Indian Idols
by L.Ravichandran

The title may conjure up images of a popular TV show, but we are talking about idols in flesh and blood, heroes who have climbed peaks and embossed their names right on top of the summit. We are talking about sportspersons who have inspired and continue to inspire millions of young minds and bodies.

They are better than the best in their chosen field and in the year gone by have accomplished what every Indian sportsperson dreams of.
Ladies & gentlemen, boys & girls, let us raise a toast to these idols. Let us celebrate their achievements as if they are our own. Let us doff our hats. Let us rise as one and applaud. The heroes who deserve all the laurels (and more) they have got are:

1. Vishwanathan Anand
2. Mahendra Singh Dhoni
3. Sachin Tendulkar
4. Abhinav Bindra
5. Saina Nehwal

Each one of the 5 have done themselves and our country proud. They have achieved what no other Indian in their field has achieved till now.

…Viswanathan Anand: Undisputed World champion. What an easy win against Kramnik at Bonn to reiterate that he (vishy) is the King! He is World champion in all 3 forms – Classical, Rapid and Tournament play. Above all else, Vishy is our own, our very own and that is a matter of great pride.

Not many may know this, but you cannot find another world champion who is so humble, so friendly, so simple, a disarming smile and a kind word for everybody.

He is the perfect role model for all of India and a great inspiration for chess and chess players in the country. It is true that Anand’s success is the single most important factor for the hundreds of thousands of children learning chess.

Here is a story that only embellishes all that we spoke about: Anand was travelling in a train, many years ago, and one of his co-passengers , as often happens during a train journey, started a conversation. He (supposedly) asked Anand where he was working/studying and Anand replied he played chess. The co-passenger continued, ” that is ok, but where do you work?” Anand said, “I play Chess”. At this the elderly man (that the co-passenger was) is supposed to have told Anand, “do you think you are Viswanathan Anand or what to earn your livelihood playing chess?”


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