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#MyIdentityMyPride (every face tells a story)

Almas Khan

Ups and downs in life are very important to keep us going because a straight line even in an ECG means we are not alive. But if the DOWNs far exceed the UPs, then there’s a serious problem. And who else will know this better than Almas, who from her childhood has only seen the downside of life?

Downside No 1:
The year 2001, I was in Std 5th when my parents got separated and mom took me along with my 4 siblings to our maternal home in Bangalore. The house being a little too small we had to sleep outside, as it already had 15 members.

Downside No 2:
Mom to make both ends meet started working in the Cycle Agarbatti Factory and used to get Rs 15/- per day of which she used to buy Rice for Rs 7/- and Sambhar for Rs 5/-. That’s the only meal we used to have for the whole day, that too in the evening. It went on for almost 8 months.

Downside No 3:
During EID, we didn’t have any new clothes to wear but one of mom’s friend who used to own an apparel store let her buy dresses on credit. Everyone wore new clothes except for mom. That’s the day I decided that I will work hard, earn a lot and keep my mom happy for the rest of her life.

Downside No 4:
The year 2002, mom started gambling and as luck would have it, she started winning, that too, handsomely. Soon she rented a place, and we all started living happily. Everything went on well for a year and then mom started losing money on gambling. So, she started working along with gambling but soon she went bankrupt and we had to vacate the rented place. Mom then took us to a Dargah and we stayed there for 3 months.

Upside No 1:
The year 2003, the Dargah Mujawar (attendant) who used to like us arranged a place for us to reside. And then all of a sudden, after 3 years my dad, who was staying in Mumbai, inquired about our whereabouts and wellbeing. He even started sending around Rs 1000/- to Rs 2000/- for our upkeep. And when Dad was not keeping well, he asked mom to come to Mumbai as he wanted to see the kids for one last time. In Mumbai, he made our stay at his friend’s place.

Downside No 5:
The year 2010, Dad was all fine but it was a shocking revelation when we came to know that he has a second wife. Mom was heartbroken but she gathered herself and started working in a South Indian Food Stall. My brother started working as a newspaper vendor and I started selling Beauty products.

Downside No 6:
The year 2011, I started daydreaming about participating in a Dancing Reality Show and buying a house for my mom with the winning money. I started practising steps watching TV and one fine day I came across an advertisement about Terence Lewis Dance Academy. I was determined to join his classes but the exorbitant fee of Rs 75000/- blew my brains out. Seriously I am telling you, I have never seen or heard of so much of my money in my life, till then.

Downside No 7:
I was making a modest earning of Rs 4500/- and my brother Rs 7000/- and we used to hand it over to mom. Mom used to save a little bit for my marriage. And when my salary became Rs 6400/- I started saving for my Dance Classes.

Upside No 2:
The year 2014, I saved around Rs 28000/- and went for Admission with a little hesitation but was being told that I can pay in 3 instalments. Mom was against my decision to join dance classes but being a big fan of Dance India Dance she gave in to my passion. The Dancing Classes was an eye-opener for me. It was such a learning curve that along with dancing, I learnt how to dress up, how to carry myself, how to talk and also a little bit of English. I even decided to abandon wearing the Burkha which Mom agreed to after much persuasion. I learnt aerial and once were taken to ‘Shri Samarth Vidya Mandir’ in Dadar for a workshop where a chance meeting with Uday Deshpande changed the very fabric of my being. Here, I learned Pole Mallakhambha and came first in the competition. My picture got published in the Newspaper but, my bad luck, I couldn’t show it to my relatives as I was wearing shorts and was without Burkha.

Upside No 3:
The year 2015: After repeated auditions in Dance India Dance and other reality shows I finally got an opportunity to showcase my talent in India’s Got Talent -Season 8 and bagged the First Runner Up Trophy. Even my mother was shown on TV which was such an emotional moment for me, that I simply can’t express it in words.

Upside No 4:
My first Bollywood break as an aerial artist and choreographer came with Madam Kajol in the song Helicopter Ela. During the shooting, I meet the action team and got a break as a stunt person. I did the body double of Shraddha Kapoor in the movie Sahu. Till date I have done body double in more than 25 films, serials, promos, shows and have won awards & accolades for the same.

She is 25 years old with a work experience of around 14 years. She regrets nothing in her life. Even if her past was full of hurt, she still looks back and smiles because it made her who she is today.

Abhi to naapi hai mutthi bhar zameen, Almas ke liye sara aasman abhi baaki hai…

Inframe- Almas Khan
Story Penned by AsheshMallick-@mallickashesh