Comfortably Numb

Sheila Kumar's Storehouse

Published on: 11/29/20 1:16 PM

Guest column: Stardust on the console table

Stardust on the console table



I read about the Khans, Shah Rukh and Gauri, entering into a collab with Airbnb, to throw open the doors of their Delhi house to all and sundry. All and sundry of the paying population, of course, and the partnership begins with winners of a contest being selected to become guests at the Khan home.

The place appears  suitably opulent,  if not exactly Mannat, the offer comes with a short video of Mrs K flitting about the house, straightening photographs on the wall, probably plumping up the cushions,  and generally being a happy hostess. I read this with some amusement and no surprise.

Out West, they`d raffle tickets at fundraisers and the highest bidders would get to eat dinner with Leo de Caprio or maybe Johnny Depp if the latter was in a good mood.

Somehow, my imagination always failed me after visualising the star seated at a restaurant dining table, star-struck fans seated opposite them. Was the star allowed to bring along his Plus-one? What kind of conversation prevailed at the table after the `Wow! I can`t believe I`m here with you! I`m a huuuuge fan. Seen Movie X about a zillion times! Can we have a selfie or fifteen?`

Right after the main course, does the star arrange to receive a phone call calling him away on urgent, undefined business? I rather think so.

A couple of years ago, a couple of our Bollywood belles started to raffle their `pre-loved` outfits and accessories, stuff they`d worn to various premieres and parties, stuff the paps had clicked them glowing in. You know better than to wonder whether the clothes sold. Of course, they did.

People wore the clothes, ignored where it hugged the body too tightly, where it was plunging to new lows, where it had sheer panels exposing hitherto unexposed  body parts. The point was, fans pulled on those clothes, picked up those purses and immediately acquired a fair sprinkling of stardust…or so they imagined.

I don’t know. Maybe it`s all about losing yourself in a fantasy world for a bit, wearing what the stars wore, sitting at the dining table in their home, sleeping on the bed their exalted bodies had lain on. Smearing that stardust on oneself probably gives one the energy to come back to reality when this dream ends, as end it must, and they go back to their own comparatively drab world, to seek a new job, hold frantically  to the one they have, to mask up and pray they won`t get Covid, to endure the pains, enjoy the small pleasures, holding fast the luminous memory of the big pleasure they just experienced a brief while ago.

Maybe it`s stardust. Maybe it`s moonshine. Like I said, I don’t know. Meanwhile, the star who monetised their stardust is smiling broadly all the way to the bank.

This appeared in the SUNDAY EXPRESS of 29 Nov 2020.

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airbnbBollywood starsGauri Khanguest columnSRKstarduststarsSunday ExpressTNIE

Sheila Kumar • November 29, 2020

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