By Priyanka Pani:
There are times in life when you’re caught with an unexplained grin on your face, sharing some private joke with yourself. Many possible explanations for the grin. You could be enjoying a re-run of that cute/funny/hilarious incident in your head, or thinking of your special someone(s) or thanking your stars for that unexpected pay-raise. Or you may just have struck gold.
The realization that I had struck major-league, priceless gold dawned on me earlier in the day as I skimmed over the sports section of my best, most relaible friend in the worst time of my day (mornings…sigh) — the morning daily. The paper had at least two pages of newsprint dedicated, and rightly so, to the smiling giant, Muttiah Muralitharan. The man had decided to throw the towel in, leaving the cricketing world bereft of a spin wizard. The fact that makes his exit all the more epic is that it is almost certain that there will never be someone to match Murali’s record. With the traditional form of the game taking a backseat to its more modern upstart cousins — limited overs cricket — it would take a bowler eons to notch up 800 test wickets again. Also, his presence on the field shall be sorely missed because he was one of the few cricketers who always maintained a pleasing demeanour on field. Even off field, when he had to battle allegations of chucking, he did it obligingly and quietly went about clearing his name without much drama.
So what struck me as I poured over the effusive praise for the great was that I had the good fortune of being around in an age that had seen the best of the best — starting with the incomparable Tendulkar to India’s brightest prodigy in a while – Saina Nehwal — to Federer to Murali and plenty others like Michael Schumacher, Lance Armstrong, Michael Phelps and the now fallen-from-grace Tiger Woods. These names will go down in history as the benchmarks for years, nay generations, to come and I happen to be around to watch them do what they do best. I’d probably taken it for granted previously, passing up the opportunity to catch Tendulkar in action during IPL when it was happening in my own backyard in Mumbai. Not anymore. Now that I’ve realized I’ve struck gold I will ensure I make the most of being around at the right time.
Free advice: I suggest you do the same.