I apologize for this tardy response. There are, as usual, at least 3 excuses to defend my sloppiness, but I won’t mention them here. I realize these excuses are like the 3 legs of a tripod table, one of them is wobbly, the other is broken and the third one doesn’t exist.
It was indeed a pleasant experience to visit your website and navigate through it. The format has been almost seamless, so that one can move through the sections with effortless ease. While I tried to indulge in a hard-nosed fault finding mission – I couldn’t find any, excepting some minor typing mistakes.
Pardon me if I am wrong, but I always felt that while talking about the two greats – Gavaskar and Tendulkar, you have never resorted to brand Mr. Gavaskar as a child of a (slightly) lesser God (which other cricket writers have done) and I congratulate you on that. Sachin is a priceless gem in the history of Indian cricket – no doubt about that- but in the context of the time when Gavaskar played – perhaps, in addition to his batting prowess, he initiated the “looking straight into the eyes of the sahib cricketers” as well as the great bosses of Indian cricket and paid them back in their own coins handsomely and fearlessly. This attitude was further strengthened by Saurav Ganguly while he took up the captaincy of the Indian team. Perhaps you’d remember, I have mentioned this earlier – nobody in the history of sports journalism in India has so elegantly quoted two lines from a famous Rabindrasangeet (“Diner Pathik Mone Rekho, Ami Chalechilem Rate, Sandhyapradeep Niye Hate”) to accurately point out with a lyrical flourish, to Gavaskar’s enormous courage with the protective gears (or the lack of them) while facing the most menacing deliveries from the fast bowlers from all over the world.
Your write up about your predecessor Mr. Moti Nandy was another section which increased my respect for you. Your appreciation for him and the deep respect emanating out of your writings only shows the values which you cherish while pursuing your profession. This, I must say, is one of the rarest commodities seen now a days.
However, I personally loved to read Neville Cardus’ articles. I may be wrong but I thought there was a subtle underrating for him from your end. But I thought they always had a literary fragrance, which people like us used to enjoy very much. About Jack Fingleton – even he wrote only a few memorable articles, who can forget is all-time great article on the tied Brisbane Test in 1961 which was reprinted in one of the Sports & Pastime number which at least 30 of us savored in our Medical College canteen together . If my memory serves me right, his description of W.Grout’s runout during the final hour was something like:
“ Alexander collected the throw from the fielder. Grout ran desperately from the non-striker’s end. Alexander dived on the stumps. Grout dived on the crease. And Grout was out.”
After a long time I found this drama in your writings to excite the readers even he/she was not in the arena or was reading the report after the game was finished. I believe this is the greatest quality in you which we all marvel at.
In Bengali sports journalism, it was Shankari Prasad Basu who had this quality in his cricket writings. Mr. Moti Nandy took this to a great height and the trend has been most successfully carried forward by you.
I desperately searched for the exact time of disappearance of the conspicuous appendage on your face – as Sukumar Roy aptly concluded – You recognize somebody with the moustache. But even with a very careful scrolling of all the photos published in the website, I couldn’t find the answer ! When did your moustache leave you (or vice versa) ?
By the way, all thephotos are interesting. I immensely liked the “out of the box” photos.
But what makes your writings “unputdownable (ref. Sri Satyajit Ray) ? Perhaps the first thing is the way you start an article. Its so different, so catchy, so cerebral that one can’t help reading through the whole thing. A very good example is your article on Sachin Tendulkar’s great innings against Sri Lanka :country-region in Colombo recently. These sort of things make yourself absolutely unique and I happily reiterate what Mr. Moti Nandy has written about you :
“ There is no sports journalist within 1000 miles of Gautam Bhattacharya”.
Subir Mazumdar. October 5 2009