x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Searching for Salman

Like something out of a Bollywood movie, fate has played a sticky hand in preventing me from coming face to face with Salman Khan.

I have long been a fan of Salman Khan's. I can't pinpoint exactly what it is about him, but among all the Bollywood glitterati, to me, his star shines the brightest.

I have been teased for being such an avid fan and yes, perhaps having his picture taped to the wall of the office was a bit extreme. And perhaps having the same ringtone he uses in The Bodyguard is a little cheesy. For a 32-year-old woman. But, for me, he just has that little something something. That celebrity magic.

But like something out of a Bollywood movie, fate has played a sticky hand in preventing me from coming face to face with him.

The first time I narrowly missed him was a few years ago at my previous job. There was hardly a chance to step away from my desk, but on this occasion I was called in to the editor's office. As I returned to my seat, a colleague came bounding over brimming with Schadenfreude. "Where have you been? You will never believe who I had on the phone, and I brought it over so you could say hi." Yes, Salman Khan was on the phone, waiting to say hi to me. During the only 10 minutes I had left my desk the entire day.

The next time he was in the UAE, was to attend a cricket match. As luck would have it, a kind colleague from the sports department asked me if I wanted to attend. Well, why wouldn't I? It turns out, I wouldn't because someone called in sick and I had to cover their shift. But, in a strange twist of fate, I was invited to a party later that night, and, "You will never guess who is going to be there!" said my kind inviter. Yes. Salman Khan. But, as you guessed it, fate intervened again. The friend I was supposed to go with fell ill with food poisoning. In an act of extreme generosity, I ditched my party clothes for pyjamas and stayed in with her and watched movies.

The last time probably stung the most. I was in Colombo last year visiting my parents, who lived there at the time. My mother woke me up, and demanded I accompany her to the gym. I didn't speak, just gave her a look, and rolled back under the covers. She came home bristling with annoyance. "You are lucky you didn't come," she said. "There was some Bollywood star in there and the music was blasting out. Well, I did complain about it, I don't want that during my workout." As I heard the words coming from her mouth, I had a sinking feeling. Further interrogation of her and the gym staff revealed that yes, my mother had been complaining, and yes, Salman Khan had turned down the music.

And even though I went to the gym every day for the rest of week, narrowly missing him twice again in the process, alas our meeting seems destined not to be.