The place: JB Nagar, Andheri, Bombay
The time: 10.30 in the night.
The day: Ganesh Chaturthi.
A big white sheet had been tied across the end of the street, and a projector was showing a movie from the Sixties.
The huge crowd sat on the street, watching the movie, spellbound.
Everyday, for ten days, they had been watching a movie on the street, as part of the Ganesh Utsav celebrations, with the Ganesh Pandal dominating the scene.
Around 9 everynight, people would finish their dinner, slip into their night pyjamas, and up would go the sheet, and the magic would begin.
On that day, they watched as a rosy-hued man, with green eyes romanced the heroine. It was a fifteen year old film, but the magic was still strong.
These were the days before Movie channels on TV, before video tapes, before broadband downloads, and when the only film was either at the theatre, or in the evening on Sundays on Doordarshan.
The film was "Teesri Manzil", and the actor was Shammi Kapoor, and he was romancing Asha Parekh in the film.
When the song "Aaja aaja mein hoon pyar tera.." came on, the crowd went wild.
This is the song:
In the audience was a 14-year old boy, dark and thin, perched precariously on the wall of a building: it was the first time he had seen the song, but it struck a chord. The boy thought it was the most romantic thing to do: serenade the heroine in front of hundreds of people at a bar.
It was a bit worrying too: for one thing, the boy was not good at singing, and he was not as handsome as Shammi Kapoor...so, thought the boy, how do you exactly romance someone?
That boy was me, all of 14, and Shammi Kapoor became a part of childhood, and his songs a part of my life....
Today, he passed away, and I mourn: not just him, but, as I grow older, a part of my childhood too becoming history......