Being the only child in a small family of three people, I always felt lonely and often played alone. Hence I had to invent various games or ways to amuse myself and keep me busy. That's why I was an avid reader all my life because you do not need anyone else when you are reading a book.
My habit of playing alone has gone through various transition. From the days of playing book cricket and board games against myself to playing table tennis against a wall, and finally in 2005 I found the ultimate game for playing alone, FIFA against the computer (that would be a topic of one of my blogs someday).
But before I invented to individual sports (in true sense) I used to entertain myself by replicating certain things which was happening around. And as 3 years old during mid-late 80s the most interesting thing was those television shows. Grandest of all, off course Ramayan!!
Being a reader and fan of stories, I knew those stories even at that age and when those events were happening in front of my eyes that amazed my three year old self to no limit.
But Raam was never my hero, I still do not think highly of him. Laxman, Indrajit, Ravan (yeah, I am sure some people are fans of Bad man) no one was very impressive.
But Hanuman!! Yeah, now you are talking! Hanuman was a cult. Hanuman was the first super hero. He can jump over the ocean and fight to demons who captures his shadow, he can lift a mountain, he can say 'Jai Sree Raam' for countless number of times and still not bore you. Hanuman was cool. Even he used to come in an advertisement of asbestos sheet just before the Ramayan starts.
I was in love with Hanuaan. I remember I used to have one of those kids' mace and with which I was always the Hanuman. Not Raam, not Ravan but Hanuman and being Hanuman (I always read that whenever I see one of those 'Being Human' T-shirts) my imagination could fly to no limit. He can get all the chocolates, can go and bring back dad early from the office and can do all the Dhisum-dhisum with demons.
And then one day I came to know from my dad that, Hanuman also had another name, Wow! I thought. Hanuman also had a 'daak naam' (we bengalis always have two names, remember 'Kahaani') and the name was Dara Singh! Now that's a cool name for Hanuman, I mean Dara Singh sounded much more warrior like than Arun Govil. And that day onwards Hanuman and Dara Singh became the same person for me.
Had to grow up, did some more reading, study about Bollywood, came to know about Dara Singh the person, watched some of his old movies, a few new movies (Kal Ho Na Ho). His roles may be small but as long as he is in the screen my focus used to be always on him. That childhood liking, hero-worship continued even till today.
I think, on Monday I read about his illness and the news that he is hospitalized. My spirit was dampened which was some what lifted reading a few comments in ToI, where all the reader were writing about how good he was and praying for his speedy recovery.
The problem with God is that, if something going to happen then how much prayer you do, how much tears you drop nothing can stop that event. And today, when I logged in to Facebook, I started seeing the condolence messages for Dara Singh, I still did not believe and checked ToI, but Dara Singh is really dead.
My first Idol, my first hero is gone. According to Indian mythology Hanuman is eternal, he can not be dead. Thank you, Dara Singh Ji, for making Hanuman eternal in my mind's eye too. Whenever I will think about Hanuman, about my childhood, your face will come in my mind. Rest in peace Sir. Be Good wherever you are.
PS. This is the 50th post of my blog. Even till late last night I was thinking of a suitable topic to write and somewhat came to a structure. But after this news I thought it would be important to save a memorable part of my childhood in the webspace as a tribute to great Dara Singh.