It’s no surprise that Shah Rukh Khan inspires many people. But perhaps the one person he’s affected the most is Weda Ayubi from Amsterdam. Weda – and her 8-month-old daughter, Maya – share a very special connection with the superstar, and recently spent time with him in Amsterdam, where he’s shooting for Imtiaz Ali‘s next, tentatively titled The Ring.
Weda was diagnosed with a tumour in her back at the age of 6, and after two surgeries the doctors delivered grim news to her parents: she would never walk again. Despite this terrible prognosis, Weda declared to her parents that she would stand up and take her first steps on the day she met her idol, Shah Rukh Khan. And that’s exactly what happened: In 2004, when she was 17, Weda met SRK for the first time. Upon learning that Shah Rukh was arriving in her country, she – as many fans do – waited at the airport to greet him. That’s where she met him for the first time, and requested that he help her stand from the wheelchair. He complied, and this gesture changed her life forever.
After meeting Shah Rukh, Weda, who had been bed ridden from the age of 7 to 17, decided to join a rehabilitation centre. She worked hard, and soon managed to take her first steps in over a decade. When the doctors saw her walking, they declared it nothing short of a miracle.
My room was full of posters of SRK and I couldn’t tell anyone how much I was hurt and shattered when I couldn’t walk. I could see the pain in my parents’ eyes, so I used to talk to SRK all the time in my room and I feel we have a special connection. When I met him, I got the confidence and courage to start walking and making an effort. I cannot tell you how much my life has changed after I met him. He inspires me so much and gives me hope.
In 2006, I came to meet SRK in Mumbai, then I met him again a few times in Holland. I met him last in 2014 when I came to Mumbai after I got married, and he had asked me when I was going to have a baby, as he knew that I always wanted to have one.
Earlier, I was a lonely girl. I never used to talk to anyone; my husband was, at that time, wanting to [date] me, but I had kept ignoring him too. After I met SRK, I did all of these things – and today I am happy with my husband and my Maya.
I had got to know that he is coming to Amsterdam as I saw his pictures at the [Mumbai] airport, so I went to the airport on Sunday and he saw me on Monday waiting where he was shooting. He came to me and asked how I was doing and how my daughter was. Then, later I connected with Pooja [SRK’s manager] and took my daughter to meet him and take his blessings. I went to meet him on the set with my daughter, mother, sister and husband.
I have never had a normal conversation with him but I feel he knows me very well. All I remember was my mother gave Maya to him and he gave her a kiss. I wanted Maya to take his blessings since he is a very important person in my life.
Weda is now a psychologist and works with people who have disabilities. Her husband is an engineer in Amsterdam. Her childhood connection to Shah Rukh, which lifted her out of her wheelchair, endures.
I feel very lucky that I not only got to meet him but Maya got his blessings too. I become very emotional each time I meet him. We just speak through eyes and emotions and he means a lot to me.