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Dear Me: Stop those tantrums because you won’t always win - Bhaichung Bhutia

Bhaichung Bhutia, former Indian football team captain and striker, tells his younger self that the sooner he learns to accept defeat, the farther he will go in life

football Updated: Jul 28, 2017 10:08 IST
Bhaichung Bhutia
Bhaichung Bhutia
Bhaichung Bhutia,Indian football team,East bengal FC
Bhaichung Bhutia, Indian football team captain, played 104 matches for the national side and scored 40 goals.(Illustration: Malay Karmakar)

Dear eight-year-old Bhaichung,

It’s nice to see you going back to your village for winter vacation from the boarding school. I know you will again complain about the 10km walk home. But know that sooner rather than later, there will be a road to your house and electricity in your village.

This holiday though will be different for you since dad has bought a football for the first time! Knowing you, I am sure you will be impatient to reach home and play with older brother Chewang who is also returning with you and dad.

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Young man, the one thing you need to realise is that you won’t win all the time. So stop fighting and crying every time you lose a match. In other words, stop being a bad loser. Your oldest brother Rapden is very good at football and finds you very talented but he finds it difficult to deal with your tantrums when you lose. Winning and losing are part of the game and you will have to take them in your stride. The sooner you accept this, the farther you are going to go.

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I also know how much you are dying to find someone who could teach you lots of tricks to dribble the ball and yes, that someone who would show you how to execute the banana-kick!

When you return to school, everyone will talk about your talent. Except the games’ teacher. He will not select you, but don’t worry. You have a wonderful principal in Father George so when you are not picked, you will tell him and he will help you get into the junior school team. Guess who will be chosen the best player? You.

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I know your father keeps telling you to study well and pass your examinations. I love him for the fact that he does not pressure you to top the class or get a high percentage in academics. He just wants you to pass. Be glad that you don’t have a pushy parent. Because that will mean you have so much freedom to play and think of football. That is because he loves football and he has taken you many times to watch him and Rapden play in the village tournament.

Remember how the other day he turned on the radio and you heard the commentary of the Sikkim football team playing the final of the Gold Cup? When they won, I could see how happy you were. You had heard names of some of the star players of Sikkim and were actually identifying the common names of people from your village. Your father grew up in Sikkim that was an independent kingdom. He faced lots of difficulties from people who opposed the royals who ruled Sikkim when it became part of India. So, you could see the happiness in his eyes when Sikkim won the Gold Cup.

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Bhaichung, remember that you are part of a much, much bigger country now. India. As you grow up, you will understand and start knowing more about football in India. And your dream will be to play for India one day. It will take you out of your comfort zone to places that are hot and humid. As a teenager, you will also see the sea for the first time when football takes you to Goa. Yes, languages, cultures, eating habits will all be markedly different and yes, there will be challenges but you will learn to appreciate the diversity that makes India. Exposure to these at a young age will mature you into a person who can score a hattrick in a Kolkata derby with 1,31,000 people watching. And it’ll happen before you turn 20.

Love and hugs


(As told to Dhiman Sarkar)

First Published: Jul 27, 2017 21:32 IST