April 1, 2023

The day Dev won the heart of Goa – and mine too

Ali Peter John

January 27, 2021

Team Bollyy

As one more International Film Festival has come to an end in Goa , I cannot help going into a flash back when Dev Anand who I have like many others have always called Dev Sahab , was the chief guest at one such festival in Goa –  Ali Peter John

“Dev Sahab was to address a press conference at the Goa Kala Academy in Panjim ” Ali Peter John

He had agreed to be the chief guest after he was requested to by some of the most powerful men associated with the Festival.
As was a ritual between him and me , he wanted me to go with him , but I couldn’t fly with him in the morning , but he asked me to take a 2 pm flight and come to Goa.
I didn’t pack any luggage as he said we would fly back the next morning . I reached Dabolim Airport and panicked when I saw that there was no one to receive me from Dev Sahab’s company as he had told me.
Dev Sahab was to address a press conference at the Goa Kala Academy in Panjim at 3 pm and I took what was called a ” bike taxi” for the first time in my life , all for the love of Dev Sahab and there was such a hysterical crowd at the Academy , mostly to have a glimpse of Dev Sahab that I was left alone and had checked in into a cheap hotel in the market area of Panjim.
I knew that I would not be able to pay for the room and when I saw no way out , I called Dev Sahab on his mobile even though I knew he never used his mobile which his son Suneil had thrust on him.

The first sound I heard was Dev Sahab saying ,” where are you , Ali ? I have been so worried about you”

When Rajinikant Touched Dev Anand's Feet And Made Chennai Cry

I still remember his mobile number, The first sound I heard was Dev Sahab saying ,” where are you , Ali ? I have been so worried about you” I told him about the situation I was in and how I was in this small hotel.
The next thing I heard was Dev Sahab saying ,” you are not going to stay there for even an hour . I am sending someone to pick you up and bring you to the Taj .
The car and Dev Sahab’s man came to the hotel where I was and I was at the Taj within a few minutes . But, the story doesn’t end there . When I reached the hotel , they told me that there was no room available .
What followed was something I couldn’t believe . Dev Sahab called me to his suite and then called Suneil who was living alone in the large Taj cottage below .
In a minute , Dev Sahab called Suneil and said ,  “Suneil , tum mere saath yaaha aakar raho aur Ali ki cottage de do”.

“I tried my best to stop Dev Sahab , but he was Dev Anand and no one could change his decision not even the Dev above” Ali Peter John

devanand

I felt uncomfortable in that cottage , but felt relieved and nice when I thought about Dev Sahab’s gesture for me.
He had once again shown how much he loved me , which was and will be one of my most precious treasure in this life.
That evening there was a party at the Taj and it was a treat to see how every guest from different parts of the world was attracted by Dev Sahab who was at his charming best and gave everyone in that party the same importance.
Alas , that was Dev Sahab’s last visit in Goa and I don’t know why Goa doesn’t attract me any longer.
And it is interested to know that Zeenat Aman was the chief guest at the Festival that has just concluded , the same Zeenie Baby , the dum maaro dum girl who Dev Sahab had discovered and who was now a jaded oldish woman with wrinkles on her face and with tired eyes covered with thick spectacles.
But , that is what life is, as the eternal Anand called Dev Anand would have said.

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