This column was written for "The Evening News of India" on February 6, 1979.
The best thing that ever happened to AIR was Bobby Talyarkhan. And the best thing that Indian sportsmen have ever done (apart from a few golds at the Asian Games), is honourning him with a purse at a function held at the CCI yesterday.
Ever since I can remember, Bobby Talyarkhan has been in my life. Sarcastic, always complaining, the world's leading I-told-you-so, full of secret stories that he keeps assuring that he will reveal at the right moment and never has.
Now past 80, half blind, more set in his views, than ever a human being can be, the voice has always been the same. Firm, full of life, filled with the scent of the playing-fields of India, the very same voice that used to come every day over the radio and now comes once or twice a week.
The younger generation knows nothing about his ball-by-ball commentary. Bobby had no assistants and consequently no thak-yous, and over-to-yous, and expert comments by A.N. Other, Bobby was his own expert and the only commentator from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the day of a Test.
And he has been everybody. On cricket fields and hockey and football grounds, in the press and out of it, one of the first persons to be on television when it finally arrived in India and almost as popular as Tabassum.
And he has lived the life of a sportsman and a sport-writer. A morning stroll on the hallowed grounds of the Brabourne Stadium, drinks before lunch at the CCI bar, the evening hours spent with Bobby talking and others, listening to past events in the world of sports.
In the old days, he used to drive a sports car, a scarf round his neck, a sports jacket on his shoulders. He had always looked like Ernest Hemingway, and there is a lot of Hemingway in his writing and his lifestyle.
And though I have not contribute to his purse (partly because I do not get Rs. 10,000 per Test match), may I on his occasion wish this grand young man of Indian sports, many more active years. And may his voice live on.