Thursday, August 2, 2012

Leander

I stayed up to watch Leander Paes and Vishnu Vardhan (or J Vishnuvardhan) bow out of Olympics 2012 today. I normally avoid tennis discussions (with the rather cool excuse that tennis-ball sports do not interest me). I wasn't watching tennis today anyway. I was watching India in action. Leander in action. Till half-past one in the morning.

They've been knocked out today by Llodra, and more importantly, Tsonga: people who are ranked way, way above. It was almost a case of Sharman Joshi taking on Arnold Schwarzenegger. For Leander there might not be another chance either (well, he can still have a stab at it with Sania Mirza).

Much as I have respected and admired Indian sportspeople over the years and their commitment towards the country, I have never thought that any of them would be prepared to die for the country.

Leander Paes might. He might have as well been at Kargil instead of Wimbledon tonight, taking bullets instead.

He's that relentless. We have produced many masters across multiple sports. Cricketers, lots of them. Anand. Dhyan Chand. Geet Sethi. Prakash Padukone. Saina Nehwal in the making. Shooters and archers and wrestlers in the pipeline as well.

Almost all of them have been more talented sportspeople than Leander Paes. However, there have been one aspect where he has outdone them all.

Patriotism and pluck.

Some people use their sports equipments as paintbrushes. Some other as chisels. Some as tools. Some as pens. Some merely as a means to earn their bread.

I've seen Leander Paes use it as a bayonet time and again. Even tonight. At thirty-nine.

13 comments:

  1. "Some people use their sports equipments as paintbrushes. Some other as chisels. Some as tools. Some as pens. Some as a means to earn their bread.

    I've seen Leander Paes use it as a bayonet time and again. Even tonight. At thirty-nine."...epic lines Sir Mukherjee. wonderful again :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hats off... he is a legend... We will never get another Leander again!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. crisp , short & beautifully portrayed the heroism displayed by leander paes .......by going through your blog as suggested by arghya it really depicts the fact that "pen is mightier than sword " too good mr .abhisek mukherjee :-) keep it up

    ReplyDelete
  4. Daarun.

    And good luck to all of our athletes in competing well, and in getting medals.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I appreciate your sentiment towards Leander Paes, and share your admiration for this talented and tenacious sportsperson. However, you saying:

    Almost all of them have been more talented sportspeople than Leander Paes. However, there have been one aspect where he has outdone them all... Patriotism and pluck.

    - don't you think this is a tad uncharitable towards the other athletes? I mean, have you had an occasion to question the patriotism and pluck of, say, Saina Nehwal?

    Such comparisons are fraught with problems. Why not just accept that Leander is great because he is great, he has achieved greatness by his virtues, not because he is necessarily greater than someone else in this aspect or that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's the whole point. Saina is a very talented sportsperson herself, just like Tendulkar or Anand. Leander is certainly not.

      That's what makes him special. It's not the story of a special person making it to the top. It's one of a common man taking on the best and competing, clinging on by virtue of will-power and the pride of representing your country.

      Leander never looked out of place against Tsonga. He was supposed to be humiliated. Check the rankings. He almost ended up being on the winning side.

      Also remember that neither of age, talent, Indian Tennis Association and choice of partner was on his side. Yet, neither could stop him.

      I love watching Saina play. But Leander is something else - he's more of a soldier to me than a sportsperson.

      Delete
  6. অসম্ভব ভালো লেখা। আমার প্রিয় একজন মানুষকে নিয়ে বলে আরও ভালো লাগল।

    ReplyDelete
  7. Brilliantly written... And oh so true... What's beautiful is that along with Leanders patriotism, this write up brings out your patriotism too :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. "However, there have been one aspect where he has outdone them all.

    Patriotism and pluck."


    like!

    ReplyDelete
  9. boddo bhalo lekha!bishes kore last line-kota.mone daag kete jawar moto!

    ReplyDelete
  10. since the "Patriot" is a kolkatian?

    ReplyDelete
  11. says the man who tagged a post on tennis & Olympic as lesser-sports.

    But Leander is arguably the best this country has produced not just for his talent, but also, and I like your choice of words, pluck.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am not a tennis fan. I sit in front of the television and / or the internet to cheer for my country.

      Given a choice between watching Leander and Federer, I'd choose the former. Does that give you a clearer picture of myself?

      Delete

Followers