Shah Rukh Khan,
Bollywood superstar extraordinaire,
on a sand dune and
in this bomb-ass flowy dress
she’s there too, and
there’s a citar and
a tabla and a flute and
Shreya Goshal is singing in the back,
but it’s Deepika’s lips that move.
And just a second ago they weren’t in Peru.
But that’s what love is like right?
One second you’re in Mumbai, and
the music starts playing, and
then you look into her eyes, and
then you’re…like…in Peru?
From your expression, I can tell
nothing I just said
sounds like love to you.
See when our hearts beat once,
theirs beats ten times two.
Bruno Mars would “catch a grenade for you” or
“jump in front of a train for you.”
would catch the grenade,
hijack the train, and
ride it into a government
building for you.
See, us Bollywood boys
were raised on fantasies,
too detached from reality
for reality TV,
and for 50% off every Tuesday,
Our mamas took us
to watch our Desi dreams on screen.
Hands folded over nachos in prayer,
knees bent against fabric in reverence,
tonight our gods take up a new mask,
and we can take comfort in that
the only villain that ever wins in this movie theatre
is the aunty saving seventeen seats
for her extended family in the back.
I dare you to tell me that
This isn’t a religious experience.
As I leave my temple,
who’s gonna tell me
I can’t flip a car with
the flick of a wrist?
I lift a pinky
And watch the whole army
your papa hired
to get rid of me
perish. Someone tell Achilles
that this Desi dog doesn’t heel.
This hero, has no weakness…
Except his heroine,
and mine sat next to me at every
Drive-In, Dollar theatre, AMC, and chai stand.
If there was a TV
then there was my mama,
and I couldn’t be left alone at home yet,
so I got to plus one.
There was a time when my week started and ended on Tuesday.
When I looked forward to my Tuesday friends,
around the time I started caring about looking my Tuesday best,
hoped this girl who always sat two rows in front of us
would one day notice my weekly Tuesday flex.
I dealt in smuggling fanta cans in my jacket,
marching through the ropes alongside my captain
who smelled like the samosas
tucked away in her handbag, and
together we ran the most successful
mother-son cartel since Dhoom Again.
Now picture this:
Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika end up stuck in Peru,
because Shah Rukh ended the song a line too soon,
and if the chorus isn’t finished,
they’re not going home, so
they end up staying.
The hero and his heroine
on cloud nine
with ten different excuses
why her smile makes his world stand still;
dus bahane karke le gaye dil. But
they spent so long in the sky
they forgot about the shooting stars
that got them there, their
Taare Zameen Par watching
over them from below,
their Sridevis sitting at their windows
waiting for their raja betas to call and
say her four favorite words,
“mama, I’m coming home.”
recipient of the “Gut-Buster Funny” Poet award at the 2019 College Union Poetry Slam Invitational