Vibha is lovely.In the sense, she is an ordinary, full of simplicity, a fun loving type.I couldn’t say totally fun loving, because she does get boring when it comes to staying up really late in the night or going out late on a Friday evening.(She works on Saturdays!Sigh!) She has her reservations with a lot of things. She loves Kareena Kapoor and cannot get herself to like Deepika Padukone, however hard she tries.She gives her husband a snarling look if he gets overly involved in talks that centre around ex girlfriends.Brought up in Bomabay, her taste buds are always craving chaat,mint sandwhiches, rajmas,bartas and pulaos.
Sanal is everything that Vibha is not.They are the perfect ‘opposites attract’ couple.He frowns at the name of anything that is not south Indian cuisine and junk.A total party person,always willing to try new experiences, stay up late and loves the outdoors.
Together they are like Tom and Jerry. Like all other couples, they have their difference of opinions covering a lot of topics, none so serious.
This is the only thing you could argue about with her in any dead of the night. She will always, not matter how sleepy, stand in total defence of the superstar.She will with all her will and might, stand arms stretched protecting Mammooty from a volley of criticisms thrown at her idol by the husband. Just like you can’t deter Sanal’s loyalty to Mohanlal, you can’t even attempt to move Vibha from her adhesion to that one star who is the first name in her wish list. The flops he so often delivers on screen off late are all the wrong stories and not in the least, the actor’s poor performance or wrong choice of script. No, his wrinkled eyes, age, recurrent flops, poor sense of humour, bad dance moves, nothing, nothing matters to her. He is THE MAMMOOTY.
So, today when Vibha’s voice through the phone was squeaky, grasping for breath, elated and all in the wrong pitches and tones at the same time, I should have been able to make the spot-on guess when she called me to ask “Waila, guess who I spoke to today?”. “Shah rukh Khan?” I asked in a soft, OH-Please-let it not be-him tone.(Well,I’ve been trying to work out all possible plans to get the one chance to meet King Khan for the past few weeks now) “MAMMOOTTY“.She said.Yes, all in capital letters.”Mammootty, Waila, Mammootty.”
Vibha’s sister- in- law works at the Emirates First Class lounge, earlier at the front desk, now in the back office. She has been the object of my envy for a while now, especially when she said Amitabh Bachchan blessed her baby bump when he was travelling with Emirates.Yes, so that is Sanal’s sister for you.A very humble, soft- spoken human being who has seen in person all the celebrities you and I could wish to meet. (and yes in their most appropriate, relaxed and personal space moments)
Vibha longs for Thursdays, like most of the working class, only more because she works in a boring bank with blue walls. She has a half day on Thursday and leaves for home by 1pm.On such a Thursday, when Chechi(Like she calls her sister in law, who is elder to Sanal) sends her a picture with Mammooty, Vibha could not think of a better reply than, “Who, when, what, where,how??”. “If you want to talk to him, call on my phone”, came the reply.I can imagine how the blues of her office would have changed a rainbow of colours. Pink, purple, red, orange, yellow all at the same time.
No fan needs be told what to be done next. Chechi asked her, “But, what will you speak to him”. Did it even matter to this ardent admirer? This was that chance she could put a half stroke on the number one of her wish list.(the other half, when she will, one day meet him in person) The next voice she heard was his, yes his.”Hello”.Its not like the recognisable type of voices, like Big B. Its not the same we hear on screen, she offered me an explanation to her confusion of, if such a conversation was in the real, materialising.
“Sir”, she said using that little air that came out of her dehydrated throat.”I am a big fan of yours.”
“Ayikotte,ayikotte”( that translates to something equivalent to a pleasant nod in the affirmative). From then on, he lead the talk.It would have been, perhaps way to easy for him to picture a frozen girl struggling to get the right words from among the so many dancing before her eyes and accumulating at the tip of her tongue. Especially, when she so intelligently asked him, “Sir, are you travelling?” Ofcourse, am sure he was sitting there in an airport lounge to sightsee.Oh Vibha!
“Don’t worry, I’m not going to kill you,” Mammooty said amidst laughter.In a conversation that lasted a minute,Vibha has a lifetime of a true fan, rewarded.
I can only recollect the many times she kept repeating ‘ Waila’ ‘ Waila’ over the phone. The other details,she repeated so many times, I find it difficult to extract the perfect version.I don’t think, it makes any difference anyway.Vibha spoke to the one celebrity, she so revered. Another justification she earned that she can from today on,counter Sanal with, who has more than often questioned the star’s humility.
She says she will treat us today. The perfect one being,watching the super star’s newly released movie, Varsham in the evening.
I am sure, for all of us familiar with Malayalam cinema and more so, with the magnanimity of the actor in the industry, picturing Vibha or her unconfined happiness would not be too difficult.
PS-This is going to make my husband burn in envy, who in his many avatars, has one in which he is Mammooty, the man himself.