A punch for a punch, some hair-pulling, some glass bottles crashing to the ground - and a shout from the other room. My mother asking herself 'what did I do to deserve such kids?'
She'd tell me I instigate my brother. But he started the fight. She'd tell me girls don't look good being violent like that. BUT HE STARTED THE FIGHT. She'd tell me no one likes women with broken teeth. But ma, I gotta win this one.
I was quite a troublesome kid - and Virat Kohli was my hero because he was troublesome too. He used go on the field and show middle finger to an abusive and disrespectful crowd. He used to shout, he used to jump, he was aggressive.
I loved it.
I was in 8th standard when Virat won the U-19 trophy for us. Now, I wouldn't have known anything about it, had the highest scorer's sister not been my classmate.
Lucknow is a small city and you don't need to do much to become famous there. Obviously, coming back with the most number of runs was crazy, and he became a star over-night.
However, we also forgot about him pretty soon, because the captain started dominating the headlines. I'd ask my classmate what Virat is like. She used to smile and say 'he is nice'.
From that point on, I started following him religiously. First, the IPL and then, the national team.
Virat was always a very special player. You could tell that even without very good knowledge of the game. To be fair, none of us thought he'd go on to become this huge a star but we knew he was meant for bigger things.
The only hurdle? His aggression.
'Virat's aggression will be his undoing.'
'If he works on his anger, he can become the next Sachin.'
'Cricket is a gentlemen's game, Virat is not a gentleman.'
It started making sense to me, more so because somewhere around the same time, I found my real hero for life: MS Dhoni.
Calm and composed, he went on with his business. Unlike Kohli, he was relaxed. He didn't show middle finger to the crowd, he didn't shout, he didn't jump.
And I figured maybe I can also get things done without losing teeth, the fixing of which was costing my parents a lot.
Honestly, I don't have any strong memory of Kohli and his innings from the beginning of this decade till the time he became the captain in 2014.
The captaincy that transformed him into someone completely different.
He turned into a person who'd give trophies to debutantes, he started giving others the credit for India's victories, he started taking a backstage during the celebrations as if he had not contributed to the win at all.
We were now looking at a new Kohli - still aggressive in his game but a gentleman through and through.
And he has held on to that. Yes, he still abuses on some occasions and that has been a topic of discussion but trust him to stand up for his teammates. Even opponents in some cases.
When the crowd was booing Steve Smith in the World Cup earlier, he asked them to cheer for him instead. He even apologised to Smith on behalf of his people.
“If I was in a position where something had happened with me, and I’d apologised and accepted it, and came back and still I would get booed, I wouldn’t like it either.”#ViratKohli on why he asked the fans to stop booing Steve Smith. #CWC19 | #INDvAUS pic.twitter.com/CIMicjoSA0— Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) June 9, 2019
When asked about Dhoni and his deteriorating form, he said people have to acknowledge MS Dhoni's contribution to Indian cricket. He said Mahi will always be 'my captain'.
Happy birthday mahi bhai @msdhoni. Very few people understand the meaning of trust and respect and I'm glad to have had the friendship I have with you for so many years. You've been a big brother to all of us and as I said before, you will always be my captain 🙂 pic.twitter.com/Wxsf5fvH2m— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) July 7, 2019
When asked about Rohit Sharma, he said that the guy is the best ODI batsman in the world. Imagine! The player sitting atop the points table, the player in contention with Sachin Tendulkar for becoming the greatest batsman of all time - simply smiles and says 'Rohit is the best'.
He hugs his teammates tight on the field and cheers for them from the stands.
You see, as time passed, Kohli grew up and so did I.
When I look at his personal growth, I realise even I changed with time. No more fights now, no hair-pulling, no breaking bottles in the house.