Virendra, lord of the heroes, of noble descent and brave design. Thats what his name means.
Till about a week back it wouldn't have mattered. But then, till about a week back I hadn't met him. I was oblivious to the perks of working with adidas till I sat on a warm evening last week in a group of six (the point being, that, it was select. well, select enough) and had papri chaat with a legend.
I know I sound star struck. Believe me, I'm not. This was no star that I met. I'm just struck by the demeanour Sehwag chose to adopt.
I write "chose" because with the kind of adulation Sehwag has seen and the years and times that have "braved" him, he could choose to be anyone he wants. And, he "chooses" to be himself. For a person who is being ridiculed by one and sundry on playing the most irresponsible innings of his life consistently over the last few months, responsibilty sits easy on him.
I don't know much about cricket apart from the fact that we, the audience impart the game with a life and, its players, with life after the game. We never fail to appreciate the human angle. Or so we think. We make them and then we break them so that they can make themselves. And, now, we have precedent. As Ganguly makes a comeback, with tears in our eyes, happy tears mind u, we take a bow and claim his success as ours. How touching!
Virendra Sehwag is going through bad times. He just happens to be in a position where we feel we all have a right to a piece of him. We invest our time and money in making Gods out of players and it is only justice that we demand when one falters. Considering the alarming frequency with which we declare the resurrection of Phoenixes it is no wonder that the Indian Audience begs and demands in the same breath. When he lumbers back to the crease only to get run out in the most humiliating fashion we conveniently forget that the road out of angst is laden with such illustrations of the bad getting worse.
I sat with Sehwag till he polished off his papri chaat that evening. The only thing I could think of was what must he be thinking of us.
His humility was made the hero repeatedly in groups of cricket crazy fans through the office. The fact that he smiled, he seemed so unassuming, he laughed at himself gave his fans the justification they needed to hold on to the person they wanted him to be. It felt sad that we needed justification for someone we believed in. It was tragic that he had to witness the need to justify, within us.
Yes, Sehwag is humble. Yes, fame has not changed him. Yes, he is our friend. He is also scaling a professional low. Behind that smile would be angst. But then, Virendra means of noble descent and what is nobility, if not, the graciousness to wait for time to heal its own course.
Heres hoping time heals in style.