We are here again. Shah Rukh Khan’s birthday is trending on Twitter, while he is still reigning supreme in my heart. I am five again, Raj’s slight stutter echoing in my ears. Palat, Palat, Palat. His face spreading into a grin, his dimples transforming me into this weak-kneed precocious hob-knob who would walk into class the next day and propose her best friend. Because, pyaar dosti hai.
But then I grew up. And came across my fair share of Rajs’ and Rahuls’ who were just a tad bit misogynist for my taste. However, Shah Rukh Khan came of age as this glorious silver fox, who was self-deprecating, funny and articulate as ever. He started giving speeches at Ivy League colleges and making an otherwise sombre audience at his Ted Talk, crack up. What his characters lacked in substance, SRK more than compensated for IRL. Which makes me wonder, what would it be like to date this absolute goofball of a person, who reads books, writes poems and is a dire introvert, just like me?
At 52, Shah Rukh Khan is almost my father’s age, so for the sake of this article, let’s imagine I am in my mid-30s and Khan is a single, older guy in his khakis and a black t-shirt, reading Freud in a hotel cafe. Call it serendipity, but I am at the same plush lawn, peering out from the book I’m reading and our eyes meet. He is overwhelmingly shy, so he quickly averts his gaze and goes back to his book.
Next day, we are back at the same place. He has a squad around him, papers strewn around his table. I try to keep my calm, but of course, I know who he is. There is no actress in tow, I need to act first. Sattar minute. Sirf Sattar minute hai tumhare paas.
The bandwagon leaves soon and I approach him, my toes curling in apprehension. I do the most cliched thing ever and ask him for his autograph. He smiles his dimpled smile and asks my name while signing the napkin. As I turn to leave, he asks if I’d like to join him. The rest, as they say, is history.
The chronic over-sharer that I am, my life becomes an open book in a matter of hours. He is a good listener and a bit cautious about revealing details from his own life because I was still a journalist, albeit away on a writer’s retreat trying to write my first book. The silver lining in all of this - he asks if I would like to join him for dinner that night.
Let me jump the gun and tell you that if Shah Rukh Khan was the older guy I dated, I would have to do the initial wooing. But he would surprise me outta nowhere and tell me that he was in love with me (I know that I am quite delusional, okay). Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Amrita, Tum Nahi Samjhogi. He’d keep me entertained with his funny quips and observations of just about anything from pop culture to politics.
We would play Fifa together and he would read the first drafts of all my stories. We would ransack the minibars of our hotel rooms and also heat things up between the sheets. He would have his moments when he’d be distant, uncommunicative, vehemently wanting to establish boundaries, but he would always come around.
With him being a night owl, and me being a morning person, problems were bound to arise. But we’d pick fights, reconcile and compromise so that we could be together.
If Shah Rukh Khan was the older guy I dated, he would be the best at loving. Selflessly letting me pursue my dreams at the cost of being away from him and selfishly guarding me when a younger guy attempts to hit on me at a club. I would know the punchlines of his films better than him and that’s why even if we had to part ways, “Baarishon mein bedhadak tere naachne se/ Baat baat pe bewajah tere roothne se/ Chhoti chhoti teri bachkani badmashiyon se/ Mohabbat karunga main/ Jab tak hai jaan, jab tak hai jaan..”
In my heart, we will always be a forever in the making.