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Memories of a friend and his fondness for Sachin

by N C Satpathy
Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 14 : 56

October 30, 2013

Everyone is glued to the Sachin Tendulkar show in sleepy Haryana town Lahli where the master just guided Mumbai to victory, playing his last domestic match. Never before a Ranji match has evoked such an interest. I'm sure Siddhartha Mishra, the sports editor, would have been in Lahli for the masters domestic swan song. He would have driven down to Delhi soon after the match and we would have met up either at his hotel or at my place this evening and would have drank late into the night.

October 30, 2012

Around 9 am, while glancing through newspapers, I got a one-line text message from our common friend Sandipan Sharma. Felt the ground shaking under my feet, dropped the paper and cried like a kid after a long time. Siddhartha had lost his battle to cancer in Chennai.

Ten days later I was in Bhubaneswar to attend a prayer meeting in his memory. His bother Sandeep had taken great pains to bring out a commemorative book that was nothing sort of a revelation. There were so many aspects to his personality. He was a brilliant student and a gifted writer that I already knew.

But what I didnt know that he was his school topper, a champion Table Tennis (TT) player, had a great memory, a disciplinarian right from his early school days in Bhubaneswar and much more. The book also revealed how his jealous friends, after class 12, prayed that he did not take up English as an honours subject so that they would not have to compete with him any more. Also, how his friends beat him at a game of TT only when he wanted to lose it.

Same morning I read a beautiful tribute by the acclaimed Odia writer, Dash Benhur in Odia daily the Sambad, who knew him as child. Benhur recalled how even as a small child he amazed everyone with his exceptional writing skills. He wondered why Siddhartha was always drawn to philosophy of life and why he always mixed literature and philosophy in his sports writing, making it little hard to comprehend for an average reader.

I recall, Nirvana was his favourite word and he used it often. Really dont know why.

Siddhartha was a huge influence on all of us. Last winter, after his death, not many days have passed without thinking about him. He continues to be on my mind. He was on my mind while listening to soul-stirring bhajans by Subha Mudgal at Ravi Shankar prayer meet in Chankyapuri, Delhi, last December. He was on my mind while listening to Dhrupad singing by Gundecha brothers at Bhakti Utsav.

A year on, must admit, it certainly doesnt feel Siddhartha has gone away. After his death, I have reconnected with so many common friends I had lost touch otherwise. I keep going back to the album for old pictures and have read his brilliant articles on Sachin, Federer many times over. Notably, his First Citizen, Lasting Legacy on Vishwanathan Anands one-man revolution in New Indian Express. Our prized possession, an old picture of him and mine with Amitabh Bachchan, continues to adorn my living room wall.

There are million moments to recount and million things to reflect on.

One year after, I have come to terms and I am at peace.

Thank you my friend for those wonderful moments and rest in peace.

(Today is the first death anniversary of senior sports journalist Siddhartha Mishra)


More about N C Satpathy

N C Satpathy is senior editor at CNN-IBN. He started his career in journalism with Times of India in 1997 and switched to television in 2003.

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