I’ve always wanted to touch people’s hearts in some way. I’ve wanted them to cry tears of joy because of me. There’s a certain inexplicable beauty in moving people. It impacts them, leaves them speechless. For a few moments at least. I’ve always had this urge. You can call it a dream. Except I never knew how to make it happen.
I wouldn’t ever have until I came across this twenty something cricket writer from Australia, whose article I happened to read one January morning in 2013. Almost out of boredom. By chance. Also because his display picture looked a bit off beat. Fair skinned, red chubby cheeks. Unbuttoned shirt, sweat stained baseball cap. A sweet, almost mischievous smile.
Even then, before I had read any of his work, he seemed different. So unlike any of the other writers, those with formal jackets and glum faces, ready to flip the bird at you any moment.
His display picture is still stuck in my mind. It always will be.
I had always considered writing to be monotonous. Dull. Boring to the point of tearing my hair out. What was it? A mere collection of facts, of events which had already taken place. It seemed pretty pointless. Cricket writing, even more so.
I had read pieces by renowned cricket writers before. And found them to be average at best. It all read the same. Facts. Analyses. Suggestions. A quote or pointless reference thrown in the middle. Done. I felt that was all to it.
He shattered my myth.
The uniqueness of his display picture was firmly etched in my mind when I started reading his piece. It was on his favourite player, a man who had just played one Test match and had had the worst debut in history. A weird choice to have as your favourite player, I thought to myself. Then I remembered the display picture. And continued reading what would be the finest selection of words I had ever read. The uniqueness of the man grew with each passing paragraph, with each passing sentence, with each passing word.
It was the first time I was reading an article which was not just a collection of facts. It was a plethora of emotions. The sentences were informal. The words struck a chord. It felt he was talking to you. It was the kind of stuff that makes your hair stand on end. It gives you goosebumps. It made me shudder at how narrow minded I was while making nonsensical judgements about writing.
As I reached the end, my eyes welled up. There were tears. I could hardly believe that a piece of writing had brought tears to my eyes. All I knew was that I didn’t want the article to end.
By the time it did, I was sure what I wanted to do with my life. Write stuff like this. Write like him.
He dropped out of school in fifth grade. He did odd jobs for a living. His last one, before making it big as a cricket writer, was as a valet. Sometimes, education, or rather teaching takes out the natural beauty from us. We are taught to be like the thousands or lakhs have been before us. We are not taught to stand out. That’s why all these others sound the same. Perhaps, just perhaps.
He stood out. Because he was not trying to prove a point. Because he was conversing with us. Because he brought to cricket writing the one thing that cricket thrives on – emotion. Also, because of that baseball cap. And the shirt. And the mischievous smile.
The bond, the attachment, the one sided fondness I share with him is something which cannot be put down in words.
It’s much like the one Hazel Grace shares with Peter Van Houten in the movie ‘The fault in our stars’. Although I don’t think he’ll turn out to be as big a douchebag as Van Houten was. I just know he won’t.
I haven’t seen him. I haven’t spoken to him, although sometimes I feel I have. Probably when I’m reading and then rereading his pieces.
But, I have this intense desire to meet him, to speak with him. To tell him, there’s one life out there which he has impacted so strongly. To tell him, there’s one person out there who wants to write like him, who wants to be like him. To tell him, there’s one person out there who considers him his hero.
For me, he is no less than a hero. A superhero even. Through the power of those words, his words, he makes us smile and cry. He hits us bang in the middle of that heart. He leaves us gasping with amazement, putting things into perspectives we never imagined existed. He makes us marvel at his beauty. More than that, he makes us marvel at the beauty of writing.
I write regularly now. By the response my pieces have got, I’d like to think that I have moved a few people. I like it, this writing. It allows me to do something which I’ve always wanted to, and something I always will.
For that I have him to thank. For opening up my world I have him to thank. For showing me how to move people, I have him to thank. For a lot, I have him to thank. I always will.
On 17 January 2013, Jarrod Kimber entered my life. And changed it in a way I never thought someone I hadn’t met could.
His display picture is still the same. The uniqueness is still the same. It forever will be.
*Featured Image courtesy – http://www.cricketcountry.com/articles/jarrod-kimber-jack-of-many-trades-master-of-most-564782