream of asking a favor,better this way.

loup- it was out of this world. will remember to my old age. :)

shiv- amazing goodness. that's what I saw. just amazing.

AmitL said...

Oh,wow- that must have been a great experience, Austy- and, really, AB's aura is amazing- see him walking to his chair(throne?) in Bigg Boss and walking back-and,of course,his tete-a-tete's with the inmates.Yes,you're lucky,indeed.Great going.Pics,voice recordings,etc please.

Kash said...

Oh Austie....oh! oh! How beautifully you describe every moment, every gesture, every nuance...you have, quite literally recreated the magic here......

austere said...

Kash-- thank you. bigtime thank you.


amit- amazing PERSON. Yes, truly a once in lifetime oppty.

San said...

That's fantastic ... any photographs that you could share

Sharmila said...

Wow, a great narration here from you and happy that you got lucky! Well done!

PQ said...

Super Cool Austy....toh u were referrin to him when u were wonderin what to take...now I get it. AB mentioned in his blog too of some ladies coming to visit him...I did not relate it to you...now that I read back...he mentions your name and your friends too :-)..padha toh hoga na. Cool Austy! U met the legend...if I were u...i wld feel ki jeevan safal ho gaya :-) Saw paa recntly...wow!!! Really happy for you.

Reeham said...

Dearest Austere..

I am so glad that you were there, didn't know it, AB had mentioned Mira, i know Lily, I know that M is Madhumita, then i knew that AB xalled our very dear Kash by Karishma... but i am really so happy that you were one of them.. so happy that you all could made it.
Lovely to read your account about the meeting.. so happy dear.

Lots of love

reeham

austere said...

Reeham dear, thank you for being so so generous.. we were truly blessed.

PQ- now you understand my quandry!:) I'm touched beyond words.

Sharmila- thank you!

San- thank you too, I shd have taken a photo like your profile shot :))na?

Jasmine Jaywant said...

Dear Austere, what a delightfully well-written account of THE MEETING! I felt I was watching a movie -- it was so clear. How wonderful that you, L, M and Kash could meet HIM! So very, very happy for you. A moment to be treasured forever. Do share pics, would be lovely to put faces to names. Love, Jasmine

archana detroit said...

You have created a visual treat for us who were not lucky enough!! Its almost like I was there too! You have a nice way with words. Thank you very much for sharing your precious memories with us..
Take care. Archana Detroit.

austere said...

hey Jasmine- thanks.photos? now happily fat and frumpy me you don't want to see. :)


Archana- thank you. and a big thanks for commenting.

Arunima said...

tweng! just fainted.

ok, now I am back. oh my God! oh my God!

I could imagine very moment of it through your words and I am quite curious as to why and how this meeting happened?

Reshmi said...

Austeeee

Beautiful, beautiful account! Have read yours and Kash's so far. Moving onto L and M's next.

Super stuff. To think I missed out on the meeting by a thin line only because I had to be somewhere else. I know, I know, so near yet so far!!!

So happy for you.

I love India said...

Hello from snow Russia..

Happy New 2010 year!!

Saw ur photos of Mumbai.. very nice.. thank you.. I adore Mumbai.. Hope we can meet one day when i am in Mumbai..

Take care..

Zhenya

austere said...

Resh- thanks and such is life!

Zhenya- I look forward to that cup of coffee, yes!