Celebrity connections

The connecting links often get obscured as the story goes around.

‘Our new chief minister, you know, was my sister’s neighbour years ago,’ claimed a friend the other day. ‘With the green thumb that my sister had, she even raised a bed of beautiful marigolds  in her garden with the flowers that got scattered in her place from the garland  that adorned the chief minister after his victory’, she added as if  to drive home how short the distance between the houses was!

Like satellites circling a celestial body, such tales and anecdotes spring up along with important events and personalities and circulate along with them. While some of these may be real and concrete, others may be far flung and imaginary born out of the desire to get connected with the well connected. During Pandit  Nehru’s peak days, an old gentleman in our town used to claim a relationship with  the first prime minister, pointing out to the remote roots his community had with Kashmir from where Pandit Nehru originally hailed from.

It is not uncommon to hear about  a luminary being ‘some one’s brother-in-law’s brother’s friend’s classmate’. The connecting links often get obscured as the story goes around (which bothers nobody except perhaps the story starter who would miss the aura surrounding the relationship) but the story keeps kicking and alive with intimate details of the luminary along with his strengths, weakness and anecdotes to prove them.

The other day, we were literally jolted when my teenaged nephew on a visit from Kerala  shouted out that a Malayalam actor just whizzed past our vehicle on a two wheeler. But the probability of a celebrity riding a two wheeler and  his being recognised with the helmet on in the Bangalore traffic in which even a father fails to spot his child intrigued me.

Yet, I kept my doubt to  myself  to let the boy be in his euphoria of having spotted a star.
Those who share posh localities of the film world are rich sources of star-studded tales to regale  their awe struck listeners with. It could be anything from the Big B waving to them to another one smiling at them. Yet, how a smile or a wave could be sensed from a sky scraper or from  behind  high  walls  that celebrities build around themselves for privacy and safety remains a mystery.

This practice of trying to get connected with big names is not an exclusive Indian phenomenon. A  foreigner working with my nephew  traced the genealogy of his dog to the canine brood of the royal family and proudly mailed the information to his colleagues and friends.

It is not only the heroes and heroines that people get themselves connected with.  In the ’80s when Charles Sobraj was in the news for wrong reasons, a neighbour used to tell everybody around about the dinner she had been in the same hotel in Goa from where Sobraj was nabbed just few days after!

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