The Kiss of Life by Emraan Hashmi, Bilal Siddiqi is now available at Liberty Books stores and online
Reproducing an excerpt from ‘Kiss of Life: How a Superhero and My Son Defeated Cancer,’ Emraan Hashmi’s literary debut, co-authored by Bilal Siddiqui.
‘Who is this?’ I waited for a split second before answering him. I needed to make sure I replied to him in the right voice. He might be young, but he’s very sharp. ‘I’m Batman,’ I replied in a low, gruff tone. ‘Is that Ayaan?’ There was a pause. I could imagine his eyes widen with disbelief.
‘Y-yes? Is that really… Batman?’ ‘How are you, ‘Ayaan?’ ‘I’m okay, Batman. Are you fighting crime in Gotham? Papa told me!’
A lump formed in my throat. I decided to tell him what I had called him for in the first place. ‘Would you like to become a superhero like me,
Ayaan?’ He breathed heavily with excitement. I could hear it over the phone.
‘Yes!’ ‘Then listen to me very carefully. It will take some time, but once we are done, you are going to become better than Iron Man! You will be Ayaan Man!’ I knew Ayaan loved Batman. But I had already donned that cape. If I had offered him the chance to be Batman, he wouldn’t have quite liked the idea of us playing the same superhero.
The incongruity would get to him. That’s how I decided we’ll pronounce his name in a way that resembled another one of his absolute favourites – Iron Man.
‘Okay,’ he replied. ‘What will I have to do?’ ‘Listen to me very carefully, Ayaan …’ Five minutes later when I walked into the room, I saw him playing with his superhero figurines on the bed. He looked up at me sheepishly. I looked back at him and raised an eyebrow. He was brimming over with excitement, fighting the urge to tell me what had just happened.
‘Daddy, guess who called!’ I sat beside him hurriedly, playing along. ‘Who?’ I whispered, looking at his big, brown eyes attentively. ‘Batman,’ he grinned. ‘He told me how to become a superhero!’ I gasped exaggeratedly, matching his level of excitement, then leaned forward and hugged him tight. My son was going to be a superhero.
A light shower fell on the bustling streets of Mumbai as I leaned against a wall in the grim-looking corridor. A drizzle in January was quite uncommon, but it was that kind of day–a morose afternoon, that we conjure up in films so well, often accompanying it with a soft, soulful background track. But this was no film. It was reality. My eyes looked out of the window tracing the distant splash of rain on the helpless commuters. I felt lonely and isolated from them. Their lives seemed so much better than mine.
Here I was, at the Hinduja Hospital in Mahim, surrounded by my family. Everything would be okay, they kept telling me. I wanted to believe them. It was 14 January 2014–the beginning of an unexpected journey.
As I heard the creak of the little stretcher that wheeled Ayaan towards the operating theatre, my grip around Parveen’s wrist tight grip around Parveen’s wrist tightened. She followed Ayaan into the freezing air-conditioned room with whitewashed walls, with me in tow. It was the kind of clinical environment I detested. The smell of disinfectant took me back to the days my grandmother was battling for her life in the Intensive Care Unit, not too long ago. I looked at all my family members–my mother, my cousin Smiley Suri, Kumkum Saigal who I refer to as ‘Chotumasi,’ my child hood buddy Sharan-waiting out side. They anxiously nodded in support before we stepped in. The doctors were going to operate upon him. We looked at our little baby, sedated, completely unaware of the grave battle that he was about to fight.
This article is published in Times of India.
Web link: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/hindi/bollywood/news/An-excerpt-from-Emraan-Hashmis-co-authored-book-Kiss-of-Life-How-a-Superhero-and-My-Son-Defeated-Cancer/articleshow/51661536.cms