Happened to be in Delhi for eight days. While the evenings were spent bringing out editions, the daytimes were put to better use. Spent time at some of the magical sites that seem to dot the national capital.
While I have been to all of these before, this is the first time I spent so much time there. Managed to take a lot of photographs, which is what gave me the idea of putting up a pictorial for a blog this time. Hope you like it. More importantly, I hope I know how to upload the pictures properly (many of you know how tech-challenged I am).
Aboard IC 809 to Delhi, August 8:
Guess who was with us on the flight – Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The India one-day cricket captain was in Mumbai for a team selection meeting and was returning home.
My colleague, a cricket-hater with a cricket-mad son, went wide-eyed, saying: “I don’t like cricket, but I must get Dhoni’s autograph for my son.” I told her to just walk up to him on the flight and say hi.
She did so, returning to our seats with a huge grin. “He was so cool! He obliged without a fuss and even asked how to correctly spell my son’s name,” she gushed. Dhoni just got himself a new fan – a cricket-hater at that.
It struck me how much Dhoni actually symbolises the brave new India. A boy who grow up in the middle of nowhere (Ranchi, till recently, wasn’t a town most people would know of) to become one of India’s youth icons. And he never forgot where he came from, never lost his small-town courteousness.
People love him for various reasons – looks, achievement, etc. I’m quite taken up with him because of his attitude to cricket. It has a certain abandon, complete fearlessness and a bedrock of confidence that comes with not being afraid of failure. He’s also a superb man-manager, which for me is his greatest quality.
Some day, I’d like to interview him. Not now, because he’s on a high and what he says might be predictable. I’d like to ask him, at a time when he’s looking back on his career, to describe in detail what it was like as the last ball of Twenty20 world championship was bowled – the strategy, the emotion, what his young team said and what he felt as the ball looped off Misbah-ul-Haq’s bat and landed in the fielder’s hands.
I’ve always felt that at such times, when you know things will never be the same again, your life flashes before you – in a pleasant sort of way. I wonder whether that’s what he will say.