Gautam Gambhir (left) meets Harshul Goenka and his sister Ananya this IPL season; SRK poses with the “Boss” in 2013
Got wishes of KKR’s biggest fan “Boss”. Will be waiting for all of you to cheer for KKR. Come on everyone
@Gautam Gambhir, tweets the KKR captain
Gautam Gambhir is not tweeting about Shah Rukh Khan but Harshul ‘Boss’ Goenka of Rowland Road, a special child and KKR’s “special” fan.
The Badshah himself has arranged for KKR match tickets since he first met the 22-year-old at ITC Sonar last year. “Shah Rukh Khan was a godsend. It is because of him that Harshul can watch KKR matches without hassles,” says mother Rajni.
A meeting with SRK facilitated by Karuna Badwal and Mandvi Sharma of Red Chillies Entertainment, the Bollywood icon and his wife Gauri’s company, has given cricket-crazy Harshul, who suffers from cerebral palsy, the chance to catch his favourite team up close at the Eden Gardens — from just across the fence at B Block.
“We had gone to ITC to meet the players last year. Harshul has a few things that he enjoys. So, I make an effort. Even when Team India is staying at Taj Bengal, we go,” says Rajni. That day King Khan promised that Harshul would be there for “all my IPL matches”. “He asked me how many tickets I’d need. I said three… one for my son and two for his attendants. He said, ‘We’ll give you four, one for the great mom’. That was very touching. From that day, for the all KKR matches, I am getting four tickets,” she says.
The Goenkas collected their tickets from ITC Sonar last year. This year, they did it at Eden.
Rajni thanked deputy commissioner (south) Murli Dhar for his support. “He gives me green (car) stickers. We can get off right in front of the gate. He has been a great help.”
A Sachin Tendulkar fan, Harshul hit a few balls with him last IPL season — the bat and his hand in the master’s famous grip. “It was unbelievable,” he says. “He is a very good human being. I told him that I cannot play cricket, but Sachin said ‘don’t worry… whenever I am free, I will play cricket with you’,” he says.
Now that Sachin has retired, the Boss’s favourite is Yuvi. “We are happy that he is fond of cricket… that keeps him occupied. Otherwise, it is a major task to keep him busy. Since he cannot do anything on his own, we really don’t know how to keep him busy. He has very few friends. Nobody wants to spend too much time with him. It saddens me but I am helpless. Cricket is actually his obsession,” Rajni says.
She says he recognises most cricketers and IPL is big for him. The countdown begins a month in advance and Rajni makes all arrangements to take him to the stadium. “I have to organise my staff. He is totally dependent. Making him sit in the car… assembling his chair, reassembling his wheelchair. Taking him anywhere is an effort. I stand beside him for half the match and then the attendant takes over,” she says.
The effort is worth it, though. Harshul is at his happiest at the Eden stands — his wheelchair parked close to the KKR dugout.
“You made me miss a four,” he told Metro the day KKR beat Royal Challengers Bangalore. “Do not disturb” was the message while the match was on!
Boss often gets visitors from the KKR dugout. “Gambhir has been so kind to him,” says Rajni. The skipper gifted him jerseys before Saturday’s match (versus Sunrisers Hyderabad). “After the match got over, he came to him, shook hands with him and said, ‘thanks for your support’. Even Yusuf Pathan came,” she adds.
His slogan for the play-off versus Kings XI Punjab: “Aab ki baar KKR! Baar baar Shah Rukh Khan!”