“Hey There!!!”

Was it really Amitabh Bachchan, THE Amitabh Bachchan who had just addressed my online self thus? He actually knew I existed? I had looked up the star’s blog in a highly skeptical frame of mind. Would a star as busy as the Big B actually write a blog himself? Would he really care about his fans to take the time to reply to them? Over the next few days, all my doubts melted away as I became privy to his thoughts and memories, got to see first hand his unbelievable humility and that wicked sense of humor.

“Hey there!” was how he had first addressed me and it became my regular greeting to him along with a generous sprinkling of smile emoticons in all my comments. The blog became an addiction, I’d log on every night in the hope that I’d be the first to greet him every morning. It was a dream come true. I was in conversation with my childhood idol!

Amitji’s blog, like the man himself, is a phenomenon. With dependable regularity, there was a new entry every day. He began calling us, his online fans, his “extended family,” later we were abbreviated to EF and lo! a family is what we became. Lifelong friendships were formed here, people from far-flung countries got to know each other, through this blog and bonded like long lost souls. Amitji, ever gracious, never stopped us from interacting amongst ourselves.

Very recently a Blogger friend SK’s wife was diagnosed with a tumor and he had to come to Delhi for her treatment from his hometown. Was he alone in that bustling, puzzling city? No way, fellow bloggers, EF’s rallied around for moral and actual support. One took the lady into his own specialty hospital and got the treatment started, another one from California rang up her brother in another hospital in Delhi for any advice, some others offered special prayers. Needless to say that SK had never foreseen this level of bonding among people who had never met before. I wonder if even Amitji had any inkling of it.

Through the added bonus of being his EF I got glimpses of the man behind the screen persona, his life, his values, his immense love for his family, be it his late parents or his adorable grand-children. I learned to sense his famed “moodiness” too, those days when nothing I say could cheer him up. And then a volte face when he would rib me and pull someone else’s leg. I could do nothing but marvel at the unique way he connected to each and every one of his bloggers!

I am eternally grateful to Amitji and his blog for bringing some of the most wonderful people into my life. On behalf of this unique ‘family’ I extend my most heartfelt wishes for many, many more long, peaceful, joyous years ahead on your 70th  birthday, Amitji! May all the blessings shower on you forever.

Madhumita Gupta has written for The Times of India, Hindustan Times, and the India Currents. Her prize-winning stories have been published in various anthologies and international publications like SAWF...