Many who walk into my bedroom, look at the empty space carved into my cupboard and look askance at me. “That’s where I had my TV!” I tell them, and seeing puzzled faces, continue, “It was a small 14 inch set!”
With mega screens, and giant screens, I know it’s difficult for many to imagine we also had small screen TVs!
But it was a small, 14- inch screen that first showed a sixteen year old going onto the field, many decades ago, “Who’s that schoolboy?” I’d whispered and then watched incredulously as the little fellow smashed, sliced and sent the ball all over the cricket field, no expression on his little face but rapt concentration. “This is incredible!” I said and the small 14 inch screen agreed with me, as it stretched itself to display the length and prowess of this unimaginably talented lad.
Over the years, the same small screen showed the lad using his amazing skill, his vast concentration sometimes gulping with me at the little man’s mischievous shots, otherwise celebrating my own enthusiasm by becoming wider, bigger huger for the sake of my love for the growing little fellow.
And with his growing, his game became more spectacular to watch, his curly head, more a study in studied concentration as he greeted every ball with respect, then smashed it with disdain.
Oh what a joy that small screen gave, and such a sense of pride at such a lad my country could produce. There were times when I was alone at home, only the small screen and I would watch our hero doing his magic with his magician piece of willow.
Not once did the little master let me down, not once did my small screen stop me from looking at my tiny hero, who was now a giant legend.
And so slowly the small screen took time to come on, especially the last time the little master went to the crease to bat, “Master!” it seemed to say, “don’t tell me we are going to watch him again?”
I nodded and it was electric: The small screen sprang to life, and did I imagine it’s colors, it’s hue, it’s shades vastly superior to the latest one on my sitting room wall?
I watched the little master walk to the crease: Listened as the volume increased with every four and automatically hushed itself every time our hero missed.
It was like old times again.
And then with not a warning Sachin was out.
I cried with the rest of India.
I looked up and met blank screen. I tapped the sides, punched the remote, pressed old keys, but small screen, I knew had walked out with the Little Master!
“That’s a space that only a little master could fill!” I tell inquisitive visitor, and as they leave I know they wonder which little master I am referring to..!
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