There are moments when I miss being crazy about someone, something. Anything. It’s not that the Dil doesn’t dhak dhak. It does. But it just doesn’t say dhak-dhak-go.
I’m talking about fandom. Not being a fan of any celebrity or a team, I’m clueless about what being an avid fan is. And I’m not exactly proud of it, heavens no. I mean, I’ve seen my son save money to go to Europe to watch Arsenal play. And I know of friends who will happily endure hail and sun to watch their favourite star.
What then, could be the reason for this cold detachment? Is it because my Leo smugness stops me from being starry eyed? Or is it genetic?
There are, of course, reasons for doubting my genes. As a teen, I remember the excitement when Hema Malini was shooting in the vicinity. When giggly friends flashed their autograph books, I succumbed to peer-pressure. Eighties was a time when most men would do anything to get a glimpse of ‘dream girl’. So the following day, when dad was getting ready for work, I tried my luck, “Papa, Hema Malini is shooting close by. Don’t you want to meet her?”
To which he said, “Why should I meet her? She can come and meet me if she wants.”
I thought he was joking. But he added solemnly, “But only over the weekend.”
As I huddle across a bonfire of memories, I’m reminded of meeting Rajiv Gandhi at Vigyan Bhawan and Vinod Khanna at an airport. While other girls etched the moment in Kodak, I couldn’t muster enough enthusiasm to push my way to get a picture.
This is not to say my childhood was devoid of silly crushes and heartthrobs. Like regular teens, there were posters of movie stars and sportsmen for they joined the dots between dreams, hopes and aspirations. Yet, for some reason, adulation in all its waxing and waning shades lurked only in the shadows.
Cut to present. We are watching Australian Open on television. The husband is cheering for Federer, the son for Nadal. When Federer wins the first set, the young man goes into a shell. The tension is palpable. If Federer wins, we go out for dinner declares the senior. Why not go out for dinner regardless of the outcome, I say. Since I want peace to win, I repeat, ‘Haha we are here to watch good tennis, both are equally good, both deserve to win….blah blah’. There is glacial silence. So I say I’m kidding, I have my favourite too. But I won’t tell. I look more sheepish than sheep. Finally when Federer wins the line call and the trophy, the young man finds refuge in his room. No dinner for me, he mutters. And the senior FedEx fan is happy for the entire state of Haryana.
So much for good tennis.
Why get emotionally involved with someone you’ve never met? I really couldn’t care less if Salman goes scot-free, behind the bars or fathers a new baby Kardashian. I really couldn’t care less if Raees crosses Dangal’s earnings, does better than Sultan or wins an Oscar. All I want is a good movie or a great game. No heartbreaks, no heartaches.
That said, Indians are perhaps the most emotionally involved fans in the whole wide world. Priyanka Chopra confirmed this in her recent 3076th interview with an American talk show host. Above all, a South Indian fan is the very definition of the word ‘fan’. Nowhere in the world do hundreds of people die of shock when their idol dies. The rest of the world, including Justin Bieber fans can never dream of constructing his temple or tearing his posters if he names his baby Taimur.
Whatever it is, look at the bright side. If you are not a Jabra fan, you never have to get stuck in a stampede when SRK waives at you from the Rajdhani. You never have to skip dinner because your favorite team lost a nail-biter- unless it’s India. On second thoughts, eat less, why skip? And you never have to suffer a panic attack when you see your muse in flesh and blood.
It’s final. As I wobble into antiquity, I’m not running after anyone. Not that it matters, or they care, but if ShahRukh or Salman and Federer or Nadal want to drop in for a cup of tea, they are welcome home. But only over a weekend. After ten, before eight.
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