It’s been November 2nd in India for ages, but it is just now turning over to November 2nd in Chicago. And so, on this magical minute, 52 presents Shahrukh has given me.
1.1. Bonding with my standoffish college roommate over “Suraj Hua Madham”
2. Introducing me to the city of Chicago, through the very very long trip from my college campus to the Indian movie rental stores.
3. Giving me company every weekend in college, everyone else left the dorms but Shahrukh was still there for me.
4. Decorating my apartment with his beautiful face in a dozen different posters.
5. Making every place feel like home once I had DDLJ over the TV and “Dard-E-Disco” up in the bathroom.
6. Giving me popular music I actually enjoy, starting with the K3G soundtrack and moving on from there.
7. Introducing me to so many strong woman, Kajol and Madhuri and Sushmita Sen and so many others.
8. Keeping me company through the darkest times, like when my grandmother was in the hospital
9. Or my ceiling fell in in my apartment
10. And when my ceiling fell in the second time
11. And when my floor fell down
12. Keeping me company through happy times too, my first night in my new apartment
13. Curled up in a hotel room with my sister watching a movie on her laptop
14. A picture sitting on the desk in my new office after my promotion.
15. Friendships, every close friend for the past dozen years, starting with my friend from down the hall in college who watched DDLJ obsessively with me for a year.
16. Two people I got talking to at a church young adults event and invited over for my first ever movie night.
17. A co-worker I told about the plot of one of your movies who didn’t believe it existed, and came for my second movie night.
18. A movie night with a yard long dosa that we ordered just because we didn’t believe it was real, and Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham.
19. A movie night with home made pizza and brownies and 6 co-workers and Maine Pyar Kiya.
20. A movie night with only two people and My Name is Khan and all of us sobbing on the couch
21. A movie night that went from Om Shanti Om to Don to staying awake to watching coverage of the royal wedding in real time.
22. A movie night with everyone singing “pain of disco” instead of “dard-e-disco” just to make my head explode.
23. A movie night in which I got my own back by making them watching Baazigar until they made me stop because it was too scary (not the plot, the fashions)
24. The movie night at which a friend coined the phrase “the ‘you forgot I was sexy’ face” and we all knew exactly what she meant.
25. the moment when I learned you were coming to Chicago for our 10 year anniversary.
26. The 2 hour period of texts quickly getting a group together and arranging tickets with no one even asking or caring how much they cost.
27. The stressful month of planning and arranging rides and schedules for getting to the show.
28. The day of the show, the last minute discussion of outfits, picking jewelry, discussing hair and make-up and everything else.
29. The ride to the show, all of us in the car singing along to all your songs to prepare.
30. The show itself, an insane experience that cannot be put into words.
31. Driving home afterwards, exhausted and exhilerated at the same time.
32. Coming home and sleeping for 12 hours more satisfied than ever before in my life.
33. The gift of shows! After seeing your performance, I went on to see Asha Bhosle
34. And Vishal-Shekhar
35. And the Dream Team concert with Varun Dhawan.
36. The gift of grad school, inspiring me to go back and keep going until I finished so I could better understand your films.
37. The gift of gifts, every year I give my friends Shahrukh themed gifts.
38. The gift of cards, Christmas and Valentine’s and everything else, all with your lovely face.
39. The gift of a car, I got it mostly so I could drive to see your movies.
40. The gift of a companion on those car trips, my oldest friend Dina who I met through a mutual interest in films.
41. The gift of fanvideos, and song videos, and everything else which cheer me in the middle of the night.
42. The gift of India, the whole country and culture and history, which I only started studying to understand your films.
43. The gift of learning, learning about films, about India, about everything else, because I want to understand your art.
44. The gift of community, not just the friends I made through your films but the greater world community that share my interest in you.
45. The gift of feeling part of something bigger, I am writing and talking and teaching not just for myself, but to bring what you represent to a wider audience
46. The gift of my book, which you inspired me to write
47. The gift of this blog that I am writing this on right now, which you also inspired me to write.
48. The gift of all the friends I have made here.
49. The gift of hope
50. The gift of joy
51. The gift of love
52. The gift of dreams