Irrfan Khan, who is undergoing treatment in London for a neuroendocrine tumor, a rare form of cancer, says “There are challenges which life throws at you. But I have started believing in the way this condition has tested me, really, really tested me in all aspects — physical, emotional and spiritual. It has put me in a rapture state.”
In a long interview to Associated Press in London, Irrfan said: “Initially I was shaken. I didn’t know. I was very, very vulnerable. But slowly, there is another way to look at things that is much more powerful and much more productive and much more healthy and I just want people to believe that nature is much more trustworthy and one must trust that. The problem with me initially was everyone was speculating whether I would be out of this disease or not. Because it’s not in my hand. That’s nature that will do whatever it has to do. What is in my hand, I could take care of that. And it offers so much that you feel thankful. The way it is opening your windows to look at life. I would have never reached that state even if I had done meditation for 30 years, I wouldn’t have reached it. But this sudden jolt has put me into a platform where I could look at things in a completely different manner. And for that I am really thankful. It sounds strange, but they should trust nature rather than feel sad, and trust that whatever the outcome, it will be for good and it will be for the best.”
He’s worked with everyone from Mira Nair to Wes Anderson and Ang Lee and stealing scenes in both Oscar-winners (Slumdog Millionaire) and blockbusters (Jurassic World) alike. But all that’s been put on hold.
“No, I’m completely out of reading scripts. This has become a surreal experience. My days are unpredictable. I used to think my life would be like that, but I could never practice unpredictability and spontaneity. That has happened now. I don’t plan. I go for breakfast and then I don’t have a plan. I take things as they come.
“That has been really helping me a lot. I don’t make plans. I’m just spontaneous. And I’m loving this experience. There was something missing in my life. I was feeling a little manipulated by myself, by my own mind. There was a kind of disharmony in myself. It was bothering me. And I think this is what I was missing, this spontaneity. I know because we live in a world that is packed with plans, it sounds unrealistic. How could you live your life like that? But life is so mysterious and has so much to offer, we don’t really try things. And I’m trying and I’m loving it. I’m in a really fortunate state.”
As far as his treatment is concerned, Irrfan says: “ I have had the fourth cycle of chemo. And I have to have six cycles and then we need to have a scan. After the third cycle, the scan was positive. But we need to see after the sixth scan. And then we’ll see where it takes me. There’s no guarantee of life with anybody.
My mind could always tell me to hang a kind of chip on your neck and say, “I have this disease and I could die in a few months or a year or two.” Or I could just avoid this conversation completely and live my life the way it offers me. And it offers so much. I admit I was walking around with blinders. I couldn’t see what it offered me.”