With a hot cup of filter coffee in my hand, I cocooned myself in my oversized hoodie and began working. Before getting lost in the world of editing and iMovies, I looked up from my laptop. The sky was painted grey and the trees danced to the rhythm of the winds. Drops of water sprinkled from high above while people walked in silence. The evening was different. It felt as though nature was shouting the words cool and calm.
A few hours later, my phone rang. I answered to the frenzied yell of my best-friend, “Dhoni has announced his retirement, Shriya!” Why didn’t I know about this? was my first thought. You must be kidding was the second. A blanket of silence engulfed me. I looked out of the window again. It was pitch blank and the words articulated by mother nature kept replaying. I asked myself, was nature trying to give me a heads-up?
This was bound to happen, my mind foresaw the events. Yet my heart desired to see him play another World Cup. A sense of void overwhelmed me and for some reason, I couldn’t remember the last time he wore the Indian jersey. My fingers were tempted to use the keyboard and look it up but I decided to challenge my brain one more time. I tried hard to remember but the sight of Mahi in long hair and a sky blue jersey was the only image that came to mind.
2007 T20 World cup, that was the first time I saw him play. It was a game against England. It was the day Ravi Shashtri said: “Yuvraj is doing to Broad what Mascarenas did to him!”. At one end, Yuvraj made it rain sixes and the lad at the other end just smiled. The smile was captivating. In all the chaos and excitement, his smile filled me with joy. I was just seven.
Every single game from then on, my eyes have always searched for that smile. It felt as though his smile was the solution to every problem. During tense games, his smile was a sign of assurance. During a tough loss, his smile said the words soon the tables will turn, stay hopeful; and the smile after the victory would say don’t hold back, celebrate to your heart’s content.
While tributes and heartfelt messages from fans around the world pour in, here is what I have to say-
As a loyal and die-hard RCB fan, every summer when you flaunted that yellow CSK jersey, I loathed you. Those summer nights I would sleep with a tinge of guilt in my heart. But my inner voice would remind me that my admiration and love for you would blossom the minute you walked out in the blue Indian jersey.
As the IPL is commencing in just a month, I know I will have to live with the guilt and survive with no words of comfort. I smile and brush off this thought because that is what you would do. They say that your first memory of a game of cricket will always be the most important one. So thank you for making my first memory beautiful. Thank you for giving us so much happiness to hold onto. Thank you for creating magic. Being part of your era was and will always be a blessing.
Featured Image Credits: Business Standard