Comings and goings are the thing of a mortal world.There are no Gods.We all know.Yet,some in their passing make many to rub their eyes in disbelief,stir themselves,sit up to take notice.One such was this beautiful face of the boxing gloves !
Who of my generation, before or after could have not shared an incandescent glee when each time he had boxer after boxer flat on the ring mat .The pathetic sight of the defeated limbs, tired and bruised body on wobbly legs and a sullen slouch after having gotten up almost after a trippy dream.To behold the mesmeric presence of a silken superior,a silent assassin who felled many an adversary without spilling much blood to revel upon, in a gory gladiatorial sport.Would it then, be too much to praise him as a Gentleman of the Ring.?
Better still who would forget the Cassius Clay
rechristening himself as Muhammad ,making faces at the mighty White Americans in their own backyard and happily going to jail much before most had found Vietnam to be no war of their own ! For this is how I remember him as a child,a hero who articulated what I could not speak or put words to.He was the big brother who had answered my silent prayers and had bashed and shut bullying mouths of the Americans or the British : my Black Param Yodhya. A modern Eklavya ?
.I felt like a proud coward who was happy when he saw his tormentor beaten in a street fight or classroom. He made us believe that Americans were paper tigers with their nuclear bombs even when we or our kind had none.Ho Chi Minh,General Giap ,the guerilla commander, the Vietnamese were the greatest whom we came to recognise. Curiously their courageous sagas were brought home and into our fiery, but infant hearts largely through this man and his much abused mouth.We woke up to the blatant oppression and the indignities of inhumanity subjected on other people and saw in them a shared history struggle and common destinies.
Our small worlds started to become bigger.We got to understand better the pungent wit in the nonplussed interviewee(Dhritiman Chatterjee) when he instinctively reacted to the question on the most important event of the times to be, “the victory of the Vietnamese and not the landing on the moon” in the movie” Pratidwandi”. The Interviewing Board in mock disdain and with clipped accents of the Brown Sahib had famously questioned then, “Are you a communist’?
I shall never know whether you were one.For many believe in their fond minds you were like Spartacus who cared for the weak.May you keep your boxing gloves on for your fight is unfinished yet.And they go well beyond those mortal 15 rounds !
Fare thee, Well !