When I met Dilip Kumar

I was called to see Dilip Sahib at Bakhshi house behind Natraj hotel on circuit road



Pahalgam, a place where you get a chance to know a variety of personalities from all over the world. The horse owner and the millionaire riding his horse or a laborer and an aristocrat from Bombay become close friends in a short span of time in the intoxicating atmosphere of Pahalgam. Ramzana of Pahalgam was a family friend of Mrs. Gandhi. Dilip Kumar used to spend hours with Gani Sahib of Natraj, a legendary figure of Pahalgam. As medical officer I too got the opportunity to interact with innumerable personalities from different fields from all over the world that include late Prime Minister Mrs Indra Gandhi when she came to hammer out the nitty-gritty of Kashmir Accord with Sheikh Sahib in 1974 in the forest rest house at Pahalgam.  Sheikh Sahib was visibly satisfied on the outcome of his one to one negotiations with her and the Prime Minster was relaxed when she interacted with the people next morning in Pahalgam market.
Being the only physician in Pahalgam those days I had to cater to the patients from all around irrespective of their social status. So Karim Khan of Frislan and legendary film stars like Sunil Dutt, Raj Kapoor, Rajindhar Kumar and Sanjiv Kumar had to depend on me for their health problems during their stay in Pahalgam. They had to have faith in me and I had faith in God. That helped us all. Since vehicular transport was a luxury, for the home visits to critically sick patients I had either to resort to a horse ride or foot the distance for miles often causing blisters in my toes. 
On one of those summer days when Pahalgam was brisk with tourists and river Lidder was roaring I was called to see Dilip Sahib while he was staying at Bakhshi house behind Natraj hotel on circuit road. Despite having met scores of personalities from film world I remember I was thrilled when I received a call to see Dilip Kumar in person. Ghafar, the nursing orderly picked up my bag in panic and we headed straight to see the legendry Dalip Kumar. I am talking of the days when Kashmir was peaceful and our VIPs did not need any security. I remember it was an intoxicating afternoon and Dalip Sahib was relaxing in the lawns of the house of erstwhile Prime Minster of J&K and the breeze gushing through the pines played symphony to entertain the guest of honor. Seeing me come down the parking slope leading to the lawns, Dilip Sahib moved out of his reclining chair to receive me halfway. I must confess it was first time I was overawed. The fragrance of special perfume derived from Kastoori was spread all over the atmosphere. Dilip Sahib immediately started to talk about Pahalgam, its mountains, rivers and forests. In order to give me some confidence he initiated to discuss some basic medicine and while he read my letterhead pad he was keen to know something about Mughal history in Kashmir.
Gradually during our discourse I came to understand I was called to check his blood pressure and to keep a watch on it during his stay in Pahalgam; not a big deal. Those were the days when a land line telephone system was the only connectivity with outside world. Somebody turned the wheel of the phone to book a call to Dilip Sahib’s personal physician that took us the whole evening to get to the doctor in Bombay. During my stay for couple of hours we sipped many cups of Zaifrani Kehwa as Dilip Sahib, like me, was a teetotaler and he narrated the story when he had accompanied his wife Saira Banoo to London for some of her health problem.
Some time back on one of the film fare awards I saw Shah Rukh Khan telling Dilip Sahib, ‘Dada when I came to Bombay I requested you to pray for me and you slapped me on my right cheeck saying - hard work, hard work, hard work is the only way out and with your that slap I have reached where I am today. Kindly slap on my other cheeck so that I go ahead form where I am today.’ During our discussion I came to know that Dilip Sahib was a Pathan by birth and had migrated with his family from Peshawar in Pakistan to Bombay in a totally alien place where he rose to acme of success in film industry through his hard work, hard work, and hard work alone.
On his 90th; birth day when I saw Dilip Sahib supported by his wife Saira Banoo towards a podium I wonder getting old has its own grace. Thousands of dignitaries present got up to clap in honor of a personality that ruled Bollywood for over half a century.  

Lastupdate on : Fri, 11 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 11 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 12 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST

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