Buddy Hirani eats like Aamir Khan, and edits films with Raju: Author Manjeet Hirani

Pilot-turned-author Manjeet Hirani’s new book, How To Be Human, is inspired from her dog named Buddy, and teaches life lessons from a dog’s perspective.

books Updated: Mar 13, 2018 18:30 IST
Henna Rakheja
Henna Rakheja
Hindustan Times
Hirani,Aamir Khan,Ranbir Kapoor
Pilot-author Manjeet Hirani with her pet Buddy — who is the inspiration of her debut book.

Though scared of dogs, pilot Manjeet Lamba Hirani couldn’t say no when her husband gifted a six-week-old pup to their son, with a message: A dog is a man’s best friend. That day she didn’t know that this dog, Buddy, will become her inspiration to write a book someday. “Do you remember Nikku who was featured as a depressed dog with Anushka [Sharma] in PK - the film? After the pack up of that day’s shoot, everyone said let’s give the dog back to the breeder. But, my husband, Raju kept it in a cushioned basket and sent it home for our son, Vir,” says Manjeet, whose husband, Bollywood filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani directed PK (2014). “If Raju wouldn’t have picked up the dog, I’m sure Anushka would have taken it home. She really loves dogs,” she adds as an afterthought.

Memories of that day fill up Manjeet’s mind, who has now released her debut book, How To Be Human: Life Lessons from Buddy Hirani. She, however, still laughs thinking about the past when she couldn’t enter a house if it inhabited dogs: “Once I visited a very well known politician, and became so frightened of his dog that I climbed up the sofa! Whenever I visited Dia [Mirza]’s house, her then pet dog Sultan had to be always tied up. So, I always embarrassed the host…”

But, like it usually happens, mothers give in for the child’s sake. So, once Manjeet gave in and allowed a pet in her house for her son’s delight, “It was like motherhood revisited for me,” she says, adding, “Buddy ka sussu-potti sab mujhe hi saaf karna padta tha [I was the one who had to clean Buddy’s poop]… I became duty bound even though Vir was the one who took Buddy out for walks.”

Cover of the book How To Be Human, by Manjeet Hirani.

Soon Buddy became the source of philosophical light that Manjeet always believed in. And it’s through Buddy that she decided to explore new ways of learning about living. “I like to read about philosophy, meditation, and that’s why I could philosophy Buddy. Getting unconditional love from a pet is one thing, but learning to live life from it is another. When I started writing my blog, I thought how will Buddy react to life situations; for example: Does Buddy believe in stars? I realised that Buddy gazes at the stars, but isn’t scared of them… Agar gardish mein tare hue to sabke honge sirf mere nahi [If the planetary position isn’t working, then it would be for everyone, and not just me], is probably what he thinks,” says Manjeet, whose debut book has 20 chapters – each inspired from Buddy. “Buddy didn’t go to school, or learn E=mc2 yet he knows where to jump and how.”

“I compare Buddy with Aamir Khan because both go to the same doctor, who has prescribed them a measured diet. Aamir ka khana bahut napa tula aata hai. If he (Aamir) visits someone’s house, then he carries his own dabba and doesn’t eat from outside. The same is the case with Buddy.”

And, this smart pet has a healthy lifestyle, too! “There’s a chapter on fitness in the book where I compare Buddy with Aamir Khan. That’s because both go to the same doctor, who has prescribed them a measured diet. Aamir ka khana bahut napa tula aata hai [Aamir eats a very balanced diet]. If he (Aamir) visits someone’s house, then he carries his own dabba (lunchbox) and doesn’t eat from outside. The same is the case with Buddy. I guess that’s why both of them are fit,” laughs Manjeet.

What are Buddy’s recent adventures? “If anyone wants to know the story of Sanju [the upcoming film on the life of actor Sanjay Dutt] ask Buddy because he has been with my husband throughout the editing of the film. In fact, Ranbir [Kapoor – who is portraying the lead role] used to love to come over and play with Buddy. Till date, Dia [Mirza- who has written the foreword for the book] checks on Buddy every time we meet. Likewise, there are many who have become friends with him. Buddy is like that… you should meet him,” says Manjeet as she shifts focus to her second book, tentatively titled Flight of Life.

Interact with the author on Twitter/@HennaRakheja

First Published: Mar 13, 2018 18:30 IST