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Shah Rukh Khan’s TED talk is doing more harm than good

Are you listening, Shah Rukh Khan?

By Salva Mubarak  May 12th, 2017

I am a simple human being. I get up in the morning, think about the life me and Shah Rukh Khan will live once we’re married, get dressed for work, imagine where we’d stay when we go on our annual trips to Paris, respond to e-mails, do my work, laugh at memes, pick out the colour the curtains in our new house will be, go back home, eat dinner while watching old re-runs of Friends, think of a name for our second Persian cat, go to sleep. Just like any regular human.

Now that you have some insight into my fairly uncomplicated mind, tell me honestly. Did I really need another Shah Rukh Khan thing to obsess over the whole day?

Like most things (and most unsuccessful people in India, according to Fair and Lovely ad makers), the universe isn’t fair. On my way to work, I decided to check what’s going on with my distant cousin’s neighbour’s daughter on Facebook. The first thing that popped up my timeline, followed by different variations of the same, was a headline promising to list down all the wittiest and most inspirational things Shah Rukh Khan said in his now-viral TED talk. Naturally I clicked on all the links and quickly realised the mistake I had made.

If you haven’t seen the talk (no judgment, God has made all his creatures equal. Even if they’re ignorant monsters who probably kick little kittens for fun), then here’s a lowdown. Shah Rukh, in his trademark charming self-deprecating way, compared humanity to himself, an ageing superstar grappling to find relevance in this continually changing world. He talked about the pitfalls of the Internet, the vitriol that he has to face on a regular basis and then borrowed a little from Albus Dumbledore. To be honest, he could have been talking about the construction of steel beams and I would have paid to sit there and listen. That’s what love is, and I’ve made my peace with it.

But let me ask you, Shah Rukh Khan — how do you feel now? Are you sitting back comfortably in your enviable study, chuckling to yourself in the knowledge that I am seriously considering how badly I’d have to sell out to be able to hire you as my life coach?

Shah Rukh Khan

It’s an exorbitant amount and my fundamental laziness refuses to let me follow through on that. So thank you. Do not miss the sarcasm, Shah Rukh Khan.

It’s a small consolation to know that this was a prelude to a regular televised version of TED talks in India that will be hosted by Shah Rukh Khan. So even if I don’t get my dream life with the man, I have the option to tune into the show every week to get him, in some way, to inspire me to be a better human being. Or at least that’s the hope.