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An Encounter with Bali

Today I chanced upon meeting a remix king from yesteryears in a most unimaginable place – Aadhaar Card Centre.

It so happened that I had to take my mom to this center to make her card as the deadline on 31st March was looming large.

So I was there on time and got my mother seated in a tiny corner of the claustrophobic center.

Suddenly I noticed a tall man almost bald with few curly strings of hair stuck on the back of his head.

His face seemed very familiar and suddenly my failing memory surprised as his name flash before my eyes and one of his popular songs from the nineties almost playing in my ears.

 

“Amma dekh tera munda bigda jaaye” was a chartbuster from a forgettable film called Stuntman starring Jackie Shroff.

The playback singer behind this song was Bali Brahmbhatt.

Bali was a rock star in those times with attire and swag; very few could match.

Long curly tresses, hanging out from his stylish woolen beanies almost befitting a desi Jackson look with a face sporting a perpetual broad childlike grin.

He had a distinct style of singing and a voice very similar to Anu Malik. He rapped, remixed and danced.

It was the time when music videos were the hottest launch pad for upcoming singers and models.

Bali along with Bally Sagoo, Baba Sehgal, and Sukhbir ruled this space for many years. But today, all are forgotten.

Bali- Brahmbhatt

Today I find him uncomfortably perched on a rotting foamed squeaky bench opposite us.

Crammed between unknown faces and the head stooping down, he tries to steal glances from the corner of his hopeful eyes if someone can recognize him.

In one of those moments, suddenly his eyes met mine. I hesitantly smirked and gave a nod of recognition.

An artist that he is, yearning to be noticed and appreciated had a sudden gush of blood filling his face, turning his pale white face to pink.

The broad childlike grin was back.

To make him feel special and above us commoners, I asked fairly loudly “when I get to hear your next album?” The glint in the eyes kind of shook me from inside.

“Not any more… I stay in London nowadays, taking care of my ailing mother. She is 91 you know…” answering in an unconvincing voice.

All the heads curiously turned towards him, and he smiled back at all of them like it is fine if you don’t know me but it definitely assuaged the plight of the fallen hero.

He looked at my Mom and asked me – “Your Mom?” I nodded; he nodded back with a smile that remained on his face the whole time till we were there.

 

When the formalities of Aadhaar registration was done, my mind skipped his presence as I was stressed to rush back home before the twilight traffic begins to grow.

As we headed out of the office, he approached my mom with a warm Namaste and shook hands with me saying “Nice meeting you Wish you all the best.”

The gesture moved me, and like a fanboy,

I hesitantly asked “Would you care for a selfie” I almost cursed myself for asking that as no celebrity will oblige for a selfie in such a dingy zone.

But with all humility, he obliged with his broad childlike grin and said: “Why Not!”

 

Selfie with Bali