Surrounded amidst heavy paperwork and crazy deadlines, man remains engulfed in this lonesome world of adulthood. He goes about his monotonous work with utmost dedication but somewhere, something remains amiss. The perks of his high profile job are immense and so are the bonuses but he often finds himself drawn back to the days of old. The days when his family would huddle together for the nights of Scrabble or the moments when he would float the paper boat down the pouring rain. The days when he pulled off a cheap prank on his best friend and ended up laughing with him till his stomach hurt. The days when the gang accumulated together for the customary afternoon ‘adda’ over hot cups of ‘chaa’ or the days when he sought refuge in his mother’s ‘pallu’ after a hard day at school.

He has landed himself his dream job. The employees seem to adore his commitment towards his task but somewhere, something remains amiss. The lunchbox, with his favourite chicken roll, is wrapped to perfection but he hardly gives it a proper scan as he travels back in time and forces a smile. Those days of love and heartbreak; the days of fun and frolic. Of spending times with his family and his sister. He would do anything to relive those days but all he can do is reminiscence them and be engulfed in their bittersweet melancholia.

Nostalgia is a strange phenomenon indeed. It arrives when one is least expecting them, taking us back to the happy days of folklore and leaving us with a warm tingly feeling within ourselves, as we sigh softly at the happy days that have gone by. At Dharamsala on Sunday, cricket fanatics all over the world experienced a similar déjà vu and even though India was humiliated by the Sri Lankan side, they had witnessed enough to revel in the joy that had been offered.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The name itself brings back images of the long-haired cricketer leading the young Indian side to the first ever T20 World Cup. It brings back the bald cricketer holding aloft the World Cup trophy after a gap of 28 years. He is associated with IPL crowns. With Astute moves. A helicopter shot-hitter. The fright of the bowlers and the darling of his nation.

He was that and much more. He was the figure of calmness as the troops around him engulfed in hysteria. He was the voice of logic as the experts around him gave their own opinions. He loved his motorcycles and his pets even more than he loved his cricket and the small town of Ranchi rejoiced in calling this leader their own.

But as is the norm, the lows soon erupted and Mahi soon became a frail shadow of his former self. His power-hitting declined and his footwork crumbled. His ability to rotate the strike crippled and the boundaries dried up. The bowlers that had feared him once upon a time no longer seemed menacing and the six-hitting soon vanished into thin air.

All that was left was a Dhoni who was pushing and pushing hard for his success but as the world around him failed to accommodate his failing prowess, the talks of retirement soon emerged. With talented bench strength around, Dhoni was no longer indispensable and even though it hurt to say it loud, it was well known that he had become a liability in the team.

All of that changed in Dharamsala during the first ODI against Sri Lanka. Unable to handle the swing of Suranga Lakmal, the India team were tottering at 16/4 when the former captain walked out to bat. As the talks of the Indian team being flat track bullies refused to die out, Dhoni went about his work in a manner befitting a legend. Wickets tumbled around him but he was in his zone.

The bowlers were on rage, but he was hardly troubled. The rivals were screeching in exaltation, but the wicketkeeper was his confident self. He had faced such situations before and he had the potential to do it again. But would he?

For the next 87 deliveries, it was pure ecstasy. He stepped out and danced away when a short ball was aimed at him. He handled the bounce with his majestic power and attacked the good balls with élan and the bad ones with ease. Nuwan Pradeep’s length ball was clobbered away for a huge six and Sachith Pathirana was told why Dhoni had been feared when he was dispatched for a six over the cow corner, into the second tier.


It brought a smile. When it proved a challenge, the go-to man in Indian Cricket responded in equal measure. His knock did not prevent India from a loss but it did remind one and all that parts of our childhood will forever be held close. Dhoni might fail and might earn the wrath for his poor form, but when he does turn saviour, the bliss provided will be unparalleled and unmatched. On Sunday, he provided just that.

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