Face to face with my Idol

This is a true event, which took place in 1960, when I was a young doctor at Patiala, Punjab, in the then-famous Government Medical College. In those days, there were only 3 Medical colleges in Punjab (it was actually Punjab and the area which now comes under Haryana).

I have greatly admired and idolized the legendary actor Mr Dilip Kumar, ever since I was a child.
One day, as I was walking along the Mall, I saw a huge crowd outside the Malwa Cinema. It was an unusual sight, and I asked someone why they were struggling to get in the Cinema Hall. I was thrilled to know that the Great Dilip Kumar himself was there for the premiere of his latest film. I went near the gate, hoping to catch a glimpse of my idol. Fortunately for me, the gate keeper was my patient and he allowed me to go in as a favour. The hall was jam packed and there were excited shouts as Mr Dilip has just come on to the stage.
Before anyone could react or restrain me, I leaped up on the stage and engulfed Mr Dilip in a bear hug. I mustered all my strength to shout, “Hello, Dilip.” The accomplished actor that he is, he did not get flustered at all. He smiled, patted me on my back and replied, “Hello, kaise ho bhai?”(how are you brother?). The entire audience witnessed this exchange and applauded, thinking I was a friend of Mr Dilip.
I descended from the stage, to find that a seat had miraculously been vacated for me and I was being guided to sit there. I knew that the truth would soon be out and did not occupy that chair. There was a great risk of being manhandled and thrown out of the hall, so I quietly made my way to the nearest exit, to the Mall, to complete my daily walk.

Dr A S Rathee


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