But that was a conference and this is a Doctorate from a prestigious University of Edinburgh. So I’m going to try to sound intelligent and insightful especially for you today.
One of the subjects on the list of five I was sent for my speech today was: “Life Lessons” so for whatever it’s worth: here goes. Let me start at the very, very beginning.
Whatever I have learned of life has been at the movies. Actually the first few films that I did in my career and titles, given to them, very nearly formulated whatever I know of life and that’s how I am going to pass it on to you.
One of the first movies of my career was a movie called Deewana. But do you remember the story of the film? I’ll remind you the story.
So I fall in love with a widow, who I meet literally by accident in which I very nearly kill her mother in law. Then I marry her. Not the mother in law but the widow.
The widow is not keen on the marriage because she still loves her late husband but she marries me anyway. My rich, mean father disapproves of this union and does what a mean rich father does…he tries to kill the widow. And I am naturally disgusted by his behavior and after a long two page stand off with him, in which I use heavy-sounding Urdu words, I leave the house for good.
Then for some reason apart from the fact that I ride my motorcycle without holding the handlebar, I have an accident. Seeing me so forlorn and sad in the hospital bed, my ex widow wife falls in love with me.
And there is something about sick man which always attracts women to them. I have noticed this. The sicker the better.
Then again by a chance of fate I rescue a stranger at night from a bunch of goons, and guess what? He turns out to be the original husband of my ex widow wife, who hadn’t died in spite of his inheritance hungry uncle’s best efforts.
Now evil uncle then decides to kidnap me and my ex widow, now not so ex present day wife to get hold of his nephew. I escape his clutches and I come back with my wife’s undead husband to rescue her.
By now she is of course strapped to a bomb and – do you think they’ll take my doctorate back? — after a liberal round of fist fighting kicking and screaming the evil uncle is blown to smithereens by the very same bomb that he had strapped on status confused lady of the film.
But not before the sacrificial ex-husband has done a kamikaze, unstrapping his ex-wife and set the bomb off killing himself in the bargain. All obstacles removed, our hero lives happily ever after with his beloved wife.
I’m not sure why the movie was called Deewana which in Hindi means madness of a particularly nice or romantic kind. But I have a feeling it had something to do with the guy who wrote the plot.
So, here’s my first life lesson, inspired by the movie title Deewana: Madness of the particularly nice or romantic kind is an absolute prerequisite to a happy and successful life.
Don’t ever treat your little insanities as if they are aberrations that ought to be hidden from the rest of the world. Acknowledge them and use them to define your own way of living the only life you have.
All the most beautiful people in the world, the most creative, the ones who led revolutions, who discovered and invented things, did so because they embraced their own idiosyncrasies. There’s no such thing as ‘normal’. Normal is just another word for lifeless.
Soon after I acted in Deewana, I became the hapless hero of a movie called Chamatkar. This movie had a more believable plot line.
I get cheated off all my money by my best friend slash, conman and find myself asleep in a graveyard only to be awakened by the ghost of a murdered mobster. A ghost that only I can see and nobody else can. I am very perceptive that way.
Anyway the mobster ghost helps me get a job as a teacher through his ghostly good offices. I fall in love with his daughter, of course, from a wife that has passed on after being duped by the flunky of the mobster.
Together, the ghost and I organize a cricket match, yes I was doing that even before I owned a cricket team, and avenge the various misdeeds done to us by bashing up the flunky and the conman, then we forgive them because we have a good heart and let each other descend into the respective abodes where we belong in the first place.
He goes back to the grave and I go away with the babe.
Now ‘Chamatkar’, means miracle: right and straightforward without any nuances. So, my next lesson is the following: If you ever find yourself cheated of all your money and sleeping on a grave, do not fear, a miracle is near, either that or a ghost.