The situation gives rise to one very basic question: Whether the concerned person is able to manage his basic needs? Contrary to the perception surrounding Marzban ‘Bawa’ Patel though, Mumbai’s latest recipient of the prestigious Dronacharya Award last year, is doing just “great”.
“I am doing absolutely fine,” says Bawa in a feeble voice more due to boredom more than anxiety. “I have a brother and his wife to take care of me,” he says, “Besides, my neighbours, who were taught by my mother when they were in school, are very helpful and whenever we need anything, they are more than happy to help us. I am not even financially worried. I am a coach with the Children’s Academy School and they have been paying my salary regularly so I don’t even have to think on those lines,” he adds.
The only thing that Bawa misses the most is his daily dose of newspapers and the interaction with his wards. “I am old-school and I just cannot do without a newspaper. These news channels are no good. So to kill time I read ear old newspapers which I have preserved,” he says.
Though, Bawa is caught in a rather tough situation, he is kept company over the phone by his wards — both the established as well as the starryeyed ones. “Because of this curfew, I cannot meet them. But my students make it a point to call me regularly. Initially, they used to be worried. But now our conversation revolves around the sport. They all have just one thing to say to me: ‘Bawa when do we get to train?’ “Asfor theseniors,whohave represented India or the state, they keep asking me if I need something, or if they can help me in any which way, but I only tell them that I want to get to the hockey field,” he says and adds: “But I guess we all will have to wait for this phase to pass by.”
Former India skipper Viren Rasquinha, perhaps one of Bawa’s most decorated wards, says he was saddened by some reports that his mentor, whom he considers a very strongwilled person, was found wanting during the lockdown period. “More than anything else, he is frustrated being at home. He is a sort of person who needs to be on the hockey ground. As far as struggle is concerned, I can safely say that he is not in any kind of trouble,” the Olympian clarifies.