By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | May 24, 2017
Nadim Memon is not a friend. He is a pillar of strength. I have a strong feeling Salman Khan might have closely followed this man for him to have spoken his famous dialogue in the film Wanted so convincingly: “Ek baar jo maine commitment kardi, us ke baad toh mein khud ki bhi nahi suntan.”
This line in short sums up Nadim’s passion for keeping up to whatever he has started or ensuring that he has stood up to whatever he has committed.
His colleagues in the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) will vouch for his no-nonsense approach to any issue. He neither fears, nor seeks favours. He prefers to call a spade a spade. Diplomacy has never been a word high on his priority list. Inspite of that, he has a huge following and respect from all and sundry in the sporting field, be it cricket, football or even schools sports.
I really don’t remember the first time I met Nadim. I started my career as a journalist on May 8, 1987. Somewhere down the line I met this man. Where, I can’t remember. But ever since that first day we met professionally—me as a sports journalist and he as a sports lover—we clicked. Our friendship has blossomed beyond our profession to being family friends. He is there for all my family functions and he ensures I am on his list whenever he has a family occasion.
I have time and again seen his ‘straight, no-nonsense side’. An incident which is forever etched in my mind is when a few sports journalists [my own community] who thought Wanhkede Stadium was their living room and that they had the right to decide who would be in the Press Box, were put in their place by Nadim.
Bombay Times was not known as a main paper way back then, but it had the best sports coverage. That Formula One is today covered on the first page of every national newspaper is thanks to Bombay Times highlighting F1 apart from rugby and cycling while cricket hogged the limelight.
Coming back to that Wankhede incident, along with Pravin Barve, Nadim ensured that I got my right to enter the Press Box for the India South Africa One-day match sometime in 1996. This when my own colleagues were hell-bent on ensuring that I was kept out! Even the then President of Sports Journalist Association of Bombay, a very dear friend, was not able to stand up for me! For my other colleagues, this hardly mattered!
But it was Nadim, a member of the MCA then, who told these ‘guardians of the press box’ where to get off. These guardians were G Vishwanath who I believe still works with The Hindu and another freelance journalist who recently passed away, and a few more.
Imagine taking on the might of the so-called seasoned journalists! Nadim knew what was right and he cared two hoots to whoever came in the way.
On the family front, Nadim is feared and respected by his son Naief. Nadim has given his children (Naief and daughter Duresha) all the freedom they want. In return, he has asked only one thing from them. “Don’t abuse the freedom I have given you.”
His wife Nilopher Memon adores this man and his immediate family know that he is the ‘go to man’ in any crisis.
What he has done for street kids is legendary, though he never speaks about it. Two children have seen his fatherly intervention at a time in their life when they had no one in this world. Today, these kids not only have a roof over their heads but also a family to call their own: Nadim’s own family.
Putting in all the deeds of Nadim in this article would take a long time and eat up a lot of space. I would like to end with a quote from one of his ground staff, Rambrich Jaiswar, Head gardener, Poona Club who has this to say: “I met Nadimsaab at the Elf Vengsarkar ground about 20 years ago. There was something about him that drew me to him. I guess it was his down-to-earth nature and the fact that he was respectful even to people like us. I started working with him at the Wankhede Stadium after he got the MCA membership and even worked at Motera Stadium for a Test and an ODI match with him. At Wankhede, I have worked upwards from being a gardener to being the head. Today I am proud that I have held over 20 international matches at the Wankhede, and it’s all thanks to Nadimsaab.
“Nadimsaab is very knowledgeable; from understanding the ground to the making of a wicket, he knows it all. He is also a very democratic person. He mingles with the ground level staff without feeling that he is above them. Even if I tell him something is wrong, he is open to taking my opinion. Some people have this attitude that they should not ask their ground staff their opinion. But not Nadimsaab: He is a very good person. At work, he laughs and jokes with us. Besides my career, personally too he has helped me many times. He treats everyone with love and respect.”
Need I say more?
Happpy Birthday Nadim Memon. May every person find at least one friend like you.
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