This was end-2007, India's tour of Australia. This was the famous series where Symonds made a fuss over a certain simian address by our Turbanator, only to be realised later that our innocent hero hadn't done anything that severe - our innocent hero had simply passed an obscene comment about Symo's mother, nothing more than that.
This was also the series that included the test immortalised by Steve Bucknor and Mark Benson - two men of justice who turned an apparently ordinary game into a spectacular one, as displayed by the video evidence below:
This was also a series that was played a couple of months after the release of Om Shanti Om, a Farah Khan movie that, to the surprise of many people, I loved, despite it being a Shah Rukh Khan movie. Being commercially successful, the movie propelled the debutant Deepika Padukone into instant national stardom. At that point of time, she was the star, the hot Bollywood belle or whatever they call it.
She was there at, well, possibly Adelaide, possibly Sydney, I'm not sure where; what I'm sure of is the fact that she was there. And what I'm vaguely aware of is that there were simultaneous gossips involving her and our test and ODI vice-captains, Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh. For whatever reasons she was present at the ground.
Now, Sunil Gavaskar and Harsha Bhogle were at it when the gluttonous Star Cricket cameras kept on focusing on her at the gallery. After a while I heard the following conversation:
Sunny: That person in picture... her father is the greatest sportsperson India has ever produced.
Harsha: Sunny, I don't think any other Indian would use an introduction like that for her.
Before I could think of anything else my mouth curled into a smile, and it broadened. I realised how significant a part of me cricket and its commentators are. As Gavaskar went on about his legendary contemporary, I smiled in silent spasms, and knew that this was it. This is where happiness is. India in Australia, live test cricket in the morning, and those priceless comments. Not only was this an awesome conversation, it was as close a remake of Om Shanti Om in real life as could have been - reminiscences of a legend of the 1970s by another of the same era in the 2000s, the subjects in question being the celebrity daughter of one and the sport popularised in our country by the other. It was cricket and Bollywood, two of the things that have moved me the most over years, rolled into one.
That day I made a vow: unless there is an emergency I shall never press that mute button while a cricket match is on. Even if the commentators are as boring as Ravi Shastri and Tony Greig, they might slide in a gem here and there, which might create a moment as savoured this one.
PS: This post demanded a picture, so I thought I would use one of the forgotten hero in the story instead of the still remembered ones.
BANNER CREDITS: RITUPARNA CHATTERJEE
A woman with the potential to make it big. It is not that she cannot: she simply will not.
PHOTO CREDITS: ANIESHA BRAHMA
The closest anyone has come to being an adopted daughter.