Star Struck in Beverly Hills
By Haya Farooqui Irvine,

While shopping in the elegant South Coast Plaza Mall late in the evening with my sister Ayesha, I saw Fazal, my husband, hurrying towards us with an excited look on his face. "Quit shopping and come with me, I have a great surprise for you guys," he exclaimed. Judging from his exuberance I could feel the intensity of the surprise but still could not guess what he was up to. After traveling north for 25 minutes on the dreadful 405 freeway on a weeknight he finally divulged the destination. "We are going to meet Imran Khan," he exclaimed! "I just got from Ali and he wants us to come to this restaurant as soon as possible." Obviously, the exhaustion of a hard day's work was suddenly overcome with subliminal energy and exhilaration.

My only concern, before we reached the venue, was: Did we look "appropriate" enough to meet the star? After doing some "touch ups" and convincing each other that we looked fine, Fazal stopped the car in front of "Crazy Fish," a sushi place in Beverly Hills. Without even waiting for Fazal to bring the car to a complete stop, Ayesha and I jumped out of the car while it was still moving. Trying our best not to look star struck, we walked into the restaurant. It was easy to figure where the Khan was sitting because he was surrounded by a bunch of people hovering around him like buzzing bees guarding honey.

Dressed in a simple navy blue suit with a light blue Polo t-shirt and worn out dark brown topsiders, there he sat -- the most talked about, the most photographed and the most controversial sports idol of our country, masticating the raw fish, totally blasé despite the gawking eyes following his facial muscles as he ate. We had the pleasure of walking back home with him to our friend Ali's house, which was just a block away, as the Khan likes to walk after dinner. What more could a fan ask for … strolling down the streets of Beverly Hills on a moonlit night with one of the biggest stars of the country.

The journey from being a cricketer to a philanthropist and now a politician has honed his public relations skills and he exudes warmth and compassion. Although some may not agree with his political views, we cannot help but believe in his honesty and integrity as a social worker and a sportsman. He loves Pakistan with a passion and is striving to bring a positive change there. His relentless pursuit to build the nation's largest cancer hospital that provides free treatment won the hearts of millions of not just the poor and the deprived but also the rich and famous. It was a task that required tremendous commitment and dedication. The success of the project has once again driven him to take up on another challenge: Shaukat Khanum Memorial in Karachi.

He has always attracted a lot of fanfare from across the border and this time Aamir Khan, a prominent "male" actor from Bollywood, accompanied him and helped him raise millions of rupees for the hospital, in a star-studded gala event held recently in Pakistan. The bat that Aamir Khan used in Lagan alone brought 6 lakh rupees in an auction at the event. Now Imran Khan has turned his attention to the US and is planning a fundraiser later this year in May in the city of Los Angles along with several other cities and now comes your opportunity to also meet this great man and to be a part of the important mission to which he has dedicated his time and energy.

Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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