There was time when Aamir Khan and Salman Khan both struggled hard to become Anand, but they fell short of the exacting standards of my persona. I don’t talk about it because people often snicker behind my back when I do. They call me fenku (boastful) and fattebaaz (someone with a quiver full of boasts.) But none of what I just said is a lie. You’ll soon see why.
A decade ago, when the grays hadn’t begun to arrive and when lovely ladies threw me those wistful glances; when I was single but wary of thoughtless mingling; I fell hook line and sinker for a dusky doe-eyed damsel who at that time couldn’t be bothered with romantic trivialities.
A friend came to my rescue. He was a student of marketing who believed that he could teach Philip Kotler, a trick or two. I was then a simple techie who couldn’t sell a bottle of water to a dying-of-thirst millionaire. So when he proposed that he’d sell me to the woman of my dreams, I readily hired him for the job.
From that day, he became my manager. He’d meet her, talk to her, and sell me to her. According to my friend, my USP was that I was better-looking than Aamir khan and Salman khan combined. I tried imagining every which combination of the duo and yet, I couldn’t figure out how it could’ve been my USP. Not until I realized that my dream girl’s dream boy was a Sallu-Aamir hybrid.
When one of the lovely ladies who happened to be good friend of mine, came to know of this marketing ruse, she guffawed dazzling me with her lipstick smeared pearly whites. “He’s underselling you. They aren’t half a cute as you are!”
The point is that her point didn’t matter. When I finally got sold, and I still don’t know if I should thank my friend’s marketing campaign for it, and celebrated the first ten years of our marriage last year, I asked her about Salman and Aamir.
“They couldn’t hold a candle to you,” she said.
I couldn’t believe my ears. So it was true. The lovely ladies were right! My friend was right!! Mrs. Khanna from Mom’s kitty party was right!!!
“Really,” I asked, hoping that she’d repeat what she had just said, or even embellish it some more.
“Tu Tedha hai per Mera hai!“(You may be a little crooked in places, but you are mine!) she said before getting up and switching on the TV for the Saturday episode of Bigg Boss 8! I sat there crestfallen as Salman Khan filled the screen.
And yet, there was a moment when I was better than Salman and Aamir. I’ll live with that.
If you haven’t yet met Salman Khan, here he is: