A sum of $ 6,75,000 can be staggering for someone in his early 20s even if he is a cricketer in India. It's much more than what the winner of Kaun Banega Crorepati got and if the recipient is from a lower middle-class family with childhood memories of a struggle against financial constraints, this figure of over Rs 2 crore can be numbing.
So Manoj Tiwary, as you can guess, was comfortably numb after hearing the price he had fetched at the great Indian cricket auction on Wednesday. A place in the Indian squad was more than what he had expected. And this, after that! "Good news, great, yet to believe it's happened. Don't know what to say… God is great," he mumbled while having dinner with Manoj Roy, a former teammate at Kalighat Club, who lives here now.
Speaking to HT afterwards, when the euphoria had sunk in somewhat, Tiwary revealed a hitherto unseen side of his character. Thoughts of buying a house for his parents who "struggled a lot to educate their three sons in an English medium school", were obviously there as was the plan to give shape to certain other dreams. Also, there was a promise to help others chase their dreams.
Tiwary said foremost among his plans is to help 'Sir' Manabendra Ghosh set up a modern and fully-equipped cricket coaching centre and support aspiring players who don't have the financial strength to pursue a career in the sport. "He (Ghosh) has taught me a lot of things apart from the nuances of cricket. He bought equipment for me because my parents couldn't afford them. If ever I have the money, I will do something similar."
Thoughts on his own cricket too is on his mind. "All this has happened because of my cricket, no denying that, so I must keep getting better at it." He has a few other plans too. "I have always been affected by the sight of poor kids begging on the roads. I had always thought of opening an orphanage. If things keep heading in the direction they have been, I will do it."
Cricket is a well-paying profession in India and Tiwary had already been listed on the group of BCCI Grade D contract holders who get a sum of Rs 15 lakh per year apart from match fees. But for the second son of this Eastern Railway employee, this is not going to be the end of his life. "I told you earlier that I have had to come through a lot of financial strife. We were not very well off. This contract will take care of a lot of things. I will be able to concentrate fully on cricket without thinking of anything else here on. This will change my life but not infinitely. I have a lot to do for a lot of people who need help. My experience teaches me that."
Not many who have ensured big pay packs may think on these lines, but since cutting his teeth into first-class cricket, Tiwary has looked different.
He has talked differently on his biggest day too. Here's hoping he was not being comfortably numb.