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“Dhoni…Dhoni…Dhoni”, shouting at the top of his voice my elder brother came running into the house. “What happened?” I asked while engrossed in playing Contra (Video Game). “Get dressed, hurry! Dhoni is here in our colony!” My brother replied hurriedly while pulling out his best clothes from the shelves. “So what, who is he?” I enquired in a bored tone. “Dumbo! Just get up!” he said, while dressing up.
“Dhoni….Dhoni” I looked outside the window there was a small playground which was clearly visible from the backyard of our house. Many people, especially school kids, had gathered around a huge black car – Looks like a Scorpio, I thought. Soon my brother joined the crowd and I went back to playing my game. He came back after two hours and seemed a little disappointed. “What happened, did he shoo you away?” I asked jokingly.
“No, he is still at Chetan Bhaiya’s (Dhoni’s childhood friend) house, he will come out in the evening,” he said while picking up a video game remote. After around 15 minutes, a friend of my brother shouted near our gate, “Come quickly, he is leaving!” Nearly beating the speed of light, my brother was outside the gate and they chased his car as far as their young feet allowed.
It was around 2005 and my brother was studying in class 11, at DAV Jawahar Vidya Mandir and I was in class 9. At the time, we used to stay at Mecon Colony-D Block, where one of Dhoni’s friends used to stay. Mecon Colony is divided in blocks and at that point of time Dhoni ‘s pal resided in ‘J Block’, located at close proximity to the school.
One afternoon my brother dragged me outside the house to check out Dhoni’s car. As usual, the huge black car was parked outside his friend’s house. On the way my brother said it was a Mitsubishi Pajero and he went on describing its features which I was least interested in. Upon reaching the spot, we joined the crowd which was already shouting Dhoni..Dhoni..Dhoni! My brother went ahead to check his car and came back to report its awesome interiors, seats and other key features. I heard someone in the crowd saying, Mahi Bhaiya (Dhoni) scored 148 in only 123 deliveries, what superb batting; sixes were flying all around the ground and much more.
Meanwhile, one of the kids showed great courage and rang the doorbell of Chetan Bhaiya’s house. His mother politely answered and the door and said that Dhoni wasn’t there and they should return in the evening. Nobody moved. Everybody stood stoic in the withering heat.
After an hour or so, a few mothers came to the ground and dragged their kids away. My brother and I left too. Having very minimal awareness of cricket, it really seemed pointless for me to chase somebody I couldn’t care less about. It may seem strange but I never really bothered to figure out who he was, although the world was going gaga about him. As his scores soared, so did his fan base in Ranchi.
Then for the next few months, I heard multiple incidents from my family members or school friends about how they managed to get his autograph. He was such a down to earth person, he never lost patience when his car was stopped or was chased. I never heard stories about him showing off or saying ‘no’ to young fans.
One evening, my mother and her friend entered the house, happy and excited and narrated how they had stopped Dhoni’s car and had taken his autograph. My brother heard the story in repeat mode from her continuously for a few days.
“Mum, what did Dhoni say when you asked for his autograph?” he would enquire.
“For the 100th time I am telling you, he smiled and said, Aunty I don’t have pen or paper,” Ma replied.
“Okay, and then?” my brother was adamant. He wanted to hear everything all over again.
“He waited till we bought pen and paper from a nearby shop,” Ma answered.
“He could have left, why did he not leave?” he enquired.
“Because he is a nice person,” Ma replied.
“Mum, where was he sitting in the car?” he asked.
“At the back. Chetan was driving,” my mother replied.
“Mum, did you also see the car interior? Was it awesome?”
My mom’s naive reply was, “As far as the interior is concerned, the car had huge seats and everybody got a proper space to sit unlike our Fiat where a dozen people climb on top of one another to sit.
Days changed to years and the Dhoni mania was still high among us Shyamlians and Ranchites. One afternoon around 3.30 p.m. while returning from tuition, I noticed a red bike approaching from the far end. It was a long, empty road, just outside our school main gate. Due to the summer heat, nobody was outside except for average students like me who were attending extra classes. Even for a dumb, lost person like me, the roaring sound of the bike was hard to miss. As the bike came a little closer, the person who was driving slowed down. I saw him admiring the school while moving at a slow pace. With that long shoulder length hair the face seemed very familiar. I tried hard to recall where I had seen him. But it was in vain.
As we were about to cross each other, he gave a glance to the pathetic, confused, shy, not so confident kid – Yeah!! That was me. There was a high speed breaker so he hit the brakes much harder and I was jolted at the screecccchhh sound. He laughed, smiled and raised his palm. Talking to strangers was a strict ‘no’ at that point of time so I simply pretended not to see him. Though I was cold and rude, the smile was still intact on his face.
After so many years, the look on his face is still fresh in my mind. Just when he passed the gate and was about the cross the adjacent playground, I heard a few boys shouting ‘Dhoni! Dhoni!’. They jumped- started their respective bikes and chased Dhoni’s red Yamaha which now roared on at full throttle.
Unable to believe my luck, I jumped with joy. Never thought such a big star would stop his bike to give a warm smile to a little girl. I felt so bad for not being a cricket fan that day. Had I recognized him, I could have at least stopped his bike and taken his autograph which almost everybody in my colony and school now had. Not having any option left, I tore a piece of paper and faked his autograph so that I could go home and narrate the entire story a bit differently.
As I rushed home, my mind raced through all the incidents that spoke about his down to earth and warm personality. That moment changed my interest in cricket and after I came back, I took out the paper cuttings that my brother used to collect and went down memory lane of his famous shots and scores. I won’t say I am a die-hard cricket fan now, but yes, I never miss those hours when Dhoni is on the ground hitting boundaries or fielding.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
While pursuing my graduation in electronics and communication, I realized my life had nothing to do with why AC (Alternating Current) was passing DC (Direct Current) or why we had to turn into Aryabhata to answer which resistor or capacitor would fit in place. In the final semester, programming of Microcontroller introduced itself and our brief meeting was more than enough to kill the budding engineer in me. So after completing my graduation, I took writing as a full-time job. Of course, the transition was not easy and after 5 years of continuing in this field, I still encounter the question “Why did you choose to become a clerk after engineering” (I can be seen typing/writing/working all day). Over the years, I have tried my hand at various genres of writing such as Resume Writing, Blogging, Story Writing and Content/Website Profile Writing. Extracting the key points from a person's job profile and writing an impactful story in the form of a resume has always been my major area of Interest. So far I have worked for Top notch clients who were associated with big giants such as Google, Facebook, Walt Disney, IBM, Microsoft etc. Each day is a new stepping stone of learning, so I would call myself a truly passionate writer, who is keen to pour her heart out and let the rhythm of my words dance in sync with the readers.
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