He spent 27 years behind bars …. Came out and ended the apartheid regime and lead the bloodless transfer of power in South Africa and he turned 94 on July 18. Nelson Mandela – a true transcendent leader !! What tenacity and power over his thoughts he must have .. If for just one day you had to stay confined in a room in your own house it is enough to drive one mad and to be imprisoned in a regular prison for 27 years is just unthinkable. And then to have the willingness to continue the struggle. A true hero. Sure there is some clay on his feet too … Two marriages fell apart, there is a part of him that is dark, unexplainable in the vastness of his greatness. But great man he is !

Life brings together strange coincidences…. A much lesser human being chose to leave the earth this July 18th. A celluloid hero, Rajesh Khanna, the first superstar of Indian cinema (read Hindi Cinema) died this July 18th. A vain, egocentric, skirt chasing, arrogant, pimple faced actor who became a phenomenon – women kissing his vanity van, getting married to his photograph and generally throwing themselves at him. This hero not just had feet of clay, he was clay and dirt all over. Suddenly, his death brought him centre stage and all TV channels went berserk trying to outdo each other in paying tribute. Infact I wanted to write about the two superstars and their differences, the man Rajesh Khanna mocked years ago Amitabh Bacchan, today at 70+ gets nominated for the best actor award and Rajesh Khanna made a pathetic attempt at selling fans !! Stay in tune with the times to be relevant – big message for all of us.

Not one person watching Rajesh Khanna’s life could learn any lesson except that fame is momentary, transient and learn to remain relevant by keeping up with the times. Infact suddenly all his colleagues and family became teary eyed reminiscing about him, while for the last two decades he was relegated to some corner in people’s minds !! Strange how a sinner becomes a saint if he dies only if he is rich and famous. 🙂

Can our TV channels be a bit more educational – Rajesh Khanna will be the lowest rung of the ladder if Nelson Mandela was on the same ladder, so could we see more of his life and times as well ? There is much to learn about integrity and strife and winning. Such is life that a black man has a fair heart and a fair man has a dark black heart !!!

RIP Mr. Khanna and take the next birth to learn better lessons. Happy birthday Madiba – may you live long, for you add to the goodness on Earth and ensure the rain Gods continue to smile on us.

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