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Millennium Post

Love, hero worship and then some...

Love, hero worship and then some...
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Dear SG,
I’ve ruined a lot of school property throughout my adolescence. Rickety, withered desks were mercilessly attacked by rusting nibs of fountain pens even as I lovingly carved your initials onto them. Thus, it seemed only natural for me to address you as SG since right now, as I write this letter, I feel like I’ve gone back to being 14!

I remember watching the highlights of your knock of 131 at Lords on our old Onida television set in the living room of our modest house in a leafy neighborhood of sleepy Dehradun. I remember the crackling boundary that pierced through the offside to bring up your half-century. I remember the bouncer from Alan Mullally that came off your left shoulder when everybody went up thinking you’d been caught. I remember you chiding yourself for getting bowled by him. I remember your teammates giving you a standing ovation as you walked back to the pavilion after making history. Never before in all my 10 years had I seen anything as ballsy and majestic. You’d caught my imagination. And, my mother had caught me blowing a kiss at you on the TV screen! So much for catching and getting caught!

You know, writing this letter to you isn’t easy. There are too many things I want to tell you. Those were the days of Cola wars and cricket crushes. From Ajay Jadeja to Shahid Afridi, from Nasser Hussain to Rahul Dravid, cricketers were discussed hotly in claustrophobic classrooms filled with chalk-dust and chatty children. While my girlfriends dug up their personal details, scrutinized their hairstyles, analyzed their smiles, and rated their physiques, I sat in one corner poring over issues of Sportstar and Sportsworld, looking for any mention of you. In hindsight, it seems a little creepy, but love can be a little creepy, right?

When I was a little older I remember slapping a friend who had, in the middle of a discussion about the VB series in 2004, dared to raise a finger at you. I was about 18 then. Had he hit me back I’d have probably required reconstructive surgery but, of course, that occurred to me much, MUCH, later! Drama ensued but, what good is a love story without some drama and violence?
SG, I loved you when I was 10. I loved you when I was 18. I love you when I’m almost 28. I’ll love you even at 80. I loved you when you blinked rapidly between shots. I loved you when you would squat awkwardly to adjust your crotch guard. I loved you when you ran sluggishly between wickets. I loved you when the umpteenth short ball hit you in the chest and the whole world sniggered. I loved you when you edged yet another delivery pitched outside the off-stump to the slip.
Of course, I loved you when you struck those majestic cover drives. I loved you when you danced down the track and lofted the ball & sent it into the stands. I loved you during your Taunton knock of 183. I loved you when you decimated Pakistan in Toronto in 1997. I loved you when you kicked Greg Chappell’s butt.

I loved you when you took your shirt off at Lords. Loving you, though, has not been easy. From fighting with Sachin/Dravid fans to boycotting SRK’s films, it’s been a helluva ride- a ride I wouldn’t trade for anything else!

Good, bad, ugly, you’re the only man I’ve loved with all my heart, and will continue to for as long as I live. My life is incomplete without you. You’ve taught me to be aggressive, to stand up for myself, to never give up, to better myself every day, to never lose my smile and the twinkle in my eye. Maharaj, you’ve taught me to be the Maharani that I am! You, sir, are the greatest love of my life! Thank you, for letting me love you. Forever yours, M
Malini Banerjee is a snotty single child, mountain junkie, playback singer, Austen addict, hopes to soon finish writing her debut novel, and dreams of singing alongside Buddy Guy.
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