When I was in Class 7, in a bid to be different from my "boys" and " looks" obsessed girls in my school, I began watching a lot of cricket and some time in the 8th standard, I decided to have a mega crush on Imran Khan. So you can imagine the thrill I felt when I discovered that his birthday was just one day before mine !
So while other girls collected pictures of actors and rockstars, I managed to build up a huge collection of Imran Khan posters...many of them contributed by the senior boys in my school whom my "friends" had crushes on and were ignored !
My parents were appalled that their daughter had chosen to be smitten by a man as old as her mother and a pakistani to boot ! I saw a "man" in truest sense of the word and I admired his lean mean physique combined with an arrogance that sits well on men focussed on their ambitions. I was proud that whilst all my school mates swooned over "boys", I was the one having dreams about a real MAN !
I still remember, a catty classmate once told me, " Oh Imran Khan has a lot of illegitimate children" to which I had retorted ..." He is an attractive man, you know"...and this was in the 1991 when I was all of thirteen years old and without much exposure to a lot of things !
Time passed by, cricket as a game changed in character and I lost my interest . I had other crushes, fell in love and Mr. Khan lost his prominence in my life but he was never completely oblivated. I watched in interest as he fulfilled his dream of building a cancer hospital, retire from cricket (with certain sadness) ,marry a British girl half his age , father two sons, divorce, move into policitics, give some ludicrous quotes and even prayed for his safety while he was recently imprisoned.
Today, on his birthday, I wish him well and thank him for coming into my life and giving me the confidence to be stand apart from the crowd and be different . A learning which has made a lot of difference to my life.
As I end, I remember, Sunil Gavaskar , once saying that , Imran racing in to bowl was a sight for the gods. I nod my head in agreement.