While having breakfast at the AVASA, an ordinary Indian man in his fifties was sitting in the next table. He was having an English breakfast that consists of poached eggs, toast, and jam, while I had the typical Indian breakfast - idly sambar, some seasonal fruits, and filtered coffee. Never did he struck me as someone with particular importance. We, in fact, gazed at each other momentarily in the midst of having our breakfast, probably wondering why one or the other was doing in Hyderabad. I had seemed out-of-place, perhaps?
A grandmother and her grandson approached the ordinary main in his fifties.
“Sir, may I have a photo taken with you?” asked the young boy.
“Of course!” placing his fork and knife on the table, “I gladly would.”
Young chap then stands beside him, while his grandma takes a photo with their Samsung smartphone.
“Thank you sir!”
“Your most welcome,” replied the ordinary man.
I paused, placing my fork and knife on the table. If a random stranger approaches you for a photograph, “you must me someone famous, right?”
“Well, just an actor.”
Later, I learnt that he’s a prominent Southern Indian actor. Not a calefare, but an actor who had major roles in movies that many Southerners grew up with. It was the equivalent of sitting next to George Clooney, and not knowing that he is George Clooney. It is this that surprised me the most - a man with popularity without bodyguards, entourage and such.
A conversation with him revolved around my travels in India, and my friend’s wedding whom I was attending at the time. He kindly listened to my panderings, clearly not having a celebrity aura. Further, he didn’t seem to be in a rush - then again, that is probably me just being an obnoxious guest.
The tone changed when we spoke about his son, who was in Singapore at the time.
“He’s in a coma, at the hospital.”
An article on the Times on India reported on his son’s accident along the East Coast Road at Chennai, which happened during filming. Then, a solemn look was upon him, since this is second nature to a renowned actor. With occupations today being the type where you had to name what your job is, his clearly came from his expression of grief. It didn’t last for long, but eternity… maybe?