From the airport to the Garib Nagar slum where Rubina Ali and Azharuddin Ismail live,the city resounded with chants of Jai Ho on Thursday as hordes of fans cheered the child stars,now household names after Slumdog Millionaire swept the Oscars.
Rubina (9) and Azharuddin (10) returned from Los Angeles on Thursday. Their neighbours in Garib Nagar had hired a bus to the airport. The moment they stepped out of the airport gate,blowing kisses to fans,their relatives hugged and kissed them.
Ive never been away from my daughter for so many days. I was missing her a lot, said Munni Qureshi,Rubinas mother. And father Rafiq Qureshi added,I still cant believe my daughter has become so famous. The family stopped by at Mahim Dargah on the way.
For Rubina,the most memorable moment was rubbing shoulders with Disney characters at Disneyland. I enjoyed the awards. I also clicked pictures with Mickey Mouse and others, she beamed.
Her uncle,Moiddeen Asghar Ali,had found Los Angeles an odd place. The food was so bland,the bed so soft that I could not sleep. Nothing like home,Mumbai, Moiddeen said
Across the street,Azharuddin reminisced,It was an amazing experience. I wore a good suit at the awards and was looking good. Danny uncle (director Boyle) took us around America and we had lots of fun, he said.
For Azhars mother Shamsuddin,the last few days were no less than a dream. It was an amazing time,though deep down,I knew it was not going to last forever, she said candidly.
Shamsuddin,who is blind in one eye,said she will always cherish these days for the rest of her life. I pray to Allah that Azhar will achieve what he has seen in these few days and become a good human being, she said.