Jaisimha and Pataudi (Image courtesy: www.mljaisimha.com)
A titan of Indian cricket – and a wonderful human being – is no more. A little over a dozen years after his friend ML Jaisimha died of lung cancer, Pataudi – and I have not been able to bring myself to call him Mansur Ali Khan – has fallen to a lung infection. I was hoping that he would pull through, like he did on the cricket field where he battled adversity without flinching.
It was a privilege watching him play the Moin-ud-Dowla Gold Cup in my hometown of Hyderabad for an assortment of teams over a number of years, the Hyderabad side in the Ranji Trophy in places like Kothagudem and Sirpur-Kagaznagar, and the South Zone squad.
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I just have to hear the words “Once upon a time in Hyderabad” for my grandparents’ voices to come wafting in. My brothers and I grew up listening to the many moral tales that grandfather, a retired Post Master, had up his sleeve each evening but my grandmother recounted more stories about Hyderabad. I can recollect her voice quivered every time she recalled the advent of plague and how she had to move her brood to a camp in Punjagutta. And, for that matter, when she told us with pride about how grandfather braved the Razakkars during Police Action in 1948 and guarded a sackful of cash to be able to turn it over to Government of India Agent General KM Munshi.
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