Once seeing this old man talk to my son from the balcony of my flat I questioned my son about this gentleman. My son said, ‘Oh! Mani Thatha! He apparently was a former Ranji trophy cricket player. He comes everyday to watch us play cricket. He gives us tips on how to hold the bat, our stance, swinging etc.’
I wondered if kids these days even know what Ranji trophy is or even the difficulty in getting there. From then on I started watching this old man. I could sense the difficulty with which he was walking. But I realise what he was walking up to was his incentive! His goal! Cricket! And his pure love for the game! I saw how his aging eyes would light up. Seeing those children play, he was reliving the glory of playing the game in his younger years! By giving these kids tips he was passing on his knowledge, wanting to leave a little of him to the next generation. He must have been one of the many who wielded the bat and experienced the rush the game brings, but I realise for one such person, the rush never goes away.
The dust may have settled, the arc lights and glory may have faded, but the game is never truly over for one who has been there. He is still there amidst the noise, the mayhem, the madness and the thunderous applause of an electrifying stadium atmosphere, hitting sixers, acknowledging the roar of a million fans and making history!
As the old man walks back home, in his mind he is walking back to the pavilion, assured in the feeling he has done his bat proud, not to mention, his state or even country! Here he is walking back knowing he has done his bit!
Here is hailing all those unsung, unknown heroes who have done their industry proud! You are what makes the world go round!
Salute! And respect!