In front of the wrought iron gates with upward spikes of the huge building, an auto rickshaw came rattling and stopped. Out came a man in khaki knickers with a choco-bar in his hand. He stood looking at the gate to open on its own, sucking onto the ice-fruit.
‘Saab, paise’, the driver asked in a meek voice and extended his hand. ‘Uh…’ the passenger turned toward the driver and saw the extended hand. Without thinking twice, he thrust the bar into his mouth and pulled a ballpoint pen from the back pocket of his knickers and scribbled on driver’s palm. Illiterate driver was stunned what the Sahib was writing on his hand and looked up at his passenger. Passenger smiled at him and patted on shoulder saying ‘Khush”? Finding no gatekeeper opening the gate despite he was waiting over twenty seconds, he simply pushed the gate with his leg making his way into the compound.
While the auto-driver was still in shock, watchman came running from his sentry-house, with his baton raised, as if to strike the rowdy visitor. Once he was close enough, he recognised his visitor and immediately dropped his raised hand. Standing attentively, he saluted. Ignoring him, the visitor sucked into his ice-fruit and walked to enter the building. The guard ran to the still-in-shock driver and shooed him away before returning to his kennel.
The receptionist stood in attention immediately, on seeing the visitor. “Hello…’, visitor greeted the receptionist and put down the stick of choco-bar on the table “Please throw this into the dustbin”. He went few steps ahead before returning to the reception desk. “By the way, in which room interviews will be?” he asked.
The receptionist pointed to left and said “Last room in right corridor”. As the visitor turned to go, he said “Sir, Interviews are scheduled after half-an-hour. Panel members have not come so far. Please wait in the lobby”.
“Me, Waiting? Ha ha, you must be joking. Anyway, I plan to surprise them. You don’t worry. I’ll manage” visitor moved ignoring the receptionist’s words and gestures.
He entered the last room, wherein three plush chairs were on the other side of the long curved table. Four sets of files are kept before each chair. One chair was placed on the opposite side facing the three chairs. He laughed at the arrangement and proceeded to occupy the centre one of the three chairs. He pushed it back and raised his legs to take support of the table. And he closed his eyes.
At the sound of door opening, he opened his eyes and saw the panel members entering the room. He stood up and walked to them with extended hands.
Ganguly exclaimed “Sehwag! How the hell you managed to enter the room and sit in my chair”?
I just came here in an auto. Was feeling sleepy and so used the table to sleep.
Sachin said “Viru, Shastriji was celebrating his selection already. He thought you gave the interview a miss”.
Sehwag roared “Haha! He surely was worrying about me. Na? Selection or not, how can I miss to meet three of you”. He pulled the rucksack hanging over his shoulder and opened “Have these. Bhabhiji made Aloo-Parathas for you”. Laxman grabbed the packet and proceeded toward the table, which soon would become dining table for them.
“So, you people have decided to give the job to Shashtri. Then, why this drama of interview and all” Sehwag questioned.
‘Well, it is not like that totally’ Tendulkar started to explain but Sourav stopped him and asked Sehwag “Are you seriously wanting this job”?
Sehwag looked away and mumbled “Seriously means… I don’t know. I just thought of applying and so applied. Anyway, why can’t I be the coach?”
Eating parathas, Ganguly stared at him. He asked “Viru, I ask you only one question. If you answer correctly, the job is yours. Okay”?
‘I’m game’ Sehwag replied.
“At any time in future when you are the coach, if Kohli doesn’t listen to your advice, what you’d do?” Ganguly questioned. Both Tendulkar and Laxman looked at Sehwag intently.
Sehwag looked at all three and said ‘You mean a small disagreement? Well, De Dhana Dhan. Till he agrees with me’. He looked at the panel of interviewers as if they will pin a medal of honour on his tee.
Tendulkar sighed loudly. Laxman concentrated on Paratha. Ganguly looked above. The ceiling fan looked inviting. Slowly he turned to Sehwag and said “Viru, you are happily living on twitter. Why sweat on the ground? Let Shastri do the ground work. I suggest you stick to twitter”.
“Are you rejected me?” Sehwag raised his fist as if he would pounce on Ganguly. Tendulkar immediately caught hold of his wrist and said “Aye, Bhai. Cool. This is not ground to settle scores physically”. Sachin continued “See Sehwag, Shastri ji is in need of money. He needs this job badly. Even last year, he pinned hopes on the job but we liked Anil. For one year, he was struggling – I mean Shastri, to get Kumble leave the job. He is now anticipating and you’re here pouring water on his hopes’.
“But, he has lots of money. Why do he need more?” Sehwag questioned like an obstinate boy deprived of his chocolate.
Laxman lifted his head from the plate of parathas. ‘True, he had lots of money. But, he has lots of girlfriends too. And, in these days of inflation, it is difficult to maintain so many”.
“What about Moodi and Rajput? They also may need some money” still Sehwag is not convinced about this backstab by his friends.
‘They will fail in the interview’ Sachin said. After all, Shastri ji needs money.
‘So, what am I supposed to do now’ questioned Sehwag.
“Don’t worry. We’ll go to a pub after an hour. Kumble and Dravid too may join us” proposed Ganguly.
That was how Ravi Shastri was selected Head Coach – Indian Cricket Team.