On Friday, a day before his 75th birthday, Indian cricket legend Bishan Singh Bedi was confined to a wheelchair during a book launch about him (The Sardar of Spin).
Looking at him, he watched as his mask slipped off, reminding his wife, Anju, of that bitter day when he had to make the most important decision of his life this February – maybe even him.
Three days after his heart surgery, Bedi suffered a stroke due to a brain freeze. Dangerous surgery was required and her consent was sought.
Fission was lying in the Operation Theater. One thing he always says surrounds me. He would tell the boys, ‘The game is not over until the last ball is thrown.’ That’s when I immediately decided, ‘Go for surgery’. Everyone thought it was the end of the road, but I said to myself, ‘Of course your game is not over,’ “he said with a smirk.
Seven months after that operation, the slightly weaker Bedi cuts the cricket ball-shaped cake, with his son Angad and daughter Neha standing on either side; Anju, behind him, leaned over to put a kiss on his cheek. Everyone knows that this perfect picture frame is a special gift for them.
Because, nothing seemed certain when he was discharged from the hospital.
Bedi, at times, could not recognize those around him and he had to learn to walk again. To complicate matters, he tested positive for Govt-19. With this in mind, for many on Friday, seeing Bedi laugh at old events or even acknowledge the existence of friends – journalist Kullu Ezekiel read a tribute – is not a miracle.
Anju underlines it. “Having been in bed for almost three months and now coming back alive without being able to speak or speak a single word is a miracle not only for me but for everyone including the doctors at Ganga Ram Hospital. Bishan fought very bravely and the doctors stood by him.
Bedi’s daughter Neha, a lifestyle columnist and blogger, says: “He enjoyed a lot this year … we’re very lucky … basically, we recovered him.”
Son Angat, an actor, talks about how close the family is now. “These are tough times and tough people survived. He was that man. We supported each other as a family. Now he is in a good place. Prayers have been answered. He has a lot more to offer to Indian cricket, he is not finished yet,” says Angad.
The support of Bedi’s cricket family spread around the world and was strong. Anju says that Kapil Dev made his debut under the leadership of Bedi in the regular audience. Soldiers of Kapil’s generation saw their captain standing up for them and speaking his mind. Kapil sheds tears as he sees his captain struggling to coordinate his movements.
When Kapil came, he cried like a baby and I felt so bad. Madan Lal, Keerthi Azad, Maninder Singh and Kursharan Singh visited and were my pillars of strength. Also, people love him across the border. “Everyone from Pakistani players like Indikab Alam, Mushtaq Mohammad, Zaheer Abbas, Majid Khan and Sarfraz Khan were on the phone,” Anju said.
Azad, a former all-rounder who visits his childhood hero almost every week, says Bedi’s health is stable. “He’s more advanced than I saw in the beginning. I’m sure he’s old Fission Singh Bedi in a month or two. Be patient and he’s taught us how to get to 100 after you score 50. He’s going to do the same,” Azad said. ” He recognizes me and reminds me of things, so that’s a good sign. “
Fifteen days ago, when Azad met Bedi, they were playing cricket. Bedi sat in a chair on the lawn and bowled, while Azad batted a few meters away.
“It’s a kid-like game. He would sit down and throw the ball, there were stumps, I would bat,” Azad says.