Mother’s Day | The unsung hero of the household: Ajinkya Rahane

"She has never taught me how to play cricket, but she has imbibed even more vital lessons of life that have held me in good stead all through my journey," says the India international.

Ajinkya Rahane with his mother, Sujata.

In a typical Indian middle-class household, mothers are often the unsung heroes of the household. It has been no different case with my mother, Sujata. She has never taught me how to play cricket, but she has imbibed even more vital lessons of life that have held me in good stead all through my journey.

I have often told the tale of how she would hold my kitbag in one hand and carry my younger brother (Shashank) in her other arm to walk me to the cricket ground in Dombivali (a far-off central suburb in Mumbai where we lived) for 2km every day. Had she not been so persistent at the beginning of my career, perhaps cricket wouldn’t have translated into my passion.

Rahane with his parents. - SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

 

I also remember how she helped me while buying my first bat. When I started going to the ground every day, we just couldn’t afford to buy any equipment, so I didn’t have anything besides canvas shoes. Someone would offer me his bat and gloves for a hit in the net. Once it was decided I had to have my own bat, it was going to be a huge burden on the monthly budget. But suddenly, Aai pulled out some cash from a stainless steel jar in the kitchen rack and handed it over to my father.

We all were surprised to see with little savings from daily expenses she had managed to save so much to help me buy my first bat. That was my first big lesson of importance of savings, something that I have tried replicating ever since.

She didn’t follow cricket so religiously, but she would often gauge what had happened at the ground or in a match after looking at my face the moment I returned home. I vividly remember the first time I broke into the Mumbai under-14 squad. I hardly got any games, so naturally I used to be disappointed after being benched. She would sense it and would never preach too much to me, but her one-liner in passing about “not giving up” would cheer me up.

Like most mothers, she also had this knack of cheering me up by cooking my favourite dishes. Pohe, matkichi usal (moth bean gravy) and aam ras (mango pulp) have been my weak points since childhood and she would sense without having to be told about my craving for it. In fact, often have I asked her, “How did you know I wanted to eat it?” but I guess that’s what moms are all about, ain’t it?

As told to Amol Karhadkar.

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