The "MINI" Story
By SaurabhRai (Chamling)
While Mini was in Sikkim, Bhaichungs coach in school Manas Chakraborthy had requested him to coach Bhaichung during one the schools winter break as the School team had no practice session during vacations, He had found Bhaichung to be very skillful and disciplined.
Years later after becoming an icon of the Indian Football, Bhaichung had still not forgotten “Mini Daju”. The former Indian skipper had invited him for his wedding and Mini proudly narrated an incident that had happened then. "I still remember, all his friends and invitees were jostling to take a picture with Bhaichung at the wedding. I was seated in the corner when Bhaichung himself came and asked the Photographer to take a picture of him with me. All the other guests and friends were surprised while I posed for the picture with pride."
Mini also narrated couple of other interesting and funny incidents. He could not remember the year but it was at a tournament in Biratnagar (Nepal). he recollected, "Legendary footballer Shayam Thapa had put together a team which included himself along with Pem Dorjee and other star players.Their team had reached the finals. A day before the final match, their striker had fallen sick so Shayam Thapa invited me to join their team. After a tiring journey to Biratnagar from Kalimpong,I headed straight to the ground scored a goal and also bagged the man of the match award along with the best player of the tournament by just playing one game." With a grin on his face, he further added,"Pem Dorjee was the favorite to win these two trophies." One can imagine how well he must have played then, an amazing feat for any level of football.
Another funny incident was in Sikkim when he had gone to meet the then Sports Minster PS Golay. He met his personal secretary and filled up the visitors slip with his name. But even after two hours the minister did not call him to his room. He asked the personal secretary to remind the minister that someone was waiting for him. The minister himself came out of his chamber asking who was Urgen Lama. He got up to wish him, The minister smiled at him and said you should have wrote “Mini” in the slip and said sorry to him and ushered him to his chamber.
In 1989 Mini decided to hang his boots but not before another memorable performance in the All India Governor’s Gold Cup where he won the best goal of the tournament award. It was in a match against Sesa Goa where he scored with a side volley from twenty yards off a cross from the right. He regrets that they did not have video recordings back then.
Mini’s contribution to football has not been recognized by the Government till date, But he has no complaints. He is just happy that he played the beautiful game and people still talk about his playing days.
Even we found this out as whenever we mentioned the name “Mini” in Kalimpong the people responded with “Oh what a wonderful player he was” He still plays for the Kalimpong Veterans team giving a tough time to the defenders who are much younger to him. We think he considers the people’s love and affection towards him as the greatest honor.
So next time when you come to Kalimpong and a match is on at Mela ground and you see a short stature player running into the defenders you can bet nine out of ten times that the person is Mini.
Mini The Unsung Hero Part-II