Once said Bard of Avon in his famous drama “Merchant of Venice.” It is true also. Now a day, for rich and famous America is a glittering land. For common Indian Mumbai and especially Bollywood is a glittering land. And every year thousands of rich and wealthy, land in America to fulfil their dreams in that 24×7 glittered land. Similarly, common Indians run to Mumbai and Bollywood to see their dreams come true.
Dreams are a very beautiful world. It is not sinning to dream. One must dream. Dreams make a man happy. I also dream. During my youth, I also used to dream. But my dreams were confined only to Mumbai, Bollywood and Shahrukh Khan, King of celluloid world, Bollywood.
But there was no way to see my dreams come true. Living in a remote village, near Anantnag, in Kashmir Valley, my village was totally cut off from the modern world. I was only parroted to be a royal Muslim. In the name of education, I sometimes used to visit a madrassa, housed in a big and only pucca, construction of the village. Nobody knows who financed its’ construction and nobody could have asked this question at the peril of his life. There also head Maulvi or teacher was more interest in government grants than in teaching. Occasionally, he used to talk about some Islamic practices like offering namaz, five times a day, observing rozas or fast etc.. He also used to emphasise to keep the untrimmed beard, wear a skull cap and salwar kameez. Islamic militants were his role model and icon. My teacher or haziji, students used to call him with this title, was very fond of listening radio Pakistan.
But my role model was Shahrukh Khan, the Badshah. In the late dark hours of the night, we people used to view television. Viewing the television was banned in the valley, as it was considered un-Islamic and militants were dead against it. When all the elders were in deep sleep, I used to watch, King Khan’s movies.
Ram Narayan Rajdan was my next door neighbour. On a dreadful night, five Pundits were massacred by Islamic terrorists and they issued a Fatwa to all the remaining Pundits to leave the village otherwise they would meet their slaughtered brothers in the other world. Fearing for their lives Narayans fled to Delhi from the village with tear and horror in eyes.
In Delhi, they lived in tents as refugees and after a great struggle, they established themselves in Delhi in somewhat satisfactory manner. After two years Ram Narayan again revisited his village with his family. They smeared the village soil on their forehead. When they returned to Delhi they took my son Salman aged ten, with them for domestic help.
Salman started helping Rajdans in their domestic chores and at Rajdan’s shop. In free time Ram Narayan used to teach Salman about basics of Hindi, English and Math. Seeing the interest of Salman in studies Ram Narayan got Salman admitted in a government school. Salman became very good in his studies and Rajdans never looked back in helping Salman in his studies. Days passed, months passed, years passed. Salman became an Engineer, thanks to the help and generosity of Rajdams.
In the campus placement, Salman got the job of a maintenance engineer in an American multinational company, Caterpillar, although Muslims grow up hating and cursing America. It is an irony that the same country is giving bread and honour provider to a Muslim family in this dark corner. First posting of Salman was in Mumbai. We were highly pleased on this miracle of Almighty.
After living and working for a few months, Salman reserved train tickets for us to Mumbai. We all were on nine clouds. On the fixed date we caught the train to Mumbai and reached Mumbai. Salman was there to receive us. Our joy was limitless. After visiting important places of Mumbai we all went to historical Wankhede Stadium to see an IPL match between Mumbai Indians, owned by famous industrialist Mukesh Ambani and Kolkata Night Riders, owned by none other than Shahrukh Khan, King of Bollywood. In that match, Kolkata Knight Riders defeated Mumbai Indians. We all were very happy with our visit to Wankhede Stadium and victory of our favourite Kolkata Night Riders.
Joyously we were returning. We saw some noise and a riot-like situation in the ground. A wrinkled, stammering, dishevelled, shabbily dressed man, in his fifties, in an inebriated condition, were abusing and assaulting security guards and a young girl. From a distance, it appeared that perhaps, the man and the guards were pushing or slapping each other. We ignored the ruckus and came back to the flat of Salman, giving by the generous company.
Next day we all expressed our desire to see Shahrukh Khan or at least his bungalow Mannat. When we all, were standing in front of his bungalow we could not believe our eyes, whether it was a hallucination or reality. Salman purchased The Times of India to see the latest about the world. The headline “IPL’s Hottest Fight: SRK vs MCA- Move to Ban Star From Wankhede After Scuffle….” Hit my head and mind like a bomb blast in the Kashmir Valley.
Shocked and shattered, I wondered who had come to Mumbai, to see Shahrukh Khan, the King, the Superhero, the Super Fighter, but he was involved in a scuffle with guards and abusing a girl like street ruffians. Was yesterday’s it was Shahrukh Khan…? O, God! It can’t.
I fell on the floor. Thinking about Ram Narayan Rajdan, We uprooted him from his dear motherland but he taught my son. Our co-religious brothers blasted and plundered Mumbai several times, but same Mumbai gave shelter, employment to my son. We grew hating and cursing America but same America has fulfilled all our dreams in one go. We grew up idolising and adoring King Shahrukh Khan but the headline of The Times of India shattered our vision.
The World has changed but we have not.