For over six decades he has been associated with the sport of carrom.
Many mention B. Bangaru Babu and carrom in the same breath for such was his involvement with the sport, nurturing it carefully and raising it to Asian and then World level.
No praise can be too high for this man’s devotion and commitment, but when international recognition arrived, the veteran was caught in an unfortunate turn of events.
Babu was felled by a paralytic stroke last October while on the train journey to New Delhi to receive the prestigious ‘distinguished service’ award from the International Carrom Federation. Instead of on a stage, sadly, the award was presented to him at his hospital bed in the capital.
This unfortunate episode in the 83-year old Babu’s life had come days after he had successfully organised a function in the city to release a ‘Carrom Compendium’ (a collection of 60 issues of Carrom Courier, a magazine he had fondly brought out every quarter from January 1998).Timely help
Babu had then left for Delhi, when the unexpected happened near Jhansi. He was downed by a stroke that affected the right side of his body and also his speech. Immediate medical attention in Jhansi proved timely and then when he was shifted to the G.B. Pant hospital in Delhi, doctors ensured he was out of danger.
Soon his family had him shifted to the Apollo hospital here where neurologist Dr. Siddharth Ghosh has brought about his gradual improvement from a virtually bed-ridden state to a position now when he can sit up and speak, even if a little incoherently. There is still much to improve but the optimist that he is, Babu has not lost hope.
For eight months he has been totally cut off from the sports world. Incidentally he is also the treasurer of the Tamil Nadu Olympic Association besides being the vice-president of the Tamil Nadu Carrom Association.
But officials and players keep calling on him, enquiring after his health and seeking his advice. He mentioned with gratitude the visit of K. Murugan, TNOA secretary and VFI CEO.
Babu is affected on the financial front also. “Have spent close to Rs. 6 lakh so far,” said his nephew Venkatesan. Babu turned emotional when he mentioned the late Sivanthi Adityan, former VFI President and a renowned sports administrator and one to whom he was quite close. “Had ayya been around, perhaps he would have ensured I had no worries on the financial front,” he said, tears running down his cheek.