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Avik Chowdhury: Miles to go before he sleeps

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avik chowdhury

Football, football and footballers – I was only acquainted with these terms. Cricket was never my cup of tea. Trust me, it is not that I never wanted to understand this game; it is just that I could never really get it into my head. My elder brother, with whom I have grown up, unfortunately got into this game and I was never very happy about the fact that he was taking this game seriously and professionally until I came across this very handsome man with deep eyes and a really bright smile – Avik Chowdhury.

A former Ranji trophy player, Avik now spends his days with an unprecedented spirit because living, breathing and spending days on a wheelchair have been difficult for someone who was once  an outstanding all-rounder. Four years have been a long period and now his wheelchair acts like his weapon, the weapon which helps him to fight against the odds of life. But the tale doesn’t end here. He dreams, he dreams with his eyes open that someday he shall get up and announce his victory.

Being born into a footballer’s family, it was not a very happy thing for Avik’s father to realize the fact that his son was taking interest in a different sport. Still, he never stopped Avik from following his heart and supported him diligently. Avik started playing cricket at the age of six when he hardly knew what he wanted from his life but soon he grasped the fact that he was born to do that.

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He vividly remembers the day when he got the news of being selected in the Bengal team in the year 2007. Unfortunately, however, the celebration did not last long; Avik was only 25 when he had to give up on cricket after meeting with an accident. His family and friends were shattered and nobody had a clue how to deliver the information to him that a severe spinal cord injury had left him paraplegic and ruptured all his dreams.

As we all know, all the difficult stints in the world are given to mothers; even in this case Avik’s mother did the most difficult job. He was in so much pain and was under so many medicines that he could realize nothing. He says that he was just not able to process the fact that he might never be able to play again.

Avik runs out of words when it comes to thanking his people. His family, friends and every single person he knew in his life helped him to get back to life, to reality. Most importantly it was his belief in himself which helped him to survive, helped him to get back to his office and live a regular life.

When the entire nation was down with depression the day after Sachin Tendulkar announced his retirement, Avik shared a small story with me and I was awestruck.

Back in 2007, the India vs Pakistan Test match was supposed to begin at Eden Gardens. Yuvraj Singh and Ishant Sharma were in the national team squad but not in the top eleven, thus they were released to play for their respective state teams. Venkatesh Prasad and Robin Singh were then coaching the national team and decided to include two players from the Bengal team in their squad.

Avik received a call from a CAB official that very morning and was summoned at Eden. He says with a smile, “I thought some friend of mine was pulling my leg or was just playing with my patience until I realized I had offended that man on the other side who was very serious and in a hurry. The very next thing I did was I jumped out of my bed, changed in a minute and rushed.” How can he forget the day when he was advised to get into the dressing room by one of the CAB officials, the day on which the very first sight he caught, was of Sachin? Those five days are engraved deep inside his heart in golden letters.

He says that there are numerous things he learned from every player in those five days but he could never gather the courage to go up to Sachin and talk to him. To his surprise, however, Sachin on the last day asked Avik to put some zinc on his face. Avik still wishes that he could capture that moment and lock it inside a box. His interaction with Sachin was eventful and he shall always carry it in his memory.

A very interesting thing about Avik is that I have never seen him sad or depressed. He is a really disciplined man, follows a strict routine and makes sure that de doesn’t miss his gym and exercises a single day. Every time I see him talking about cricket with his friends and my two brothers, I realize that he knows very little about everything else under the sun. He says, “Life is a gift of God, respect it and it shall respect you back, as cowards die many time before their deaths.”

Avik still wishes and believes that his two legs will again listen to him someday and that he will walk down to Eden Gardens and shout loud to the world, “I live cricket, I pray cricket, I dream cricket.”

Here is Avik’s ESPNCricinfo profile


Edited by Staff Editor

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