• Harleen Vij

Irfan Pathan - Living my Dream

To believe in fairytales, you got to live one. And, I couldn't have asked for a better version than this for myself. In fact, the reality is far more beautiful than what a fairytale could have been. 

It was December 2003, India was touring Australia and the team's spearhead and my favorite Zaheer Khan was injured and a lanky 19 year old with curly hair and the cutest smile made his Test debut. Little did I know I would be falling head over heels for this 19 year old boy, Irfan Pathan. Initially, it was his bowling that caught my attention. It wasn't just me, the entire nation was swooned by his swinging ability so much that he was touted to be the next Indian bowling sensation. Moving over his bowling, his charming smile and luscious curls made me go weak in my knees. I had been following his game ever since. Every mention of his in a newspaper article would find its way into my scrap book which is kept intact till date.

My fairytale started in 2013 when Irfan joined Twitter. My happiness touched cloud nine. After almost a decade of loving him, doting him, adoring him; I could now express it to him. A place where he would at least read if not respond to whatever I had to say to him. It all began with numerous mentions every day. My day would start and end with salutations to him (It still does. I can't sleep without wishing him good night!). Sometimes he would RT the mentions but never reply or interact in any way. 

It was on Eid in 2014 when everything changed. I wished Irfan and asked him for a 'follow back' as my Eidi half expecting him to oblige. To my utter astonishment, he did! I was elated beyond measures. I was in office and was barely able to contain my happiness. I tweeted a thanks to him and made 'n' number of calls to tell my near and dear ones. I was so excited that I forgot I could now DM him and thank him personally! (I still forget this in excitement!) People who were happy to know congratulated me and the cynical ones added, 'Arey he'll unfollow tomorrow.' Their cynicism rubbed on me and very stupidly I tweeted him asking not to unfollow. Yes, I was that a silly fangirl. I still am. Shall always be for him. #ForeverAnIrFAN :D

The journey didn't end there. This is a dream with no end. In 2016 when Irfan tied the knot with Safa, I was certainly heartbroken but he soothed the hurt by inviting me to his wedding. Later that year in November, he was in Nagpur to play a Ranji game and he met my family. The way he and Yusuf bhai met and talked to my family, never felt like they weren't a part of it. Such humble beings they are. My niece has grown fond of both of them ever since that evening.

I have known Irfan from a distance since 2003 and from very close quarters since 2014. And, there's not a bit about him that is different. The only difference, perhaps, is that I have personal experiences to narrate and tell people about his humbleness. To love back a fan the way he did, can only be dreamt of. The ever smiling and calm demeanor of his' can soothe all the restlessness in you. He never fails to provide words of encouragement when needed. Has helped me not only in my personal matters but many a friends of mine who needed help. 

I have always said that words fail me when I have to talk about or tell what and how much Irfan Pathan means to me. Today, I tried to put it in words on occasion of his birthday but I know, for the writer in me, this is not even half close to doing justice to what I feel for him.

PS: You shall always be loved, always ;)


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