Paramjeet Singh,who started his photo studio in 1996 at Pocket-B of Vikas Puri,could not have known that one of his first visitors,an 11-year old boy,would one day score Test cricket’s fastest hundred on debut. But on Saturday,as soon as Paramjeet heard the news about Shikhar Dhawan’s exploits,he alongside other neighbours,teamed up and celebrated with the Dhawans.
Today takes me back to that day in 1996 when a young 11-year-old Shikhar came to my studio and asked me to click his pictures. He came dressed properly in his cricketing clothes. He wore a cap and whites and specifically asked me to take pictures of him hitting a six. Those pictures are still with his father,” said a proud Paramjeet Singh.
While Shikhar’s parents were busy giving interviews to TV channels,father MP Dhawan still took time to accept congratulatory messages from the people who had gathered. The neighbours lifted the senior Dhawan on their shoulders shouting slogans of ‘Dhawan sahab zindabad’,coupling it with good wishes for their son to flourish in his cricketing career.
Another neighbour,Gurvinder Singh shared with this paper Shikar’s other passion from the cricketer’s youth: Shikhar was crazy about flying kites. “Shikhar,as a child,used to come to me with some fifty odd kites and would ask me to string them up for Independence Day. I used to take him to the terrace and there he would spend the whole day flying kites. Since the time he started playing for U-19,we knew he will play for India. After seven years,he has made us proud,and in a big way,” said Gurvinder.
In all the noise at home,the senior Dhawan was a multitasker. If at one moment he was obliging the quote hungry media,at others,he made sure that whosoever visited his house to congratulate them didn’t leave on an empty stomach. “Our sons hard work has paid off. It took him seven years to do this but he kept his faith and constantly worked on his game. I thank the selectors to have shown such faith in Shikhar and I hope he keeps making lots and lots of runs in future,” said Dhawan.
Fame came with the IPL and after his senior debut in the ODI squad,but for the neighbours,he has always remained the little kid who used to play cricket in the local ground. Recalls Rajinder Singh,”He always used to play with the locality children in the play ground. Now he has been really busy but whenever he comes home,he makes sure that he meets all of us like he used to when he was a kid.”