HOCKEY WORLD CUP 1975
Watching India win against the eternal rivals Pakistan in the recent Asian Cup Hockey finals had me reminiscing about the 1975 World Cup Finals. One that I can never forget in this lifetime. We defeated Malaysia in semifinals on the 13th March and the date for the finals against Pakistan was set on the 15th.
TV sets were still out of reach then and we were at the mercy of the grand old radio that adorned the living rooms of almost all the houses. Parents were stricter then and listening to the live commentary of the Hockey Finals at Kuala Lumpur’s Merdeka Stadium in the living room was out of question.
Listening to the live commentary away from the prying and piercing eyes of my parents, rather my father was the only goal then. And for that one needed a transistor radio! So, the hunt began!
I had just two days. I spread the news among friends. A friend who had a Philips transistor agreed to loan it to me. He was a cricket fan and so his transistor was free. I was thrilled. I checked the transistor and it was working fine. I bought some pencil cells just in case…. I did not want the risk of the batteries dying out at crucial moments in the match.
On the D-Day, I feigned a headache and locked myself in my room. The sounds of the crowd, the beating of the drums, the blowing of the horns, the excitement in the stadium acted as stimuli and the commentators with their descriptions turned the radio commentary into visuals. I felt as if I was in the stadium. The match began! Tense, fiery and rough. And within 17 minutes Pakistan took the lead. I was shaken up. I feared the worst. They were tense moments. Pakistan was building up the pressure. However, in the 44th minute Surjit Singh scored an equalizer. The entire stadium erupted in joy and so did I. Suddenly the door of my room opened and my dad stepped in! I was stunned. With the transistor pinned to my ears I looked like a deer caught in the headlights! I feared the worst and quickly started thinking of excuses, right from where did I found this transistor to what was I doing in the room.
But my dad looking equally tensed asked, “are they still leading”? And I blurted out, “no Surjit scored an equalizer”. Dad was thrilled. “Turn up the volume”, he said and we both huddled around the transistor completely forgetting that we had a radio in the house!
Within minutes Ashok Kumar, son of the legendary Dhyanchand, scored a field goal our joys knew no bounds. We saw, rather heard history being made!