“I hate moving in and out of cities, it’s like we don’t have a single place we can call home” cribbed Mahesh while aggressively stuffing his clothes in a bag. “It’s more like we have a home everywhere,” replied Dhyan while smiling at his brother. “I would never join the army like father; rather, I’d play my heart out on the field like Ramesh bhaiya but I know you want to be like father,” shrugged Mahesh. From the corner of the room came the reply of the elder brother, Ramesh, “It’s not all fun and games for me, the grass always seems greener on the other side. You must find your own passion.”
The three siblings had an immense passion for sports, especially hockey. However, each had some different vision of life for them but destiny had something much bigger stored for them.
A year later, in Jhansi, where the family had comfortably settled – on Dhyan’s 16th birthday – his father asked him what kind of a gift he’d like. “Allow me to join the forces alongside you and there is nothing more I could ask for,” he replied with moist eyes. His father went speechless for a moment, then hugged him with a chest inflated with pride. And so began his own journey.
It was there at the academy that Dhyan took up hockey, remembering his childhood tournaments with his brothers. The hot sun never bothered him but the calmness of the moon did. He wondered whether he was as good at night as he was in the day. So he began practicing at night to work on his night vision while playing hockey. As time passed he developed a different kind of passion for the game; the kind that turns into an obsession, perfecting himself at every position, every goal. The game had become a ‘religion’ for him and he worked hard to be its greatest ‘devotee’. His comradesbegan calling him CHAND (the moon).
Who knew then that a local boy from Allahabad would win not just one but 3 Gold medals in the Olympics and make his country proud. Chand was awarded with third-highest civilian award – Padma Bhushan among many others. His aura spread beyond the national boundaries to Japan, Holland, Britain and Germany. One German paper highlight read: “The Olympic complex now has a magic show, too. Visit the hockey stadium to watch the Indian magician Dhyan Chand in action.”
One morning after a match in which India defeated Germans 8-1, he woke up to a letter offering him the highest military position in the German army by the Fuehrer of Nazi Germany. However, Chand politely declined the offer. Such was his love for his country. Today, as India celebrates its NATIONAL SPORTS DAY, the lesser known fact is that it is in fact our very own Magician’s birth anniversary who to date remains unbeaten in his records and an inspiration to many.