Published in L.A. Weekly
As a teenager in Bombay, Aamir Khan was a tennis champion. When he came home from a match, his mother would ask if he'd won. Usually the answer was yes. She'd give him a hug.
After five or 10 minutes, though, she'd come back and sit next to him. She'd say, "The boy who lost to you, he must have reached home now as well. And his mom must have asked him the same question. And he would have told his mom that he lost." What is his mom feeling, he wondered?
The first time it happened, Khan thought: Did I do something wrong? Should I have lost? But over time, Khan started to look at his opponent differently. He would still try to win. He just would try to connect with him, somehow.
Decades later, Khan is watching a video to prepare for an episode of his first talk show,Satyamev Jayate. A woman has been gang-raped, and the rapists later tracked her down and burned her. On her hospital bed, she speaks her dying words.