It was Shah Rukh Khan’s, birthday yesterday, November 2nd. My children and I went to see his latest film Ra.One. We are all his fans and Shah Rukh has a deeper connection with my family and me.

Way back in 1970s, we lived in a green residential part of New Delhi. It is called Green Park and it was green. There is a deer park, walking distance from our house and it has some amazing ruins of Delhi’s bygone era. Back then it also had many peacocks, deers and the Neel Gai. Early mornings, some of the peacocks flew into the parks that our houses faced, leaving behind exuberant feathers on the play ground, that we as children collected later during the day!

We lived in a large complex of apartment blocks. Each block had a small ground for the children to play. I was an active and sporty child. And was part of a large gang of girls and boys of all ages, who played various games each evening after school and homework.

The highlight of this piece is that Shah Rukh Khan was also part of this gang. He was our neighbour. We often played games like kabbadi, Langdi Taang (hopping on one leg), base ball (which some kid who had been to the US taught us), Hide and seek (the innumerable apartment blocks provided plenty of hiding places) and more such games.

The boys often played cricket and football and many a times Shah Rukh with other boys broke our window pane as our house was on the ground floor and closer to the playground. He of course replaced it later also! My father called him Shah Look!

Now one instance of this brief but significant childhood encounter with Shah Rukh stayed with me for years. One evening during summer holidays we kids were playing a game of ‘catch me if you can’ and I was the DEN (the kid who gets to catch the others). I was quite fast I remember and would often get chosen by the “best team” (a bit of boasting here). Shah Rukh was in the other team and I had managed to catch most of the star runners! But could not catch him. At one moment I came as close to his nose and as I was about to grab him he said “you will be never catch me NOW” and dodged!

And the game was over! We were all called back to our respective homes by our moms. After a year my family moved out of India and many years later I heard from other friends that Shah Rukh was an actor on Television. Then when I came back to India for college I saw Baazigar and later when I was dating my ex-husband, I saw his most amazing film Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayeenge and I was smitten!

The family I married into had another die hard Shah Rukh fan, my father–in-law. He liked only two film stars all his life, Dilip Kumar and later Shah Rukh Khan. He watches only Shah Rukh’s films on the silver screen. My daughter as a toddler gave Shah Rukh another name “Suno Na” after she watched the film ‘Chalte Chalte’. It has a song ‘suno na suno sunlo na”…..My son’s first Shah Rukh film on the silver screen was ‘My Name is Khan’ and for a three and a half year old, he watched it without blinking his eyes. I was surprised.

My nephew once went to see, the Salman Khan starrer, “Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam”,  and was hugely disappointed when he did not find Shah Rukh in it. By interval he was upset and started bawling, “but mama where is Shah Rukh?” And we had to take him out of the theater because he just would not watch anymore.

Yesterday when we went to watch Ra.One his latest flick, many things drew us to the film. The song ‘Chammak Challo,” the concept of video gaming (both my kids play), Kareena Kapoor (she is hot) and of course the King Khan himself.

What unraveled for me was sublime as the movie unfolded. In the first frame, the woman says “Kirano se hum virtual or real world ko jud sakte hain.” Meaning with rays we can bring the virtual and real world together. This is important since someone named Kiran inspired me to write on Facebook and start my blog! And I actually call him “Ray Man”.

Then Shah Rukh tells his son in the film “Demons can be identified by their shadows.” And my journey has been about facing my demons and bring the light of awareness to my shadows.

And the punch line of the film is “Wars cannot be won by the intellect they can be won by our hearts. Our heart is our strength not our weakness.” And my journey has been about opening by heart and finding my way to this wonderful and loving place within me were all is well always! I am falling in love all over again….with myself and life.

As I watched all this, I saw flashes of my game with Shah Rukh in my childhood and what he said rang in my ears….”You will never catch me NOW!”

I was so overwhelmed suddenly at the interconnection that I was laughing and crying both at the same time…Universe is kind…has clues strewn all around. All one needs to do is wake up and see them and understand. Each one is a guide to the path that I am being asked to walk on. I was in tears of gratitude and knew then why that encounter had stayed with me all this time!

And soon the GAME WAS OVER for now as Ra.One (Ravan the demon) was slayed by G.One!

G. One (Jeevan aka Life) was revived by the kid, Lucifer (Satan, the fallen angle, the devil)

Love you Shah Rukh!

Dola

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