V V S Laxman – Reformation from a Batsman to a Commentator!
The moment my dreams ended up, I woke up. I woke up to some nothing I’ve never felt ever. The window panes were beating, curtains swaying and the sun rich in vitamin–D was shining. The birds were chirping and the “Suprabhatham”, a classical devotional song down south here is being played on. Rubbing my hands, placing them on my eye lids for a short prayer, I opened my eyes to an absolute inertia. As I looked through the window of my apartment on the 8th floor, I could see the flood lights from a distance being turned off. Well, the latter were those present at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium here in Hyderabad. On introspection, I’ve arrived at a feuding answer. Why were the lights turned off? Why are they deserted and depressed? Why are they feeling pain? Or, are they really moaning the fact that the city’s finest son will never walk to bat again? The obvious answer ‘no’, only lead to my bafflement.
To say the least, things are not shaping out that well after 18th Aug, 2012. For once, I recollected that fateful decision V V S Laxman took on that day and how it struck a pall of gloom deep inside me. I’ve remembered how my heart sobbed and my eyes dampened, how I would walk past the boundaries of the stadium and lamented the loss of my hero on the cricketing field. On an absurd note, I even asked myself what on earth made him to hold a cricket bat rather than a stethoscope. Guess you all know he comes from a family of doctors. For that sake, his on field works can be related to medicine in some way or the other. The way he handled the deteriorating ball as if treating a patient fighting for life, the way he respected the good length ball as if he was speaking to his colleagues in medicine, the way caressed and gently cut the ball on the onside as if he was performing a life saving surgery, are a few to be named off. If I was shocked to hear about him leaving the game when he walked through the greens of stadium along with his parents, kids and wife Sailaja, I grieved in consoling myself in the movements that followed in the advent of time. I could not control my tears when noble people in sports journalism put Laxman in black and white as “The wizard among the muggles”, “V V S Laxman – The artist dude next door”, “The last of gentleman – A personal history”, “For the second innings man, it was the draw of the stumps”, “The man who brought thrills and hope”, to mention a few. His presence was more felt in his absence than ever.
Does time really hibernate there? (Wish it halted in the case of Laxman though). As Charles Buxton writes, “You will never find time for anything. If you want to must make it”, this legend never whiled away time.
Before the richness of 22nd Nov, 1996 were about to fade away forever, VVS, to his devotees had offered something special on 22nd Feb, 2013, half year into his superannuation. If in ’96 he wore the traditional Indian white colored uniform in Ahmedabad, this time in ’13, he wore the hue of a commentator in Chennai. Ironically, the opponents were Aussies both on and off the field. In the box, it was the 43 year old Victorian with 708 test match wickets, Shane Keith Warne. Like his inevitable ‘takk’, Laxman’s words were gentle and soothing. Hearing him is a thrilling experience. It seemed as he started replenishing the magic he once left. He was the semblance of his emerald past. The words were subtle, never lost coherence, never gained pace (like his running between the wickets), chaste in opinion and were above par. They were in fact, were of true professorship. On a personal note, listening to Laxman was like hearing to the early Morning Prayer (Aarathi) of Lord Sai Baba. Such divine were they.
As Rahul Dravid in his epic Bradman Oration down under in Canberra, 2011 says, “As individuals, we were asked to play to the absolute outer limits of our capabilities and we often extended them”, I hope Laxman leaves an indelible impression wherever he speaks, would be an epitome of professorship and above all, would add even more magic to “The Laxman Effect”, that once prevailed on this planet earth.
We are in hock to you a lot dear Laxman (elder brother).