Bharatpur Superintendent of Police Haider Ali Zaidi was a childhood friend of Bollywood star Irrfan Khan, whose death on Wednesday stunned him. Zaidi studied with him in school and college and was his neighbour once.
"I saw him struggling in his tough days -- he would travel hungry in local trains in Mumbai and at times would sleep without having food," recalls Zaidi.
Irrfan's mother, too, had passed away last Saturday.
"She wanted Irrfan to leave the film industry and become a school teacher in Jaipur for easier life and spend the rest of his life in their ancestors' haveli," says Zaidi.
"Despite touching new heights, Irrfan remained grounded... we'd often talk to each other," said Zaidi, adding "while Khan pursued MA in Urdu, Zaidi did his masters in economics."
Zaidi said that Irrfan had a helping nature. The police officer recalled how he saved his life once when he touched a live electric wire by mistake while returning from school. "Khan immediately pushed me away to save my life," Zaidi said.
"It seemed he would call me today and we would again share our memories", said Zaidi, barely holding his tears.
"I could not even attend his last journey," he said.
Irrfan Khan passed away on Wednesday due to colon-infection at the age of 54. His death sent shockwaves across the film world.