We visited Dakshineswar Kali Temple in the afternoon today. The sun was out full blast. Heated stone-paved floors of the temple complex were making us hop alternately on each bare-footed leg as we queued up to have a 'darshan' (view) of the deity inside. The queue was split in two halves - my parents joined me in one of the queues while Titli (my daughter) & Sarmistha (my wife) somehow ended up joining the other queue coming around the shrine. My queue moved quicker and we entered the shrine soon. Queue-driving shoves from the temple folk ensured that the 'darshan' was over in about 10 seconds and I was coming out of the shrine when Titli & Sarmistha were entering.
A little earlier we had spotted a very familiar face outside the Dakshineswar temple complex. I drew the attention of my family, particularly Titli, to a tall lady visiting the temple with her friends / colleagues. 5 year old Titli did not recognise her. Unsurprising. None others in the multitude seem to recognise her either - quite surprising! In a nutshell I explained to Titli the lady's claim to fame and how I knew her.
The lady was Jhulan Goswami, a formidable player in international women's cricket who, proudly for us Bengalis, hails from Chakda in Bengal. And here I was looking at my little daughter, who I would love to see loving cricket some day, obliviously queueing up next to the idol of many budding woman fast bowlers around the world.
The sight was both amusing and intriguing. Amusing, because of the contrast in heights between Titli & Jhulan. Jhulan is very tall. She towered over all the men and women around and was easily taking a peek of the deity over the heads queueing up in front.
Intriguing, because it led me to a question - what would have been Titli's thoughts if she had been older, in love with cricket and wanted to be a fast / seam bowler? The answer was easy. She would feel the same as I would if I ever got a chance to stand next to Curtly Ambrose or Wasim Akram in a queue. She would be going through a moment of unfathomable reverence as both her deity and her idol would be in front of her.
The closest I had with that feeling was when I met Adam Gilchrist at the Mohali airport nearly 2 years back.
"Damn - not again!"
That memory now inflicted more misery as I realised that I was again missing a camera today, missing out on another chance to store a priceless moment.
I simply had to make this post.
[Footnote, perhaps unrelated: I had mentioned Jhulan's hometown, or Chakdaha, in an earlier post on Paara cricket in Bengal. I will remember that place forever as I played my greatest match there!]
Update: Checked and found just now that Jhulan is already the stand-in captain of the India Seniors cricket team for the Women's Challenger Trophy. Here's hoping that she works this opportunity to her advantage after a not-too-successful English tour.