top of page

In memory of Irrfan Khan

Photo by Rohini Kejriwal

The kind of stories that are told,

The ones that have impatient waves as their background score,

No hustle,

Like a smooth pour of vanilla milkshake,

Very plain , very loved.

Kind of stories,

That exchange dry paper overwhelming with an ocean of love in a humble steel lunchbox,

A subtlety that satisfies all the hunger.

Thank you for the stories,

For the maps,

That show us the way from the natural to what is human.

And for reminding us,

that art will always be a part of the heart,

24 frames per second.

Thank you,

For the words, the words and the eyes and hands and the voice,

Always speaking the truth.

Only and only the truth.

The shoes are too big.

The art is too subtle.

And you cannot imitate subtle.

There will never be a namesake.

Rest easy, Irrfan.


Maps caused considerable consternation growing up

What was the use of a blank map

That had to be filled out

If I couldn't navigate to the places on the map

Now the map I see is filled out

The COVID-19 dashboard

Dark red blobs over countries

Each bigger than the other

Bleeding into one another

Total confirmed cases: 3, 115, 977

Total deaths: 2, 17, 132

Yet the map doesn't show me everything

Somewhere an essential worker

Places another person in a body bag

A beloved actor passes into the night

Even the filled out map is not enough

For navigating the grief

For navigating the void


If I begin to tell your story

I don’t know what form it’d take

a shipwreck story

a survival story

a story of perspectives

a story of faith.

I was twelve when I met you

in those pages by Martel

i didn’t know that

your journey across the seas

across faiths

would hold a mirror to so many truths

truths faith turns its backs on.

I have so many fears

when I look inside me

and I am reminded of you

how you went through so much at sixteen

I am reminded

of the smile on my face

when I had finished your story.

yours, is a foray into the world

and into the soul.

your name, the subject of laughter

by your peers

is now a source of joy,

of hope.

I think of you and Richard Parker,

in that boat

and how you made out of it

despite your father’s lessons.

Now I know, that your story

is about finding a shore

and finding yourself

and about accepting life as it comes

and making the best of it.

My heart ached when Richard Parker

didn’t look back at you

but if it’s any consolation

I do, I do look back at you.

I hope you’re still out there somewhere

with your wife and kids

and I hope you tell them your story.

and Pi, you did make me believe in God

a God that cuts across religions

I am not sure

still trying to get a hold on it.

I hope you are okay with it,

my faith has room

for plenty of doubt.

-Piscine Molitor Patel- Pi by Shobhit Srivastava


1. My father isn't a big fan of movies,

but he has an autograph of this person who was in our city to shoot some movie about two decades ago.

On some evenings over tea he would recall the story of a conversation,

"हमने आपको देखा है |".

"पक्का?" .

"आपका नाम तो नहीं पता, पर आप बद्रीनाथ हो |"

"भई वाह, आपने तो पहचान लिया|"

That's the Irrfan story of my father.

That autographed page is kept somewhere amidst the old diaries of my father.

2. Fast forward to the first year of my college life at the university, that movie is a part of the folklore, an induction ritual of sorts, to truly understand the Allahabad University.

That's the Irrfan story of my College.

I am yet to see the movie, it never came by, someday I will, perhaps.

3. I have a virtual friend from a city called Southhaven in Mississippi.

Once we were talking about Namesake, and she told me she loved the movie and Irrfan Khan.

Since it was a text, I m not sure if she pronounced Khan correctly.

That's the Irrfan story of a stranger.

But I did watch Namesake after that.

4. If you would ask my best friend about minimalism, he would say he doesn't follow trends.

But he lives by the philosophy of life in a suitcase.

And enjoys his cigarettes by the window, and thinks about writing to a friend. His favorite romantic movie, The Lunchbox.

That's the Irrfan story of a friend.


वो दरिया भी है

और दरख़्त भी है

वो झेलम भी है

और चिनार भी है

वो दैर भी है और हराम भी है

वो शिया भी है, वो सुन्नी भी है

और वो पंडित भी है

ज़नाब वो कलाकार एक है

पर उसके शक्ल हज़ार

उसकी सादगी उसकी अदाकारी नहीं

उसके जीने का रवैया है

उसके चेहरे की लकीरें

मुख़्तलिफ़ नक़्शे बुनकर

दुनिया की थोड़ी सैर

हमें करा जाती हैं


उसकी मौत पर

ना चाहते भी

सारी आंखें थोड़ी नम सी हो जाती हैं


हर किरदार को बखूबी अंजाम देने वाला

आज़ अपनी ज़िन्दगी ही अधूरी छोड़ गया

ये कैसा इज्तिरार है

एक अंजान की मौत पर

जो पूरे शहर को सूना छोड़ गया

इरफ़ान ख़ान के लिए

(मुख़्तलिफ़ : different

इज्तिरार : restlessness)

-Nawazish (Attributes in the first stanza are taken from the film Haider)


there is no word

for goodbye in

my mother tongue.


one of the

finest actors this

country has known


after a long battle

with cancer.

and today

another legend

from film bids adieu.

they were

somebody's father,

somebody's husband,

somebody's brother,

and somebody's friend.

I never knew them,

and guess

now I never would.

I never knew them,

but I'm jealous of them


I see how their absence

affects the people

around them.

and that shows

that they were loved.

do you ever think

how will the world react

if you stopped existing?

would it be poetic, like

in the movies?

you are wrong.

there is nothing poetic

about death and

grief is deep

like an ocean,

bigger than us,

only healed with

faith, time, and love.

and no matter

how long we have lived,

our loved ones

never learn to say goodbye.

maybe that is why

there is no word

for goodbye

in my mother tongue.


And then it ends,

just like everything else in life

And you're left wondering if there was anything

that you could've done to make it more worthwhile

Life is funny, isn't it?

One moment you're clicking photos of yellow butterflies

and the next you're crying over the death of your favourite artist

The artist who didn't even know that you exist,

and yet you give them ownership of your tears

I wish I never live to see the day when someone I love

more than myself takes their last breath.

I know I would blame it all on myself. I always do.

I feel like I could've saved them, those helpless souls.

If I could, I would gladly take responsibilty for every death

of every human that has ever lived if it meant

eternal happiness for the people I love.

But I can't, and I know I have to let them go.

Because in the end, like Irrfan said,

the whole of life becomes an act of letting go.

But what hurt me the most is

not having a chance to say goodbye.


Blog: Blog2


Blog: GetSubscribers_Widget
bottom of page