Those of you who follow me on Facebook would have seen my pic with Wasim Akram from a few nights ago when I bumped into him at Mango Tree in Souk Al Bahar in Dubai.
It was a pleasant experience meeting the former captain of Pakistan who was in town to launch the Dubai Super Sixes Cricket Tournament, for which he is the brand ambassador.
I was at Mango Tree having dinner with an old friend when Wasim Akram walked in wearing blue jeans and a white collared shirt. I noticed him when my friend pointed him out as he walked into the restaurant. And I was lucky enough to have a full view of him across a couple of tables as he took his seat.
Throughout dinner, I had half a gaze set on Wasim bhai, hoping to find the perfect time to go up to him and request for a picture. I did not want to do it on his mega table that seated some 20 people happily enjoying their Wine, Thai Food, and Gossip.
I had my eyes on Wasim bhai for almost an hour, before I saw him stand up and walk out to the outdoor area, probably for a view of Dubai's version of the Bellagio fountain.
Not really. He actually went out for a smoke.
And I followed suit thinking this would be the perfect opportunity to say hello, remind him of the last time we met, and also get clicked with one of my favourite cricketers of all time.
As I walked out, Wasim bhai was already puffing on his sutta. I lit mine and proceeded to approach him.
Me: Wasim bhai! Asaalam-o-Alaikum... (put my hand forward for a handshake)
Wasim bhai: Walaikum salam... (he had a wide smile and shook my hand firmly)
Me: I just wanted to say that the greatest cricketer to play for Pakistan after Imran Khan, is you. At least mera yeh sochna hai. (At least that's my opinion).
Wasim bhai: (his smile broadens even more).. thank you thank you..
Me: main aapse pehle bhi mila hu.. Imran Khan ke fundraiser me (I've met you before as well at Imran Khan's fundraiser) at Grand Hyatt 5-6 years ago.
Wasim bhai: Grand Hyatt nai, Park Hyatt.
Me: Oh haan (oh yes), it was at Park Hyatt. Uss waqt bhi hum log hotel ke baahir mile the sutta peete hue with the CEO of Shaukat Khanum (Even back then, we met outside the hotel while smoking with the CEO of Shaukat Khanum).
Wasim bhai: Bahut sutte peete ho yaar tum (you smoke a lot).
Me: You know when you took that hatrick against Australia in 1990 in the final of the Australasia Cup in Sharjah. I was there at the ground. Main sirf 10 saal ka tha but mujhe yaad hai. (I was only 10 years old but I remember). And then in 1999 when you took a hatrick against Sri Lanka at the Gaddafi, I was there also. I was in LUMS at the time.
Wasim bhai: Oh. Yeh to badi feat ho gayi aapke liye (that's a big feat for you).
Me: Sir mere liye kahan. Feat to aapki thi. Hatrick pe hatrick. (Not for me sir, the feat was yours. hatrick after hatrick).
Wasim bhai: Bhayee aapne meri do do hatricks ground me dekhi hain. Bahut badi feat hai. (Man you've seen 2 of my hatricks at the ground. Its quite a big feat).
Me: Wasim bhai ek tasveer lelo please. (Can I take a picture please).
Wasim bhai: yaar kisi ko dedo camera, khud loge to thora ajeeb sa lagega (Please hand the camera to someone, it will look awkward if you take the picture yourself).
Me: Yahan to koi nai hai. Waise me aaj kal Shoaib Akhtar ki kitaab par raha hu (I don't see anyone here. Btw, I'm reading Shoaib Akhtar's book these days).
Wasim bhai: Kia likha hai Shoaiby ne (what has Shoaib written), I haven't read it yet.
Me: Aapki kaafi tareef ki hai (he's praised you quite a bit) in the sense that he enjoyed jet skiing with you and he's talked about the pranks you all would play and the swim that you and him did in the West Indies from one island to another. But he also talked about that you almost didn't let his debut happen until Majid Khan threatened to drop you and 5 other members of the team unless Shoaib plays.
Wasim bhai: That's what he thinks. Majid Khan could never drop me.
Me: Shoaib also wrote ke kaash woh Imran Khan ke saath khela
hota (that he wished to have played under Imran Khan)
Wasim bhai: Ha ha .. He wishes. Imran ke saath khel ke party karta woh to usse samajh aati (he wouldn't have partied the way he likes had he played under Imran Khan).
Me: party to aapke saath kaafi ki hogi (he must have partied a lot with you)
Wasim bhai: haan ki.. wohi to. Imran ke saath kaise karta (Yeah he did. How would he have under Imran?)
Just at this time, two guys from Wasim bhai's table walked out
to join him and he asked one of them to take a picture of us.
I handed my phone to Wasim bhai's friend and said...
Me: Wasim bhai, sutte chupa lete hain (let's hide the cigarettes)
Wasim bhai: Haan yeh sahi baat ki yaar (right said man)
Wasim bhai's friend took some time to click the picture, and he didn't like the first one he clicked so he tried again. As he took his sweet time, Wasim bhai mocked him and said...
Wasim bhai: aray bhai tasveer le rahe ho ya painting bana rahe ho (are you taking a picture or drawing a painting?)
Once we were done clicking, I thanked Wasim bhai and as I was about to walk away, Wasim bhai said a few final remarks about Shoaib Akhtar...
Log bhool jayen ge Shoaiby ko... retire hua to log bhool gaye. Ab kitaab likhi to logo ne thora yaad kar lia.. thore din me phir se bhool jayenge. Aise logo ko kitaabe chahye duniya ke saamne rehne ke liye. Main jaanta hu na asliyat kia hai.. mere se poocho ke world cup final se ek raat pehle kitni larkion ke saath tha kamre me. Ab main bhi kitaab likh sakta hu aur yeh baatein likh sakta hu, but kyun karun. Dunya me aaj bhi meri respect hai.
(People will forget Shoaib. He retired and people forgot him. Now he's written a book and people have remembered him a bit. They will forget him again. People like him need to write a book to remind the world of their existence. I know what the reality is. Ask me and I'll tell you how many girls he was with the night before the world cup final. I can also write a book and write things like these but why should I. There is a lot of respect still left for me in this world.)
Ofcourse there is Wasim bhai!
I listened intently as he went on this rant and it felt as if I was with an old friend, gossiping and bitching about Shoaib Akhtar.
During our conversation, Wasim bhai was also at times distracted on his BBM, chatting away with someone.
I had the urge to ask him for his BBM pin.
Ofcourse I didn't.
I was more than pleased with the 15 minutes I got to have a smoke, engage in a light hearted conversation, and click a couple of pictures, with an all time cricket legend.
Dare I say, the chance encounter with Wasim bhai was more pleasing than any encounter with random females that I may or may not have had in the past.
You rock Wasim bhai!