With the first coffee cups of the day in our hands, I started telling Sangeeta in painful details about how Oprah and SRK were amongst my favourite people in the world and how they had taught me different but equally important life lessons. I did not say it to her then and might not appreciate her to her face as long as we are friends but Sangeeta is a patient girl. She listened to me go on and on. I hope all this praise and me calling her patient is true and she was not in fact revising one of her favourite books in her head while nodding politely at me.
Just as I was about to begin a new and long story about how I’m super intelligent because I’ve been gifted with enough sense to know that I should be learning from legends like Oprah, Kasturi came to my desk and announced that there was a meeting which I had to attend. Flabbergasted at being denied the joy of enriching Sangeeta’s life with my tales some more I just about managed to hide my anger. Reminding myself that work comes first I picked up my blue pen, phone and letter pad and walked like a hero to the small conference room.
I was sure that everyone, well there were 5 people in the meeting room, was up to something as the meeting seemed without an agenda and all I did for the next 3 hours was look at my watch and shout at everyone in the room. When I came out of the room my friends gushed and told me I had missed the opportunity of a lifetime. Oprah had come to office and had brought rajma chawal with her for everyone. As is my wont, my eyes welled up and tears started flowing in a bid to match the volume of water in the Indian Ocean. However, someone shouted at me and asked me to stop as Ranjan sir was just entering our department. The way my tear ducts stopped working abruptly was so mechanical that it was comical.
Heartbroken at not meeting Oprah and missing out on rajma chawal I sulked all day while everyone around me spoke about how nice she was. I sat in my corner and cursed the man who took me for the meeting. Time had decided to follow in the footsteps of a snail and all I wanted to do was go home and howl sad songs into the pillow. I picked up my laptop bag which suddenly weighed heavier than usual and started climbing down the stairs. If things weren’t already bad, just as I stretched my arm to open my car door, a man pulled me into a big car and we were out of the office campus before I could say, ‘SRK’.
Not one to surrender easily, I struggled a bit but was soon distracted by the awesome interiors of the car. The man who had pulled me in smiled at me and I blushed. It was my latest TV crush—Darren Criss who plays the role of Blaine Anderson in Glee. He told me that he was just escorting me to the place where I was to spend the rest of the evening and would not be able to spend time with me even though he wanted to. I sighed and before I could protest the car stopped and I was being pulled out by Gail (Oprah’s best friend). She hugged me and told me that since I was unable to meet Oprah at office I was to be one of the audience members for her talk show.
I was taken to a beautiful green room and dressed in a beautiful black dress. I looked at myself in the mirror and felt a twinge of sadness. This pretty and fated to sit in the audience, life was just unfair. There was an announcement and I was ushered to the studio. The sight of the cream sofa and Oprah looking stunning in red distracted me enough to miss a big picture of me, yes the narcissistic me, on the screen behind her. I saw her coming towards me and I remember thinking to myself, ‘Wow! She is amazing. She greets everyone in the audience individually.’ Just as this thought tried to make a home in the corners of my brain, Oprah held my hand and said in her inimitable style, ‘Priyanka Khot, welcome to the best hour of your life and stop crying!’ Never in my wildest dream had I imagined that I would disobey Oprah but there I was crying in a fashion that would give even Smriti ‘Tulsi’ Irani of the Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi fame a run for her money.
After drinking several glasses of water and being hugged my Oprah for several minutes I regained composure and sat down on the sofa where Tom Cruise had once jumped. We spoke about books. She asked me for a book recommendation and in my trademark style I decided to tell her peripheral details as well. I told her that my friend Sangeeta had recommended a book called, The Palace of Illusions to me and I absolutely loved the book and think Oprah should read it too. At this point there was a collective sigh of exasperation from the audience. It was their way of telling me that I had crossed the line by recommending a book to the reading queen—Oprah.
Oprah and I both ignored the audience. She in fact said, ‘Speaking of Sangeeta...’ and pointed to the screen where a slideshow of my photographs (mostly self-portraits) had been running till now. Viola! Sangeeta appeared on the screen with her big beautiful smile intact. She said, ‘Dekha! Huhuhuhahaaaa! Kar diya na surprise. She then turned her attention to Oprah and decided to tell everyone how SRK was my other favourite person and I believed that I had learned a lot from both Oprah and SRK. Sangeeta conveyed her bewilderment perfectly, saying, ‘But you know what, although Priyanka truly believes that a hug from both or either one of you will solve all her troubles, for some reason she never wants to meet SRK.’
Just as Sangeeta finished pronouncing the last syllable of her monologue, I saw the audience going into a state of frenzy from the corner of my eye. Then the title track of Kal Ho Na Ho started playing and I began to cry once again. Oprah took me by my shoulders and turned me around while I refused to lift my head up. I tried to drown my sobs into my palms. That was the best moment of my life. While he was hugging me and telling me to look at him, Oprah was shouting to the audience, ‘Here is the man who has a bigger fan following than Tom Cruise. Here is the man who can dance with women without any music. Here is SRKKKKKKKKKKKK!”
A big smile on my face, tears flowing as freely as the water of Niagara Falls, thanking Sangeeta in my heart for letting my secret out, I was hugging SRK and Oprah.
Just then, my mom decided to wake me up. HOW RUDE!