While the Bangladesh team were undergoing net sessions at the Holkar Stadium in Indore, the mood around the visiting journalists -- unable to linger pitch side due to the ground’s specific, thoroughly followed regulations and forced to make their way into the stands -- lightened amidst the prevailing seriousness of the Tigers’ camp due to the presence of one humorously-cheerful soul named Nur Boksh.
He immediately caught the attention of those around him through his laughter -- a throaty burst that comes straight from the heart and hits the funny bone -- and his constant playing of the ektara, the instrument of choice for wandering bards, which kept the particular stand close to the players’ nets in vibration.
Nur, an 81-year-old fan of the Bangladesh team, is an avid follower of the cricket team and made it to Indore after forays in Delhi, Rajkot and Nagpur. “I am a freedom fighter and fought under major Mohammad Abdul Jalil in sector nine during Bangladesh’s war of independence” he said. “I get pension. My son and his wife are job holders. Money is not an issue for me and I travel on my own account. I told them: ‘you spend your money and I will spend mine’.”
A happy-go-lucky person, his spirit carries him through at this old age.
“I feel joy. I like looking at so many people and travelling,” he said. Nur had joined the army after independence and now gets a pension from the army as well. Despite that, travelling through the cities at this age must be a difficult task. Asked, Nur replied: “Am I not strong? My heart is good. I can move because my heart is in good condition. When I see that I can’t stay at a hotel due to money crisis, I lay down wherever I can manage.”
Draped in a Bangladesh flag and often with a scarf on his head with the red and green of Bangladesh and the symbol of a Tiger, Nur’s image has been carried by international media as well. Yesterday, a crop of Indian reporters thronged around him to quench their curiosity.
Asked in Hindi about how he manages tickets and the financial solvency to meet the financial demands of a tour, Nur said: “I try to do things on my own,” before looking at one of his partners, also a Bangladesh fan. The other fan informed the media present that apparently Mushfiqur Rahim, Bangladesh’s wicketkeeper-batsman, had supplied the tickets for the matches and one of the tickets would be shared with Nur.
His spirit in cheering for the Tigers was unquestionable and his smile will certainly pique the curiosity of those that find him in the stands coming Thursday during the first Test at Indore.