Democracy’s XI — The first three chapters
I kinda like Rajdeep; he is straightforward, feisty and sporting (his unedited interview of Pranabda is testimony). I have been waiting for this book quite eagerly i must say; the first book i have ever pre-ordered on Amazon.
The book arrived in the middle of a family get together — yesterday was bhaubeez and Janaki had invited her dad’s side of the family over. The packaging quickly disposed off, i started off on the introduction where i encountered this “ Test cricketers son cant wear India cap without being 1 of the 11 most talented players in the country”. I knew right there and then that this is going to be a cracker of a read. Tweeted this to Rajdeep, no reply… yet…
I decided to read this book in a flash forward and back sequence; started off with the chapter on Dilip baab, then Kohli, back to Tiger, you get the drift.
Stopped to write after the chapter on Tiger, stuck by a common thread in all three chapters — the triumph of will over adversity.
Dilip baab’s (prefer this over Sardee man- kya kare Goan jo hai) story is so beautifully told by Rajdeep, a true tribute to his father, also of an acknowledgement of his own cricketing skills, of the need to beat your own path and i guess to chase excellence. The best part of this story is the images it brought up of a time gone by, when Mumbai cricket invented “khadoos”, the part about kicking the ball over the boundary ropes brought about much laughter, when random people stepped into your life and helped take it forward, when bush shirts still reigned, when off days in test matches would allow a tandoori chicken eating competition, when Ananth Ashram was still around and wearing Kolhapuris was possible. There is a reference to an article written by Shiv Visvanathan — found it here — https://www.pressreader.com/india/the-times-of-india-new-delhi-edition/20070709/285082749567576
Sahi likha hai Shiv ne, “Dilip baab represented a goodness that is ending”.
The chapter on Kohli brings about a very different era; no tandoori eating competition- one cannot dominate the world if one is not fit wala era. To turn up for a match in the face of great personal loss is testimony to the passion this bloke has for the game. His intensity mirrored by his chiseled frame, his buoyancy on field symbolic of his desire to dominate, have all been written about before. What Rajdeep brings about is the romantic in Virat, his tribute to Sachin after the world cup win, his tremendous respect for his coach and his standing up for Anushka. Lot more stats in this chapter, again symbolic of a “data driven” age we live in. I quite liked the way Rajdeep ends this chapter; how the shagird still respects his ustaad, and how Virat turns up at the academy before any major tour. I had written a small piece on Kohli (shameless plug i know) http://roadtoshiroda.blogspot.in/2016/04/the-age-of-kohli.html. Nowhere in comparison obviously.
The chapter on Tiger is brilliant; all throughout i was reminded of Pu La deshpande and his immortal series “Vyakti ani Valli”. The tragic accident and Tiger rebounding to cricket in such a short period “the will” factor. The class of the man, his indifference to his status, his love for the game, the great friendship with Jai (cannot imagine a test captain playing under someone at a local level), his passion for music, the quiet confidence with which he was blessed and of course a completely different side to him — pranking Farokh Engineer was total fun. Rajdeep brings out the Pat in the Nawaab, a prince of hearts, a fighter to the core — the Melbourne match played with one eye and one leg, ending with a great quote by Mukul Kesavan “He remained untouched by the squabbles and sleaze that attended cricket’s transformation into big business in India. As a consequence, death finds him happily embalmed in fond radio memories: still tigerish in the covers, still a prince amongst men”.
full article here:
To be very honest I like the era of Pat and Dilip baab, a far more genteel time, less noisy and of course a time when the great Nehru walked this earth. Comes up as a soothing reference point in both chapters…
And now for Maahi ve..