Although I have never even touched a hockey stick in my life(forget playing),I somehow have this strong fascination towards this game....unfortunately our nation game called...HOCKEY.
I have always been active in sports since my school days.Be it Football, Cricket,Volleyball,Table Tennis, Carrom or any other game, I always wanted to learn and play as many sports as I could.However, call it the lost glory of hockey or the widow like treatment meted out to it currently, that I never had a chance to play hockey. Once during my school days, I along with my friend went inside our sports room to fetch the football and saw few hockey sticks standing in the rack. I wanted to but could not touch it since they had been in the same position since a couple of years and had become home to termites(दीमक). That day I just took the football and left the room and forgot about those sticks only to realize that this was my first encounter with the weapon of a game with which a lot of great men had fought the battle called INDIAN HOCKEY.
Later on when I grew up, I saw my father watching hockey matches in television with lots of excitement and this drew me closer to understanding the game and start developing interest in it.I somehow started getting attached with the game and started following India's matches whenever I could.My interest slowly transformed into keenness and passion. Keenness to watch my fellow countrymen struggle to restore the lost glory of hockey that was once nurtured by the legendary Dhyan Chand, and a passion to watch Dhanraj Pillai dribble from one part of the field to the other and bang it into opponent's goal.I sometimes feel that it is the similarity between my life and Indian hockey that has drawn me closer to this game.Similarity of having to struggle later in life after being once at the top.
Carrying forward my liking for this sport, I started reading a lot about it and also about the great men attached to it.I came to know a lot about Dhyan Chand...the legend, known as the wizard of hockey(हाकी का जादूगर). Few would know that his actual name was Dhyan singh and was changed to Dhyan Chand by his friends because he used to play hockey in the night under the moonlight.
I also read about Aslam sher khan and his struggles. Another legend K.D. Singh Babu on whose name the K.D Singh babu stadium in Lucknow is named after.Few would have tried to find out the significance of naming the stadium after this legend.
I am a big fan of Dhanraj Pillai and have always enjoyed watching him play. I relate him to be the current day Dhyan Chand. However, it was only after reading his biography 'Forgive me Amma', when I came to know how great a player he was and how step motherly a treatment was meted out to him by the Indian hockey federation(IHF). So much so, that on the day of the last match of his career in Athens during Olympic 2004, he was only given a chance to play for mere 98secs in the whole match.Literally a mockery of class like Pillai...huh!!!!!!
Having gained all this knowledge about our very own hockey, I felt sad and at the same time became more attracted towards it relating the challenges faced by it for its existence with the struggle of my own life. I hope that one day people would realize that this is the same Indian Hockey which was once conquered and ruled by some extraordinary players like Dhyan Chand, K.D.Singh Babu, Ashok kumar, Aslam sher khan and Dhanraj Pillai. And I have full faith that one day Indian Hockey would be able to rise from its current position and raise its standards to the same level as it was when Indian Hockey was at its peak....although, there won't be another Dhyan Chand and there won't be another Dhanraj.