Viren and I used to play hockey together in school

Actor Purab Kohli shares a snippet of his hockey days in school with former India captain Viren Rasquinha.

Purab Kolhi.   -  AFP

As a kid, I used to play a lot of football and hockey. I still try to follow the sports. Last season I went to watch an Indian Super League game between FC Goa and FC Pune City.

But I have some of the great memories with hockey. Viren (Rasquinha), the former India hockey captain, and I used to play together in school — St Stanislaus High School in Mumbai. He was the star player of our school. Between 1992 and 1994, I remember playing a final match against Don Bosco (Matunga), which had a great hockey team as well. Their principal had pretty much allowed the whole school to come for the match.

No wonder we were teased when we entered the field. They were all singing ‘Jingle bells’; a few of them knew us by our names. However, we won the game and got the Cup.

Even Viren’s elder brother, Pravin, was a good hockey player. He was the captain of the team. I remember the whole group — 11 players, five substitutes and the coach. I can’t recall the exact score line, but it was a penalty shootout; possibly with a one or two-goal difference.

Viren was junior to us, but being the star player, he used to be selected across three teams or more — under-12, under-13 and under-14. If I am not mistaken, he played under-16, too. He was gifted.

As told to Wriddhaayan Bhattacharyya.