But there are some stories so heartwarming, so inspiring, that they will make you root for them and exult in joy as if the happiness was your own.
Pravin Tambe is one such. You ask, Pravin Tambe Kaun? I did too, when my friend said “Let’s watch this Shreyas Talpade movie tonight”. As it happens, Pravin Tambe is one among millions of Indian boys who fell in love with cricket. Like thousands of people, he too lived in a chawl in Mumbai. Like millions, he too had a dream. Like thousands, he too was chastised, rebuked, and hardly anyone believed in him.
But what he finally achieved, despite inspite everything makes him unique from everyone else. Toh yeh lo, batate hain Pravin Tambe kaun.
For years, Pravin played cricket in different grounds of Mumbai. As a child, as a teenager, as an adult. From the courtyard in his chawl, to local gardens, streets, parks and Shivaji maidan. His medium pace bowling helped him win many matches for his team. Pravin dreamed of playing Ranji for Mumbai. He played corporate tournaments, bowled well, won matches but was not able to impress the selectors enough to get selected. Not in 1999. Not in 2000. Not in 2001. Nor in 2002. Or 2003. Or 2004, or 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 2010.
However passionate one is, constant failure can leave anyone dejected. When your dream is to represent your state or country in a sport, the failure stings even more, because the window of opportunity is small. There are only 11-15 members who can be selected for a team, and there are only those many years. Once you are in your late twenties and early thirties, nobody wants to select you because soon itll be time to retire, and there are younger players challenging for a spot in the team. It did not help that Pravin came from a modest background. To make ends meet, to pay for his son’s school fees, he would sell the prizes (mixer, grinder, TV, bike and more), he would win in different club tournaments. Such was his faith, such was his burning desire to play for Mumbai, that he would only work in jobs that gave him time to play cricket.
How much can you love something, someone? How much can you sacrifice for it? How much rejection can you take? How much self belief can you have? How much passion is right, and when do you feel that you were just being foolish? How much can loving something hurt?
For years, and years, Pravin faced rejection from the selectors, for years he was just a club level hero, for years his family would tell him to give up his dream. For years, he would open the newspaper hoping against hope that that day his name would come in the list of state team probables. For fourteen years, or maybe more, the dream just kept being one. And then he turned 40.
At an age when the best of cricketers put up their boots, at an age where almost nobody plays cricket any more, Pravin Tambe got selected by Rajasthan Royals for the IPL. At the age of 41!!!!
At the age of 41, Pravin Tambe became the oldest player in the world to debut in the IPL.
The whole chawl erupted and wished him luck, while he left, still shocked and dazed. It can be hard to realize you have actually reached your dream when it has been denied to you for so long. Every game he played, the whole chawl would sit together, watch and root for him. The fairytale was not over yet. Against KKR, he got a hattrick and even being the highest wicket taker in that year’s IPL tournament for a while.
As I watched the movie (on Disney Hotstar), those scenes, my heart filled with joy. Pravin Tambe’s story is one that gives hope and joy to thousands. And he isnt the only one. Ravindra Jadeja was the son of a security guard, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar did not even have money to buy shoes at one point of time, Yashavi Jaiswal lived in a road side tent and sold pani puri. And we all know the story of MS Dhoni don’t we! For every time one of these boys or girls made it big, it gives thousands of other people hope to do what they love. It lets them believe that if Jadeja, Kumar, Jaiswal, Dhoni could do it with all the obstacles, so can they. What can be more beautiful than a man or woman with hope in their eyes, and the will to fight for their dreams.
Watch Pravin Tambe, because it will make you root for a man who even worked as a waiter in a dance bar, because he refused to give up on his dream. Watch it to see how a simple person with an extraordinarily high desire can reach an impossible dream. Watch it to fall in love, to dream yourself, to tell yourself to chase your dreams and to smile. Watch it, for it is important to know Pravin Tambe Kaun?
Watch it because there are some stories so heartwarming, so inspiring, that they will make you root for them and exult in joy as if the happiness was your own.