The Evershine Nagar in the innards of Malad (West) is not quite a happening place. Sunday was an exception. Media professionals had parked themselves there as early as six in the morning. As India knocked off the winning runs against the Aussies, fire crackers rent the air. Politicians, decked in squeaky-clean white kurtas, made an appearance too. From afar, you could have easily mistaken the setting as a political rally or a wedding.
Everybody was headed to the Manila building, the residence of India’s U-19 hero Harmeet Singh. No less a legend than Ian Chappell has marked the left-arm spinner for special feats.
Harmeet’s parents Jasbir Singh and Paramjeet Kaur were burning telephone wires, answering every congratulatory call untiringly. Sweets were being distributed. Harmeet’s family broke into a jig as the Dharmendra number — Main Jat Yamla Pagla Deewana — blared out loud from the speakers.
When Harmeet called from Australia to talk to his parents, they couldn’t even interact with him. Poor Harmeet had to be asked to call later.
As Jasbir Singh attended calls — the list included VIPs as well — Paramjeet Kaur, the woman behind Harmeet’s success, stood quietly at a corner watching the grand reception.
“All the hard work has finally paid off for my son. I am so happy, I can’t express my feelings. He has done not only me but the whole country proud,” she said. She recalled the days when she would to take her son from Malad to Dadar’s Shivaji Park daily for practice. “His father had to manage the business, so I’d had to take him to the nets. He has worked extremely hard to get this far. I wish he plays for the national team one day,” she said.
She was never interested in the game, but this season she followed Mumbai’s U-19 Cooch Behar team that won the trophy. She admitted that she was hurt when Harmeet was ignored for Mumbai’s Ranji team despite having the performances to back his claim.
She recalled a poignant moment during this World Cup. Harmeet had called home after India beat Pakistan. “Harmeet was emotional and cried. I too could not hold my tears,” she said.