Watching Pete Sampras at the second semi-final of the Australian open last weekend transported me straight to my school days. The match was one-sided anyways (although I was rooting for Rafa but it was rather sad to see Fedrer lose in straight sets) and frequent camera shots of Sampras in the audience sent me into flashback mode.
The year was 1995. I was fifteen and had this SUPER crush on Pete Sampras. In fact it wasn't just me, my entire group of friends was in love with this tennis demi-god. My room was an altar to his greatness and whenever pictures of Sampras appeared in the sports section of the newspaper they found their way on a wooden makeshift board in my room.
The period from 1995-1998 was the most fun and carefree time of my life. Of course, it is only now that I look back at those days so fondly because during that time we were drowned in books, exams and grades. I guess it is always in retrospect that we find life more attractive. This was the time of cassette players, dish antennas and VCR. When Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge was released, each one of us fell in love with SRK. It was easy to identify all who had watched the movie over the weekend on Monday mornings (clues included a dreamy expression, sighs the entire day and references to the movie in every conversation). There were endless discussions over all the music albums and an intense rivalry existed especially between fans of Awaz and Junoon. Inquilaab was the one album we all played excessively during our college days. It was (and is) my favourite album by Junoon. I remember when they released Azadi, their fourth album, my friend called me and we discussed (in great detail) every song of the album. The conversation lasted at least two hours, on a landline which was the ONLY telephone in the house.
One glimpse of Sampras was all it took to unleash a flood of memories. Photographs are not always the only route down memory lane. Sometimes all it takes is a word, a song or a tennis player.
The Blank Page, Truly Madly Deeply (Savage Garden) and Pete Sampras.