Losing Irrfan, My Second Father

On April 29, I woke up at around 11:30 am, had my breakfast and checked Twitter. The first thing I read was the news of Irrfan Khan’s demise.

I couldn’t believe it, so I googled his name to prove that the tweet I saw was wrong. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. I teared up and went back to bed.

Irrfan was one of the most gracious actors I’ve ever seen. I would watch a lot of his films as a child but back then, I didn’t know much about acting. But I realised how great an actor he was when I watched Maqbool on YouTube in 2016, and then of course Hindi Medium, Haider, Paan Singh Tomar, The Lunchbox, Life of Pie and more. Karwaan is still my favourite.

I consider Irrfan as my father because I lost my biological father in 2013. An Indian son usually looks up to his father and wants to work with him at least once in life. But I lost that opportunity.

While growing up, I got passionate about acting.

I would look up to my acting idols as guides and Irrfan was one of them. He made me fall in love with him a little more every day. From his movies to his interviews to his AIB sketches, everything made me like and respect him more and more.

When Irrfan, in one of his AIB sketches, said, “Ki mere ko khud aake bola Shakespeare , ki b******od Irrfan tune toh g***d hi phaad di,” I believed him. His mere presence on my phone screen made me happy.

With the goal of becoming an actor, I started participating in college plays. I wasn’t a confident actor, I’m still not. But in his interview, Irrfan used to say this one thing which kept me going, that acting was not his inner calling; that he had to cultivate it in different ways. This always encouraged me and spoke volumes about where hard work can get you.

I just wanted to work with him once. Was it too much to ask for? I don’t know.

When I read the news of his demise, I felt a sense of personal loss. I tried to stop thinking about it, but I couldn’t. Eventually, I realised that I had lost my father all over again.

I lost my biological father when I was 14. I came back from school and was sleeping in the afternoon and suddenly when I woke up, I saw many people sitting around me – including my mother and grandfather. They woke me up to the bad news and I took some time to believe it. But since I was so young, I did not know how to react to it.

Today, I’ve the same feeling again and I don’t know how to react to it. I’ve been losing important people in my life while I’m asleep.

I should probably stop sleeping.

I love you, Dad.

Rahul Goreja is a third-year journalism student at KC College, Mumbai. He was born and brought up in Lucknow.

Featured image credit: Pariplab Chakraborty