What will you do to show your love for cricket? Be glued to the TV set all day? Or maybe going to watch the match from the stadium if it happens to be in your city? Or at the max create a Facebook page or an Instagram account to post about cricket! Well, this is how most of the cricket lovers show their love for cricket.
But what if you got none of these? No TV with HD channels, not being physically fit to be able to go to the stadium? And not having a good mobile phone or laptop to create a cricket page on social media? Will your love for cricket cease to exist? Dharamveer Pal has shown you need none of these to show your love for the game. His story ain”t no fairytale. It teaches us our passion ultimately drives us to do things that we don”t ordinarily do.
Born in Monera district in Madhya Pradesh he was one of the six children in the family. Dharamveer suffers from severe muscle paresis and skeletal deformities. However, that hasn”t hindered him from traveling across the globe and watching cricket matches from the stadium. In an exclusive interview with the Forbes, he shared his life story.
It was 2005. India was playing Sri Lanka in Mohali. The then 11-year-old Dharamveer wanted to watch the match badly from the stadium and was ready to do whatever it takes. He set off on a train, with no food with him, only hoping that passengers will be kind enough to help him. “I hadn’t even eaten for two whole days but it all paid off — the Indian team came to practice the day before the match and Mr. Daljit Singh, the pitch inspector, and a former cricketer, happened to notice me. He saw how much I wanted to watch them play. He took me in.” he told Forbes.
This was the start of his journey. Next year when India was playing at Faridabad, he managed to grab eyeballs of Indian cricketers.
“By 2006, I’d somehow made it to enough matches that the cricketers started to recognize me and would come up and talk to me. At a match in Faridabad that year, the legendary batsman Virender Sehwag came up to me. He and Harbhajan Singh wanted to know why I love cricket so much, why I keep coming to support the team. From then on, at every match players would give me their jerseys, bats, and helmets. Moved by my passion for the game, they started offering to help me out financially. MS Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli — all the biggest stars in Indian cricket — have acknowledged me and offered to help me.”
He rejoices the fact that he was there with his family at Gwalior when Sachin Tendulkar scored 200 in ODI. “The first time I took them to a cricket match in Gwalior, Sachin scored a double century, and all the players greeted my family — they were so thrilled. They know I love cricket and cricket love me.”
Dharamveer is very grateful to people who have offered him help in his journey. “All through my journey, people have wanted to help me. On trains, on the road, in the stadiums — the kindness of strangers has been amazing. They want to help me in whatever way possible. By embracing rather than trying to hide my disability, I’ve been able to turn it into my biggest strength.” he quoted.
It takes one very very special effort to emulate what Dharamveer does. However, it may not be possible for all to follow his footsteps because of responsibilities and family commitments. Let”s just keep loving the game the way we do and derive inspiration from fans like Dharamveer.