During the British era, when Indians were not allowed to sport shoes in office, my grandfather was the first man in Cuttack, to put on football boots and play with the Angrez. As a result he had to forfeit his job of a 'Zilladar' because a few ‘gora sahebs’ were not amused with his lackadaisical attitude towards the rules of footwear.

So he said to hell with the job, carried on playing football in his boots and went on to become a renowned footballer.

If a man could defy his job for his rights, he certainly deserved to be made memorable in the public's fading memory. Therefore my Daddy wanted to entitle a rotating shield.

But organising a tournament cost money. And since for him money never grew under the table, it was imperative to pluck it out from the tree of goodwill. To donate a shield in honour of his father, Dr. Ferose Ali, my Daddy arranged a charity show.

In Waltair, where my Nana lived, Waheeda Rehman’s family were neighbours. She and my aunties learnt Bharat Natyam together. Although she was no big star then, she still had the combination of beauty and talent.

When approached by my parents, she immediately agreed to give a performance in Berhampur. A few thousand rupees were collected in the show that ensued, and The All India Fieaz Memorial Tournament was born. A star was also born.

A famous Telugu director, present during her dance performance, approached her for a brief dance sequence in his film, 'Rojdilu Marayai'. Dame luck smiled on this budding starlet of a few moments and the song and dance sequence shot into fame.

During the 100th day celebrations of her debut movie, Guru Dutt, who was charmed by Ms. Rehman’s haunting beauty, offered her a lead role in his film. This was 'her' story. The rest is history.

During Daddy’s term as General Secretary of the All India Red Cross Society, he arranged yet another Charity show for the construction of the Red Cross Hospital. This time however his approach towards Waheeda Rehman was a little apprehensive. When the star had adorned the skies as a solitary diamond, it felt approachable.

But when that same star had started to twinkle luminously, it felt slightly unapproachable. But Mummy was certain she wouldn’t mind.

And she didn’t. Waheedaji not only agreed to perform the dance number that had made her famous, but also brought along with her, Manna Dey, another accomplished celebrity. She and her troupe were put up at Palm Beach Hotel in Gopalpur.

The morning before the performance, she and her sister Sayeeda spent the day at our house. When Waheedaji was inside, the crowd outside was going crazy wanting to have a glimpse of the ‘Chawdwin Ka Chand’.

Mummy had arranged for our family photographer from R.K. Studios to be present. He arrived with all his elaborate paraphernalia, so that one day Mummy’s children could proudly point out to their grandchildren how their great grandmother and a great celebrity were frozen in time.

Later in the day, when Waheedaji practiced her performance for the evening, with our record player throbbing to the tunes of 'Yeruva ka saagara oh anna chinnanna’, everyone in the household was mesmerised.

Needless to say, the charity show was a huge success. Berhampur had witnessed a star par excellence, and Daddy managed to collect a whopping sum of over a lakh of rupees, which went in the construction of the Red Cross Maternity Hospital.

Fast Forward to 2019. When my sisters and I heard that Waheedaji was arriving in Bhubaneswar for a literary fest, we knew we had to meet her. Since we were still not into Selfies, we asked our nephew to accompany us as the ‘photographer’.

But we went without any great expectations because the barrier between a commoner and a celebrity is always difficult to bridge. And because her acquaintance was with mummy’s family, not with her entire khandan. So when she instantly agreed to meet us, we were thrilled.

But we were advised to approach her only after the programme. Even during the interactive questions we kept to ourselves and were pleasantly surprised when a guest from the audience asked her about her connection with Odisha and Berhampur and Dr. Ferose Ali’s family and she spoke so warmly about my parents.

Immediately after the programme, we approached her. She put her hand to her forehead and said ‘Aadaab’, the nostalgic Lucknawi andaaz which is such an Indian greeting, and so rare to be seen amongst our community of late. I handed over my book, where one entire chapter is dedicated to her. She asked us how we were related to ‘Wahab Saab’, their neighbour. And then it happened!

Suddenly a crowd descended upon us. ‘He was our Nana’ we screamed amidst the din. ‘Oh! He was your Nana’?’ she shouted back with a smile. But by now we were metres apart and she was being hounded for autographs. We realised we had not yet ‘frozen ourselves in time’.

So my elder sister somehow drifted back to her and requested a photo. My second sister floated along too. There was a firm ‘NO’ from the organisers who were ‘protecting’ her from the crowd. But she was adamant. ‘Nahin! Mujhe photo lena hai’.

Both my sisters were searching for me. It was only when I was fighting the crowd to reach them that I understood the burden of being a celebrity. Of how overwhelming and annoying, the ‘crush’ of fans can be. Somehow I found them and we all said ‘Cheese’.

After a minute Waheedaji asked. ‘Photo kaun le raha hai?’ It was then we realised that our ‘photographer’ had also been submerged in the sea of people. We shouted for the nephew, who somehow emerged from somewhere and managed to salvage the situation.

So we have to thank Waheeda Ji for giving us two memorable photographs. One, which was taken so easily without any drama; when there were no digital cameras, DSLRs, or smartphones, photography was such a challenging job. And another, which became such a trying and theatrical affair. Especially during the times when clicking a photo is child’s play!

Today we heard that this graceful, dignified, elegant friend of my Mummy was awarded the DadaSaheb Phalke Award. Needless to say, I feel so proud of her that it makes me proud of my mother. It makes me proud of my Daddy. It even makes me proud of myself.