I walked into the TV room of a nearly deserted hostel when he was on 77 and settled down on the floor there in the hope of watching him create history, regain his lost form and most important of all, become once again a beacon of hope to millions, a source of pride and a good enough reason to be a complete, absolute and unhesitating fan.
His appeal lies in the fact that he has become what he has, not due to any special circumstances or because he has been arbitrarily gifted by god with inhuman talent, though of course he is extremely talented, his success and his wizardy and his persona on and off the field - one gets the feeling - owes more to his doing the simple things right, listening to his parents and practicing everyday than to reasons exotic and mysterious. There is that about him which reminds us of the uncomplicated good things that we were told about as children and which we all too often forget or ignore as adults, especially young adults. He always chases the ball to the boundary, never contests the umpire's decision, never says anything untoward, never throws tantrums, always gives it everything and does not crib and make excuses about failure.
He is that incredibly rare thing - a man whose greatness owes itself to values and ideals purely middle class. The Great Indian Middle Class. The back bone of the nation, its work horse. Everyone who becomes successful and famous seems to have to change his/her way of life, and 'break the shackles' of the 'common man's' way of thinking. People talk so often about 'thinking outside the box' and what not. Here is a man who did not see the basic values of truth, hardwork and simplicity as 'limitations', who did not see the need to change anything about the 'naive' ideals and aspirations of the educated common man. A man who is the very embodiment of all that is straightforward, decent and solid and that is so often mocked at by others who have supposedly 'made it'.
Thats why I am a fan of his. He is proof that all I have been brought up to believe actually works. One does not have to modify, stoop, distort and defile to succeed, even in this world.
What a man !