‘He too is like my son.’ These seemingly simple looking words are not a mere everyday utterance. They come from the heart of a father who had just lost his promising cricketer son, Ankit Keshari, owing to a freak collision with a team-mate on the field.
On hearing that Sourav Mondal, the bowler with whom Ankit had collided while chasing a high catch, was in a state of shock, Mr.Keshari expressed wish to see the boy and reassure him that he need not blame himself for the tragedy. He said, “I would like him to know that I don’t hold him responsible at all. He too is like my son.” He added, “I can’t do anything about what is going on in his heart, but what happened that day is my misfortune and nobody’s fault.”
That is genuine compassion. Even in his own grief, the biggest loss a father can suffer, he did not lose his mind nor blamed Mondal for the accident. He can be a fine role model for all those who go mad over even trifles, and make other peoples’ lives hell.
As you remember, the fatal collision took place during Bengal Division 1’s match between East Bengal Club and Bhawanipore Club. In the 44th over, while rushing for a high catch, Keshri had bumped into bowler Sourabh Mondal. He instantly fell on the ground and lost consciousness. He was immediately rushed to a private nursing home where he received treatment for three days. His condition seemed to be improving and he had got stable. But then in the midnight he suffered a cardiac arrest and breathed his last in the morning.
Hearing the shocking news, Mondal rushed to the hospital where he had to face some uncomfortable questions and comments. Someone asked him why he ran so fast to take the catch! Sourav got too upset, rather inconsolable. He was then advised to keep his mobile switched-off and not to speak to the media. He also lost appetite and was not eating properly. Obviously, he was deeply shattered within and required his own space to recover from the tragedy.
In such a scenario, Mr.Keshari’s message came as a booster dose. Besides, Sourav also got sympathetic support from the cricket fraternity all over the country, especially of the West Bengal. East Bengal Coach, Pranab Nandy, Captain Suvojit Banerjee and a host of other cricket personalities offered sound support to the traumatized player and are determined to bring him back to cricket. “Time,” says Nandy, “is the best healer,” Hopefully, peer support besides Mondal’s own will power and concerted effort would enable him to pull up and resume his onward cricket journey with confidence and determination.