How I Met Deepika Padukone
It’s a normal Indian wintery afternoon. A boring to-be-Engineer spends his vacation days whiling away time, catching up with his favourite TV shows and movies that he could not watch because of his hectic exam schedule. Suddenly, he has a weird craving for ice-cream.
So he picks up his wallet, changes into something much more decent, asks his mum which ice-cream she wants (she gives a long lecture first, about how one should not eat ice-cream in the winter, but finally answers ‘Ice fruit lolly!’) and heads out the door.
Normally, Mr to-be-Engineer would have reached the shop in a matter of minutes, bought the ice-cream he wants (it is almost always a Chocolate Feast Chocobar) and heads back home, to his TV shows and movies. He eats leisurely the milky wonders of Amul, enjoying the jokes of Barney Stinson or the brutality of Tywin Lannister. But this afternoon is no ordinary afternoon.
While heading out the door this afternoon, shooting a courteous nod of acknowledgement to the local watchman, he bumps into someone special. By now, reading the title, one’s obvious conclusion is: Wait, don’t tell me you bumped into Deepika Padukone! NO FREAKING WAY!
But close. Mr to-be-Engineer bump into a photographer.
Initially, the first conclusion he jumps to is it must be someone famous. He notices the photographer’s eagerness, his camera poised to take a snap of someone of importance, urgency dripping into his stance… And then he notices a whole flock of similar photographers.
He runs out the security doors. Yes, the to-be-Engineer’s home is very close to a very famous temple. And that temple has been ‘applauded’ for its security. Not only that, but this temple, this beautiful and enormous shrine to God is a host to a string of famous celebrities: actors and singers alike. Today, the temple hosts a warm welcome to a surprise visitor: Deepika Padukone.
It’s surprising, this visit but not entirely unexpected. Ms Padukone often prays to the God in this temple particularly, so the to-be-Engineer should not be completely taken aback. But he is. And so, he rushes to the side of the onlookers, the bystanders, the innocent civilians who came to pray to a eons-old God, but instead found a living Goddess and are also urgently flashing their trendy cellphones to get a shot of her.
Being a budding engineer, an IT engineer at that, he is swift in taking out his cellphone. In no time, using special functions on the gadget that has ruined his life through Whatsapp/Facebook addiction and Youtube videos, he snaps a picture of the aforementioned Goddess.
The crowd is in a frenzy. The Goddess named Deepika Padukone smiles. It is deadly. People cheer, clap and even yell at her to say something. She does, but not to the civilians. She instead whispers serenely something to the media, the ones with the actual fancy digital cameras. The police, the bodyguards all form a ring around her, battling the oncoming frenzy fiercely. She walks like an angel amidst the devils. She keeps smiling.
But the to-be-Engineer notices something. Hidden beneath the smiles, the waves and the sparkling beauty is something. It is a mystery and the to-be-Engineer, who happens to be a Sherlock fan, tries to deduce what exactly is this Goddess of a woman trying to hide.
Immediately, the deduction fails because one glance away and she is gone. She is inside the temple, hidden deep inside the crowd, trying to pray to God. The cheers and commotion is still there. There is no peace.
Those privileged enough to enter the temple through the VIP gate follow her, still trying to get her attention but Mr Sherlock-pretentious heads on his way to the shop, thinking what he had seen, in that moment. All the while as he goes to buy the ice-cream, and pays the money, he thinks… was it an emotion? Was it a message? Was that pained expression a call for help?
And then he understands.
All these people, these celebrities with too much money and fame, but very little privacy, need some space. They need some peace. Deepika Padukone might have stepped out of her house, with her bodyguards, thinking “Chalo, aaj toh Thursday hain. Mandir meh bheed nahi hogi. No paparazzi.” And instead, she bumped into just that.
She must have gone inside the temple, praying just like her simple parents would tell her as a child to do before a big event (her movie Bajirao Mastani is coming up) and instead must have faced people yelling at her, screaming at her, telling her to look at them, notice them.
But before he feels sorry for her and her kind, he remembers one thing. That fame is what they thrive on. Every public action they take is for publicity. So why would Deepika Padukone come to the temple a few days before her movie releases? Why would she pray to God only before her “exams” show up?
Then he remembers that he is no different. He only goes to the temple before his exam results, and perhaps that is what Deepika Padukone is doing.
He returns, with the ice-cream in his hand and eats it merrily as he smiles to himself. He just saw Deepika Padukone face-to-face, after all. Have you? NO. He has. He is dizzy with happiness, having met a Goddess in human form. He stares at the ugly snap he took of her, ashamed of not being as good at photography as his good friend Sid. He thinks of the next time he will bump into her, and promises to take a better picture, deleting this current one.
And then he writes a blog post.
This post hopes to be comical, perhaps a touch philosophical in terms of understanding celebrities and on top of it, a personal experience. Do not be offended. It is meant to be light.
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