India’s World Cup-winning captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is still remembered by friends in his hometown for his innate simplicity. The most memorable moment for hotel owner, Sarajit Singh Situ, was the Mumbai to Ranchi flight about eight months ago when he was overwhelmed by Dhoni’s gesture, who travelled with him economy class.
After admitting his cancer-stricken wife in a Mumbai hospital, Situ was lost in thoughts sitting alone in the last row on the flight back home when Dhoni lifted his spirits.
“I was sitting alone in the backseat of the aircraft and trying to recollect the time spent with Dhoni as a cricketer when he walked into the executive class.
“Already surrounded by admirers, I too went and wished him. He enquired about my seat. After the plane took off, he came and sat besides me and we discussed several topics till we reached Ranchi,” Situ, who played local tournaments in Ranchi for Youth Sporting club with Dhoni, said.
Congratulating Dhoni on the World Cup triumph, Situ said, “Everyone should try and emulate his simplicity. He never forgets his friends.
“The last time we met was when he and deputy chief minister, Sudesh Mahto, came to meet the players at the National Games in February this year,” said Situ, who owns a hotel in Ranchi.
“When I requested Dhoni to speak to my son on phone, he not only spoke to him but also asked him to come and see him at the airport with my parents. It was a heartening sight when Dhoni touched my parents’ feet at the airport.
“There are several other instances but travelling with him on the plane will remain etched in my memory,” Situ added.
Situ also reminisced how Dhoni and a few friends had dinner in his hotel on the eve of his departure for his first international assignment in Bangladesh.
Recalling a match in Ranchi several years ago, Situ said, “I suffered a nasty cut during the tie and started bleeding profusely. But I continued with my batting after receiving first-aid. It was Dhoni who kept requesting me to retire hurt,” said Situ.