Who exactly is a fan? The one who impersonates his or her favorite star or sportsman? The one who has truckloads of posters in the room? The one who can die for even a glimpse of the desirable? The one who can leap over every limit to prove the amount of insanity within?
We all proclaim to be fans. We all guarantee a die hard attitude. We all have our own bits of passion and paranoia. But if we ask, "What makes you a fan?", the answer would be equally entangled.
I am a fan of Sourav Ganguly, Shah Rukh Khan and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. But if you ask me whether I am the biggest fan or not, my answer would be, "Well, I don't know."
In the vigil of tracing out madness in the garb of a fan, I experienced many characters throughout my life. Some were so passionate that their love made them look either gay or lesbian. A friend of mine, male mind you, says, "I could change my gender to get laid by Hrithik Roshan". I stayed at a distance from the guy for weeks after that statement. And there was one who cut his wrist, scissored his sister's hair, just because Shah Rukh did that in a film. Imagine!!
The, Pune gave the me real personification of a fan.
At Contract Advertising agency, everyone has their butts on fire, and no guarantees of going back home till the client, his artwork, his reowork, his briefings are finally over. Somewhere, on a desk, you would find a little girl, who by no means is little, doing her day to day work and giving the agency more than what she was hired for.
Ambalika Sen. Meet her and you will summarise a very level headed woman, calm and composed (Sorry for the abuses, Amba!), dealing with odds bigger than the orbit. The first impression is not even a percent or iota of what she is.
The Ambalika known to the society, and the Ambalika we friends know are two different worlds. She might have a client hovering over with work and more work but dare to talk trash about her favourite star anywhere. She will track you down and leave you like dead meat; verbally of course!
Why i call her the true face of fanhood is pretty clear. Look, she is an SRK maniac. She is crazy yet controlled. She goes overboard to make her star look like God, but she also is the first in the queue to mark out the flaws in her hero. Unlike many other "Oh My God! He is so hot! I wanna belt him!" sort of girls, she doesn't entertain such fetishes. Her attachment is completely, evidently devotional. I found a true fan in her. Let me tell you why.
We Indians are majorly over reactive. We are colourful and we need reasons, or even a slight chance to exhibit our enthusiasm. We can shed sweat, blood and even sperm in some cases for the ones we desire and admire. My friend Anuj Saraogi, has every single cutout of Amrita Rao, since her debut. But is she aware? No. In similar cases, be it movies or sport, we tend to go over the limit to prove our fanatic approach. And that has paved the way for many occupations. From a blacker, who can sell the ticket at double the rate, just because you want to see your movie star on screen or the cricketer in the stadium - to the tabloids who can print whatever about your star, be fact or fiction, knowing that you will definitely lend your eyes. Want evidences? Check your bookshelves. You would find a collection of either Sportstar of Filmfare shining bright. Everybody is making money out of fanhood - the media, the stars, the intermediates, but not us.
But we fans don't need funds, do we? We just want our idols to notice the love and affection we treasure from them. But they, are not exactly what you think they are.
Have you ever seen a star interacting with the public besides their movie or album release? Does the Cricketer halt the bus, get down from it and give us an autograph? The answer is simple - NO.
These icons roam in cars with dark glasses, avoid eye contact with people, the same set which made them popular. They do not come back with the same amount of affection as we treasure.
I am not into some anti- fan club crusade, but all I want to say is that there is a fine line between excitement and stupidity. Most of the times, we cross that line on the wrong end. Never make something so important in your life that it starts commanding and governing your life. Fan hood is fine. But paranoia is a non curable disease.
I cited the example of Ambalika, much because she comes up as what a true fan should be. Craze doesn't hurt. But craze that takes you to zones where you face discomfort, definitely hurts. Who wants your wrist to bleed? Who wants you to get miffed in the crowd for a guy who won't even notice you? Who wants you to face trouble that was not even written for you in the first place? Your family and friends? Not at all!
But we are fans. We don't have a definition. Down South, they worship stars. Over north, everybody behaves like a star. Fans are those who get loved for what they give. Not the ones who get whipped for things they are not even meant to face. Still stars and sportsmen should feel fortunate to have such mad and crazy people standing as the backbone of their success.
No matter what trouble they face, they will do what they like. Going insane with all guns blazing, going berserk at every movement. But if they switch on the plug of sensibility, they would be Fan. Fanatic. Fantastic!!!