My Childhood died today……
Manish Lunja (email@example.com)
Our great dada is retiring and the void which is being created will never be filled. I want to congratulate dada for his fantastic career; he was a great player and was a very inspirational leader. The world cricket will remember him for his sheer determination and never say die attitude. To be very honest with you, I am going through very ambiguous feelings now. I am both happy and sad. I am happy for dada who has had a memorable last test series. Not many cricketers get such a chance to have their farewell as special as this. I want to thank dada for whatever he has done for me.
Friends, on this occasion I want to tell you a story of a 10 year old boy – a boy who was considered to be dumb, very quiet, and reserved. People never missed a chance to make fun of that guy. Whenever he tried to do something there were always many guys around to pull his legs. No one understood him. A boy had absolutely no self-confidence. Teachers had already told his parents that your son won’t be able to do anything in life.
He used to sit quietly without saying a word and used to wonder that he is a big loser in life. Nobody had any sympathy for him. Perhaps he was too young to do anything about it. In year 1996, it was time when he had just completed his 5th standard examination and had summer vacations; he was watching a cricket match by chance. Although he had no interest in cricket what so ever then, the 1st test between India and England was over and one of the middle order batsman had to go back home for some personal reason. Indian think-tank had to play someone else in the playing 11 and that someone was none other than Sourav Ganguly.
That boy observed that there were lots and lots of speculation about his place in the side. Few of the team members said that he made it to the side because of regional quota. Few of them said that Bengalis are soft enough to play cricket, some of them said that he just can’t score runs in the leg side and some said he doesn’t have an attitude to play for India as he refused to carry drinks on the field in 1992.
The boy was deeply moved from inside, he felt sympathy for young Sourav and he prayed for him to play well. He was very curious about it and asked everyone about basics of cricket. It was the 1st time he was watching a cricket match as dada walked in. Very soon dada was on song. He played some fantastic shots and scored a brilliant 131 on debut against England at Lords. Young Sourav played so well in the off-side that there was no stopping him. Just when I thought that he scores on just one side of the wicket, he pulled Alan Mullally for 4 on the on-side following an exquisite on-drive. The boy was filled with bliss. He was filled with an awe that someone whose condition was like him is doing well. He was more curious to know about dada's life and soon discovered how he was dropped in 1992 after having played just 1 one-day match. He read Sourav's post-match interview and decided that he too will try to do something for himself. His childhood when was very repressed before just got life. The child inside him was just born again and suddenly there was whole lot of energy in him. He tried to understand what his real problem was and decided that he will work very hard to do well in class.
Very soon, Sourav scored another 100 in his 2nd match and that really was a confidence booster for that little kid. He had started to believe in himself. He started to wake up 5'o clock in the morning and studied day in day out.
Soon the result was there to be seen. The boy who always struggled to get passing marks got above 80% and was in top 5. There was suddenly an increase of 35%. Everybody was surprised by the change. Parents and teachers all were happy and were praising him. Eventually everybody was ready to help him more and more. .
It was in 2002 when he had board exams and he scored 84% in board. He was in top 5 in school. The same teachers who had ridiculed him by saying that he had no future were praising him.
The boy was so very much thankful to dada that he never missed his single innings and even used to keep fast for him when he didn't play well. Dada became his religion now. He used to kiss sourav's poster in his room after waking up daily and always used to thank him for the self belief he gave him.
Soon Sourav became India’s captain and started of very well. I remember the boy wearing a black band on his arm for about a week when sourav was not able to convert his starts into a big one.
Soon the Australians were in India with record of 15 wins in a row. The time does not seem be helping dada at all. There were charges against him for having an affair with Bollywood actress Nagma and his marital life seemed to be in a spot of bother. This had huge impact on dada. India lost 1st test match in Mumbai and dada didn’t perform well. There was hell lot of pressure on him. But he came back as he always does although he didn’t score too many runs against Australia but he didn’t let that affect his captaincy a bit and India won in Calcutta despite having to face follow-on and went on to win the series in Chennai. The boy had seen dada as a player but dada as captain was just improving day by day. The kind of aggression, the kind of passion and the kind of attitude was just unheard of.
But dada has this habit of surprising every one just when no one expects it. Just after Australian tour, India had to go to Zimbabwe for 2 test series. Dada failed miserably. The boy was sad but he had lots and lots of faith in him. Soon India went to South Africa for a triangular series. The boy was really horrified. Dada had to face bowlers like Pollock, Kallis, Klusener and Ntini. He didn’t want dada to open against a new ball in such a disastrous form. The boy was petrified when he saw Dada coming with Sachin to open the batting. There was lot written about dada being treated with chin-music and short pitch stuff. Match started and dada faced 1st ball from Pollock and with a little feet movement, dada just caressed it through the covers for 4. Suddenly the grin on the boy's face was gone and smile came on his face.
Dada had never batted as aggressively before as he did today. He just moved his one leg outside the line of the stumps and slogged all the bowlers all over the park and got his 100 in less than 35 overs. That very series he played such innings in each and every match. He had surprised everyone once again.
Just when everything was going on smoothly, the boy had his 12th science board exams but he didn’t do too well and got very less marks, even less than 65%. He had to struggle to get into a good Engineering college and just when he had lost all hopes, he got admission in a decent engineering college in year 2004. Just when the boy did reasonably well in his 1st two semesters, he did horribly badly in his 4th semester, at the same time dada was thrown out of the Indian team in 2005 after the Chappell-Ganguly dispute... boy's only support was gone and with kind of politics going on, it looked very tough for dada to make it to the Indian side. He made a comeback against Pakistan then was again thrown out. But he worked hard again, played Ranji trophy and came back against South Africa.
This time he did few adjustments in his technique. The bat follow through was a bit higher compared to his previous stance and as always he made a tremendous come back. That was the only relief he got and it was much needed one. The boy somehow did alright in his last year and completed his Engineering in 2008. He gave all the credit to dada for his success, who is not less than God for him.
Dada played well against Pakistan was had scored more than 2500 in that year but he failed in Sri-Lanka and was not getting any younger. The new captain MS Dhoni whom dada brought in international cricket had back stabbed him. He soon discovered that he is unwanted in the team. He lost his place from the ODIs. The friends before were no more friends now. The boy knew that even this time dada will be dropped against Australia and unfortunately dada was dropped from even the probables for the Australian series to play a match in Irani trophy by not even making to the probables. Dada was shattered this time. Exclusion from Irani trophy hurt him deeply but he was out of blue selected against Australia.
But dada was hurt badly this time. He decided to call it a day against Australia in Nagpur. No doubt selectors were happy after hearing this. However I must say that he won’t have been playing if he didn’t have the belief in himself. It’s not that easy to motivate yourself when you play for such a long time.
The boy had tears in his eyes when he heard the news of dada's retirement as he was too shocked to be able to accept it. It was only at the start of the 4th test match that he realized that dada will no longer be playing for India and knowing the kind of personality he is, I am sure he won’t reconsider his decision of coming back. In a way it’s good that he is retiring on his own terms otherwise he would have been humiliated again by being dropped from the side. Dada scored 85 and a duck in his final match. That was the end of a great career and a legend that changed the face of Indian cricket.
The boy is all alone and had tears in his eyes when dada played his last innings. With dada's dismissal the childhood inside the boy also died. The big brother won’t be there in reality to motivate him. The boy is all alone now. His childhood died today. He lost his child ness with this.
And by now, you must have realized that that boy is none other than me.
Whatever little I have done in life, I owe it to dada. Whatever I achieved won’t have been possible without dada. He taught me to believe in my ability. The most memorable moment of my life was when dada himself called me to his dressing room, he hugged me and gifted me his t-shirt too on which he has written " WITH LOTS OF LOVE - SOURAV GANGULY", that was the same time when I got the best compliment of my life when he said "MANISH I HAVE NEVER SEEN A FAN LIKE U" and I started crying. He told me at that time just to believe in myself and wished me good luck in life. Now we just have his memories. Whatever I will achieve in this life will be because of dada.
You are my God Dada. You might be retiring from International cricket but you will never retire from my heart. In this life, I promise you that I will stand by you till my last breath. I wish you all the very best in life and I hope that you will do things with same passion just the way you played cricket. I salute you great man, a standing ovation for you. Take a bow. I salute you with Indian flag flying high in your hand. JAI HIND!!
P.S.:- It is my personal experience which I am sharing with you. Sorry guys if it was too lengthy but do tell me if you like it. I would be waiting for your comments. DADAGIRI WILL ALWAYS ROCK!!