Saturday, Nov 15, 2003
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By Y. Mallikarjun
Sachin spoke to the children during a visit to the CARE hospitals, Banjara Hills, where he unveiled `Harvey block' plaque, distributed fruits among some patients and briefly met the directors and the senior consultants.
Soon after he entered the small room housing the telemedicine equipment, the master blaster enquired if the children were waiting to interact with him. "It's nice," he quipped when told by Krishnam Raju, Chairman, Care Foundation, that they were looking forward to talk to him. The live interaction began as soon as Sachin settled down in a chair in front of the television screen, which beamed the picture of the children. "Good morning ... how are you?" asked Sachin even as some among them held placards "Sachin, we all love you" and "Best of luck against New Zealand".
Responding to a kid's request for a century tomorrow, the little master said: "I'll be trying for you guys... would you be watching the match, you don't have school tomorrow," he asked. Eight-year-old Acriraj Chakraborthi, who is suffering from a congenital heart disease and had a pacemaker implanted, was among the children who briefly interacted with Sachin from the GB Pant Government Hospital, Agartala.
Later, he had a similar interface with children at Mahabubnagar Government Hospital. "All I can see is doctors, not the kids," remarked Sachin when the camera initially focussed on the hospital superintendent and other staff. Immediately, 13-year-old Ashray said: "I am a great fan of you, Uncle... You have to hit more than 186 again," alluding to the knock made at Hyderabad by Sachin last time. Responding promptly in a humorous vein, Sachin said: "I'll tell the New Zealand Captain that you are demanding more."
He assured another kid that the Indian team would fight very hard tomorrow. Finally, the interface ended in a burst of laughter when Ashray said: "I wish you a happy children's day. I still feel that you are a small guy."
Earlier, the little master was told by Prof. Krishnam Raju and CARE hospitals Chairman, B. Soma Raju, that they were inspired by the President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, to start `Little Hearts Foundation' to treat heart ailments of children. Dr. Kalam had donated Rs. 1 lakh to the foundation. The CARE hospitals started the telemedicine connectivity with GB Pant Hospital, Agartala, to provide superspecialists advice to patients.
"It was a great experience to be online with Agartala. I would always cherish this moment in life. I wish the hospital very best of luck," Sachin scribbled later in the visitor's book.
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