Is Kapil Dev inside?’ ‘Who? Kapil Dev, the cricketer?’ I could not quite get the query. ‘Yes, he is there inside the pool,’ said a swimmer who met me outside the swimming pool of Talkatora Garden in New Delhi many moons ago.
I was in a hurry to go somewhere in Sarojini Nagar, but the thought of meeting an old schoolmate tempted me to again go inside the pool complex where I had gone swimming.
Talkatora pool was a big one divided into several parts when I last visited it for a swim. How come I missed him? Maybe he was not swimming or perhaps was in the pool office, I thought.
The thought of seeing him after ages thrilled me. I again went inside and inched towards two persons sitting at the edge of the pool, sipping a soft drink. As I went near them, I could make out that one was Kapil Dev and the other was Khazan Singh, the swimming ace. ‘Hi! Mr Kapil Dev, how are you?’ I asked, ‘Do you remember that we were together in DAV School, Chandigarh? I stayed in the school hostel. Many a time, I played with you on the school grounds next to our hostel.’
I looked at him for a second and went on, ‘If you cast your mind back, you will remember Mr Khanna was our sports incharge. Do you remember me? Perhaps not! You have become quite a big shot now. Maybe you have forgotten,’ I said all this in one breath.
‘Do you remember everyone from your schooldays?’ Kapil Dev asked. ‘No, not everyone,’ I said naively, forgetting his stature in front of a lowly journalist.
I just managed to say, ‘I am a journalist. Want to interview you some day.’
‘Meet me here,’ he said. ‘So, you keep coming here?’ I asked. He replied in the affirmative.
After this brief encounter with an old schoolmate, I left.
I will try my best to meet him again for old times’ sake, especially after his heart surgery recently. I still remember the encounter with him in the mid-seventies. I was sitting in the school canteen and he entered and told me to give him a pair of knickers. I was a member of the yoga team and in charge of knickers worn by the team players.
He asked me, ‘Tell Khanna saheb that Kapil has taken the knickers.’
Feeling uncomfortable, I answered, ‘I have a fixed quota of shorts. I cannot give you unless Khanna sir himself tells me.’
The truth was that despite my reasonably good relations with him, hardly anyone knew then that he would become a star one day and rule over the hearts of people around the world.
A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since I met him. I cherish the last meeting and hope to meet him again.
The UK extradition judge also ruled that Nirav Modi conspire...
Concerns have been raised about rampant abuse of social medi...
The decision on ceasefire, effective since Wednesday midnigh...
The excavation work was carried out from 11.10 pm to 2.30 am...
Kundu has been a vocal opponent of the BJP-led government in...