In the year 1995: I was on the threshold of Standard 11th and on the verge of spilling out of my charged up frame like peas from a pod, in view of a class trip being planned for us. It was time to break the shackles of a hitherto secured life even though they were more in our heads than on our wrists or being. In a convent discipline with perpetually panic stricken and easily scandalised nuns, no out-station school trips beyond Lucknow from good old Kanpur, had ever materialized, the fears being-what if the horrendous wolves of the horny world pounced on little goslings out of St. Mary’s? Little did they know many of these goslings moonlighted as prey hunting little vixens/tigresses whenever away from the prying eyes.
So, this was a dream come true-never mind if they were taking us to one of the lesser known hills. Everyone got permission-except good old me yes, even the oil-drenched, plaited with ribbon haired, far-from-chick chick. Ironically, just then either mid-life crisis hit or my mother’s lack of action in the sack erupted in this hideous outpouring or my dear sire had a split personality attack-but Amrish Puri’s character from that year’s just released Dilwaale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge vehemently entered all his pours. Damn, I always knew he secretly wanted to be an actor, like me, but Amrish Puri, really!
Papa’s unfaltering “NO” echoed through the walls of my home and my little but massively dreamy, broken heart. “Keh diya na, bas, keh diya” was HIS original dialogue that Salman bhai later copied, tch!
I begged like Simran to let me go-a bunch of my friends came over making the cutest and saddest puppy faces with justifications like “Uncle, Suruchi ke bina hum sab bore ho jaayenge”. But not one hair vibrated in his staunch moustaches in pity. Me: Bau ji, er, papa, you would anyway get me married once I join college. Let me have this one first and last trip where I see the world? ‘the world’ here being some polluted riverside with dumped plastic wastes and ample of just Gorkhas for eye tonic during that off-season time.
Playing on the back of my mind was the fact that perhaps I meet my Raj somewhere, filling an empty bottle by the river side when my chappal accidently slips off and I gracefully scream “Bachao, bachao” for my chappal of course. And he drops off his backpack and risks his life to get it from the swiftly flowing current, looking wet and sexy, as pearls of water stream down his glistening forehead to his almost parted full lips. He hands it to me with a sneeze-the chappal again of course. And I say, “Arrey, aapko to sardi lag gaye hain....” And no, I do not do a striptease then to give him jism ki garmi, you dirty minds, I tear my duppatta and...oho, let’s get him injured and blood flowing instead to avoid technical glitches. I would apologize for the trouble with a grin that would show no sorry and he would say, “Chote, chote shehron mein aise baatein ho jaate hain Senorita”. The rest as they’d say would have been history!
Playing on the back of my father’s mind was khandaan ki izzat and jawaan beti ko akela-nahin, nahin! He probably had gauged also that considering the tharki genes in our family, it was better to keep the daughter out of temptation and mischief. So no “ja Suruchi ja, jee le apne zindagi” happening there. Oh crap!
Dear Mr Shahrukh Khan, the moral of this story is that because of you I never went to any school trip ever! For you chose to star in such a film that my parents took me to and developed unrealistic ideas along with some of her own of their daughter’s. And because of you I often speculated in the hindsight that I could have created an immortal Heer-Ranjha type of love story had I just gone out that one time and ran around some sarso ke khet in a white suit with open tresses and undone eyebrows. Par alas, aisa ho na saka!
DDLJ spoilt a generation of girls in that era. We craved to say “Kuch kuch hota hain Rahul, tum nahi samjhoge” forever after I know it was not from this flick-weren’t they anyhow all the same post that? Any Tom, Dick or Harry with the name Rahul, suddenly had vistas of opportunities and legs opened at his disposal.
Even I led a make-belief life after that for a long time where I imagined bumping into Mr Right at the drop of an eyelid everywhere possible:
At the library-Imagining me fall from a ladder and someone there to catch me not bothering about my weight for love at first sight would weigh him down more. Or he and I picking the same book from the opposite sides of the shelf following the smiles-ah! I know filmy, sue me!
In the trains-Getting into a wrong one and being led by a handsome stranger into an adventure of sorts-damn, there was even some mind blowing session imagined in the pantry.
In the park-When a football comes and hits my head as I wear glasses and sit there on a bench concentrating on a geeky romance novel-little did it matter in the pragmatic world that I didn’t wear glasses or ever read any romantic trash.
And then Shahrukh also gave us some unreasonable expectations in men...
1. If he did not look in your eyes and said whatever he said with as much intensity as though he was mentally orgasming as Mr S did on screen, he did not feel it.
2. If he never spread out his hands with a slightly tilted head, when he saw you coming from far even without the slow motion, he does not want you enough.
3. He may look stupid and shaggy but mouth sense.
4. If he did not talk in whispers sometimes just near your ears, he is thoroughly unromantic.
5. If he did not overact-wtf, he’s boring!
6. And when he held you in his arms, if you did not tremble like a fragile leaf hanging on a branch in the face of an overbearing lust storm-he is thanda!
And just when we started to like Shahrukh for the loyal husband that he was and good character, K Jo made his entry and suddenly we did not want a partner like that! Tch, kya Shahrukh! You made vanity a style statement and narcissism a way to be-aped by thousands of men without mettle, shakal or akal. And who had to bear the brunt-we poor women, who didn’t know whether to bang our own heads against the wall or of these jerks when the stuttered or smiled in that obnoxious way that you sometimes do.
And when I did begin to like you a bit as my angry nostrils finally relented to flare less after Swades and Chak De, you managed to wash out all teenage fantasies with films like Om Shaanti Om, Billu Barber and Rab ne Bana De Jodi. I was back to being angry for making me go through these mind numbing tortures that would warrant years of therapy to sublime it.
And although now some seventeen years have passed by, the after effects of waiting for a Raj for the happily ever after-the wait for a Casanova to turn into a one woman man because he is enamoured by your charms, still lingers!
*Sigh, sigh, sigh, sigh, sigh!*