Monday, May 30, 2016

Anjali - Sunrisers Hyderabad's Most Ardent Fan

Anjali is a die-hard Sunrisers Hyderabad fan for the last few years. Perhaps the Hyderabad connection did it for her. This year her interest in the game has also increased and so did her knowledge of the technicalities, players, reading of situations etc. So she started watching entire IPL games - right till the late night endings.
Anjali made this placard half-way into the Tournament
- Go, Go, Go, Go, Orange Army

I had decided to excuse myself from watching IPL this time and use that time otherwise. But as the tournament progressed I caught myself watching games - mainly thanks to this eigth and a half year old die-hard fan and her many questions and observations.

The thing with her loyalty is this - it is complete. 100%. The team may not believe in itself as much as she does. And so, there can be no two loyalties in the house. I cannot support any other team especially when Sunrisers Hyderabad is playing. If I praise an opponent for some cricketing skill in an SRH game, she gets visibly upset. She feels betrayed. When SRH is doing well there is wild dancing and running the aisles with cries of 'Go Go Go Go Orange Army' etc. When the team is down, there is sadness, unhappiness. She storms out of the room and perhaps sheds a tear or two. She does not like us consoling her with vague stuff like - it's ok, there is another game etc. She will feel the pain of the feeling and deal with it. She cannot take lame excuses if she has to win!

Throughout the tournament her loyalty and commitment to the Sunrisers team was unwavering. Not a moment's doubt ever that SRH might not win. She kept supporting the team through thick and thin, through the criticism of her friends who supported Mumbai, RCB etc.

One day she asked me if we could go to a match in Hyderabad. I said we could, but somehow it slipped my mind and the final match in Hyderabad got over. The disappointment on her face was to be seen. Now we have made a pact to watch the first match next year. She also asked me is she could meet with SRH skipper David Warner (since you know VVS Laxman). I said, we will see what can be done. Next time. I have until then to figure out.

Not one SRH game was missed. Unfortunately, she missed seeing the final today evening because she is someplace  that has no TV or wifi. She kept calling me all through and sending me messages to find out the score. Again the full gamut of emotions. Sad, happy, ecstatic, tense. Woohoo when happy.

I know I can never support anyone with such fierce loyalty, such commitment and conviction. It's a trait that comes out of a special space, a space capable of deep love. Not for a moment did she express unhappiness at the way anyone played. All that mattered was that her support never wavered an inch. If she did her job right, i.e. support her team, they would do their job was the approach. Fantastic.

The placard was made by her half-way into the IPL tournament. She had made it in support of SRH and Warner, exhorting him to show what the team was made of. I found it lying on the wooden shelf. It dripped with her complete, undiluted support. I remember she'd wave that placard as she ran around the house.

Today when I saw Sunrisers Hyderabad win a hard fought tournament, wonderfully led by the indefatigable, resilient David Warner, who proved his great skills as a leader, it was a privilege to share the joy with the team's biggest fan that I know of over the phone, and hear her screams of unadulterated and complete joy.

I cannot but wonder - how lucky anyone must be to have fans like that. I am also envious of all the people Anjali will like and support - now and in future - because she will fight for them every inch of the way, share their joys and sorrows. (I'd like to be somewhere on that list.)

It's a quality I may never have, of giving someone my undiluted support, but it's one quality that I can never cease to admire.

Good for you Anjali. Good for you SRH.


Jayasrinivasa Rao said...

Beautifully written, Hari ...

Harimohan said...

Thanks Jai. :)