It was the night of Sunday, the 13th of February and I vividly remember that I just could not sleep. Not because sleep decided to avoid me, but because I did not want to close my eyes- lest something untoward happens during my break from consciousness. I stayed awake the whole night and took the morning flight to Mumbai. It was a trip which was going to stay at the #1 spot in my memory lane. I was going to meet the man who is just not a Bollywood star, but someone who has achieved a super lot, has been interviewed and documented upon by Discovery Channel. A man who has probably the fastest sense of timings regarding his witty answers and humor, and a man who is dreamed of not only by young teenage girls, but also middle-aged and elderly women. The heartthrob of millions, if not billions, the one and only Shahrukh Khan! And the day- 14th of February!!!
I won’t disclose how I could manage this but let me tell you that it wasn’t as difficult as one would imagine. With just the right approach and connection ;-) getting a coffee date with SRK isn’t rocket science. Anyway, I changed, freshened up and reached the selected place overlooking the sea. What to wear was always a question because one can never tell what would his attire be. After all I was not his only appointment for the day unlike me where he was the only appointment for a long time thereafter 😆. I decided to be in my chinos and black T- something I felt comfortable and confident in and reached the venue. Needless to say the entire place was buzzing with paparazzi and media and I felt good to be welcomed and escorted to the set table.
Exactly a minute before the scheduled time, I could see excitement rising outside. I could not hear the commotion but there were no points for guessing what was the reason. Sharp on time, the dashing man appears and is escorted by security and a lady, who I was introduced to as Ms Pooja, his manager. With pony tail and dark glasses, he appeared to be shorter than what I had expected him to be, but chivalrous and polite to the core. With ultimate grace and dignity he introduced his manager and even his entourage to me. The first few moments were actually hilarious- I just couldn’t take my eyes off the man, and there he is introducing the people who had accompanied him. The section of the venue was cordoned off and there were as many as 20 wait staff ready to be of “some” service. I could feel the inquisitive eyes trying to decipher who I was and what was the purpose of this meeting.
Well I had exactly 20 minutes to present my ideas to him, which I did. Like a curious kid, SRK listened intently and nodded wherever he got something and stopped me wherever he needed further info. He never removed his dark glasses except once to wipe something off the glasses and there I saw the intense and sharp eyes. Pooja made a gesture at the 15th minute and we started winding up the talk. Next action plan was discussed, firm handshakes exchanged, pleasantries said, and within moments he walks off with the swarm following him and trying to match his high speed walk. A man on a mission, I guess.
My 20 minutes were actually 1,200 seconds of observation. I am a keen observer and noticed certain unmissable qualities of this man. Professionally a delight to work with. Extremely sharp, a keen listener, and very decisive. A quick grasp of situation makes him promptly ready with the next steps. His thoughts seem to be already planning the next steps but his attention is absolutely on the current talks. Immaculately dressed for the occasion, he ensures to leave an impression of a man with a purpose and a constantly ticking brain.
On a personal ground, he makes you feel his equal. He has no qualms about who he is and does not carry any unnecessary air around him. But, the thing I like the most is his borderline arrogance and the aura of confidence and conviction around him. Honestly I do not like too grounded people. If you have achieved something, there’s no point of being extremely humble and shy off when somebody talks about you. SRK lets you talk good about him, and with a faint smile flashing his cute dimples, he sends a clear message that he knows what he is and who he is. Borderline arrogance converts into a likeable charming persona.
In some videos and reels on social media, one thing which can never be replicated by others is his quick comebacks to questions and allegations. Using humor to deflect sarcasm and creating that comfort zone with talk show hosts or media- is his ultimate and unique speciality. An epitome of romance in India, he has been able to successfully carry an image of a one-woman-man with his family being the centre of his world.
Final thoughts: One of the best meets ever. A meet where I don’t even recall what happened to my coffee. Moments well spent with probably the wittiest and sharpest guy ever that I would have encountered. Felt so good about the whole episode, that with a smiling face and remembering my own dimples ☺️ , I woke up, my dream disturbed by the damn alarm clock, to a routine day in my city of domicile, Vadodara.