January 25, 2020
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Suresh Raina

When mamma talks of having ‘fixed’ my career, I feel uneasy. These are dangerous times that we live in.

Suresh Raina
Illustration by Saahil
Suresh Raina

With star one-day cricketers, this hectic-shectic lifestyle is quite justified. Engagement on April 1 and wedding in a Delhi hotel last Friday. Why the hurry? Because we are one-day stars. I am among the toppers and do not push and prod like a Test batsman. My designer got ready my sherwani and finished working on Priyanka’s lehenga. Mamma ne bol diya, sab tayyar ho gaya, shaadi kar lo aur mein ne kar liya. For Delhi boys as shown in Hindi films, ‘Maa’ is everything. That is what Karan Johar told me at the reception. He invited me and Priyanka to appear on his TV show and drink coffee with him. Who can say ‘no’ to him?

Wherever I am playing, I still call my mom at least 2-3 times a day. Mind you, this is what Pepsi boss Indira Nooyi also does even today! This reflects our Indianness. I told this to Mamma and she ordered that at my reception we serve nothing but Pepsi Cola!  

Everyone by now knows that Priyanka and I were childhood friends in Delhi, lekin hum bahut close nahin thein, kuch lafda-shafda nahin tha. Response to the reception was good, fellow cricketers, the CSK gang, politicians, a message from NaMo, Bollywood stars, IPL heroes, bahut achha gaya reception. Everything was due to Mamma, who chose the girl, gui­ded my career and organised the wedding. Unlike some ‘moms’, she was not unha­ppy my Test career did not take off and urged me to concentrate on the one-dayers. Ek din mein sab khatam ho jata hain, I can have more time to spend with my biwi. 

But I must get Priyanka  back from Holland where she is working now. Mamma said “No big deal. Arun Jaitley saab se mein baat karoongi and get her back to India. If there is some delay, you can get a temporary coaching job in Holland. Jo hota hain, achhe ke liye hota hain.” But Mamma had to be careful. No doubt she organised my cricket career, fixed my wedding and reception, but when she talks of having ‘fixed’ my career, I feel uneasy. These are dangerous times that we live in, even innocent words and gestures can be misinterpreted! By the way, my cricketing friends organised a special party for me. It was a short film in a dark theatre and as I and Priyanka held hands and settled down, there emerged from the screen an array of fearsome fast bowlers, hurling fiery bouncers and short-pitched stuff and screaming “howzzat”. O, it was a scary experience. The doors were closed and I quickly dived under the chair. The lights came on and we had a good laugh. I convinced Priyanka, it was all a joke but it took some convincing.

The Mumbai-based satirist is the creator of ‘Trishanku’; E-mail your secret diarist: vgangadhar70 [AT] gmail [DOT] com

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