Remembering Ajit Wadekar of casual grace and humour
The former India cricket captain's sons Prasad, Vipul and daughter Kashmira pay tribute to their father on his second death anniversary.
Our father, Padma Shri Ajit Laxman Wadekar, ex-captain of the India cricket team, passed away on this day two years ago.
He was as pragmatic as they come. Anyone who has played or worked with him will vouch for this.
His success was always rooted in a deep understanding of the real world. He took in all the details, processed them in his brilliant mind and found a path to victory that many lower men simply considered "luck"!
But here's the paradox about my father: He also believed in fighting for a better India, not just for his family and kin, but for everyone who needed help; for all those people who did not have a voice.
He never wanted credit for it either.
A realist would know that this is an impossible task. But that is what made this man so special! We have personally seen him talk the same way with kings in their palaces and ordinary fisherwomen in the market - with the same causal grace and humour.
He never judged a person by his or her social standing. He fought tirelessly for those who had no one to fight for them. Like the handicapped cricket association of India (now known as the All India Cricket Association for Physically Challenged).
For more than 20 years he spearheaded their cause, even though the government and BCCI ignored him time and again. He never gave up on his "unrealistic" dream. It finally came true just a few months after he passed away.
While we were growing up, we saw and heard an incredible number of demands and pleas from people every day. Not just from those closest to him, like us, his family, but also from all over the country. Because they knew that this was one man who would not ignore them. We have seen him worn out after a rough day after helping people who would probably never thank him. He never complained or shirked his duty.
This was his greatness! He was never a philosophical person, but his actions (karma) were dictated by his duty (dharma) to his family and nation.
Our mother Rekha and father loved each other fiercely and supported each other through good times and bad. He loved us with every inch of his being.
Dad was pragmatic and a dreamer; ambitious and honest. He was a true son of India.
There was much more to my dad than being a classy batsman, a highly successful domestic cricket leader and India's captain on the victorious tours of England and West Indies in 1971.
He guided and helped anyone he could just as well off the cricket field as on it. If you are looking for a role model for how to live your life, look no further. Ask anyone if you don't believe me!
In loving memory, Prasad, Vipul and Kashmira
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