He’s called Indian TV’s very own sanskari babuji, and it’s not without a reason. The jokes and memes around him have been among the funniest we’ve heard in a long time. Consider this: Alok Nath was the first person to call Parle as ParleG or this: during school days, Alok Nath bunked a lecture to attend his daughter’s wedding.
This Valentine’s Day, we decided to ask ‘Babuji’ Alok Nath what he thought about dating, modern-day relationships, PDA and much more. We also asked him if he ever had a girlfriend. Here’s what he told us:
When was your first relationship?
Ahh…what do you mean by relationship?
A serious, committed relationship.
I don’t really know, ya.
Don’t know as in so many you don’t remember?
Na na na na. One relationship that went a long way was the one with my present wife. It was almost 30 years ago. We worked in a serial together in the mid-80s. She worked as an assistant to Nadira Babbar for Titli, and I was acting in it. We got to meet each other, got friendly and realised there was strength in this relationship and warmth. We dated for about three-and-a-half years and in ’87 we got married.
Before that, of course, being in a co-ed school, one would have friends over and we visited girls’ houses and there might have been puppy love, but nothing serious.
Heard of Tinder? What do you think of it? What would your Tinder profile say?
I’ve heard of it, but I don’t know too much about Tinder and I’ve never even dreamt of going on it because there is no need to at all. But if people want to delve in it, there’s no harm. Each one to his own.
Your views on being friends with an ex?
There’s no harm in it, but I don’t think it works. We can be suave and modernistic and liberal about it, but somewhere at the back of your mind, if you have a partner now, it’s like a dark room. And a little flicker could sometimes lead to lightning. You were in a relationship, broke up because of certain reasons, now both have parted and gone their separate ways.
Woh gaana bada acha hai na. Khoobsurat sa mod dekh kar chod dena acha...
Now you have a partner. She has her own. So why visit the backyard of your heart?
Should you split the bill on the first date?
In today’s time, why not? I’m absolutely on with it. With economic freedom and women empowerment, why not? And even if she pays the bills, it’s fine!
Would sending kabootars like in Maine Pyaar Kiya (1989) work nowadays?
People rather eat them!
How did you recover from your breakups?
If you like somebody, if she gives those kind of looks, that kind of an attitude and you start building castles in the air and approach her one fine day and she says, “Don’t be silly ya. I only look at us as friends.”
So whatever you had built up till then crumbles. It does break your heart, and at that tender age, the heart is susceptible to certain kind of breakages. The heart is tender, and it has enough space to accommodate more people!
Tum nahi toh koi aur sahi...
Where do you think youngsters are going wrong in relationships nowadays?
It’s a very confusing altogether. Nowadays so many things are happening all over the place. I’d sound really like a regressive babuji if I say stuff like the institution of marriage is crumbling. Hakikat mein toh ho raha hai ye sab.
And when you’re in a relationship, have been going around for a few years and one day decide to make it legal, sign papers, get married, call your relatives, have a nice wedding, and then, within some days, it is broken, you realise ki dimaag mein ek idea bana rakha tha jab aap mehbooba aur mehboob thei, sab chal raha tha, hunky dory tha. Lekin jab yatharth jab factual cheez aapkei saamnei agayi.
But I believe love is a beautiful feeling, but it cannot happen by force. I read something very nice that a wounded bird comes to you and you caress it, and care for it, and make it okay, she’ll fly away na? Because that is not her house. Her domain is the sky.
Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t, which is why divorces happen, separations happen. Each one to his own. Sabki apni bhawnai hoti hai.