"Never reached that level...leaden-footed."
"I wouldn't call Kumar a natural talent."
"Kumar could have done better."
"...did he achieve his true potential? I don't think so."
When the world of cricket was going gaga over a retiring Kumar Sangakkara, these are some of the remarks his father made in this incredible interview.
But then Sangakkara Sr is a typical parent from the subcontinent, a species social scientists have termed as the most difficult to please.
Below is how parents of some of the greatest human beings would have reacted had they been from the subcontinent:
1) Mrs Archimedes: Poor Archie, I don't know what will happen to him. Today he is deriving Archimedes' principle, tomorrow he is inventing a screw and the next day he is reflecting sunlight in mirror and burning Roman ships. Physics, mathematics, astronony, engineering ... I just wish he were a regular boy and focused on one single subject. Also, his dad was mighty upset after Leo ran naked on the street screaming "Eureka". Neighbours won't talk to us now, such a scandal!
2) Olympias: You know, Alexander was such a cute boy and both Philip and I wanted him to steer clear of this war business. We wanted him to crack the admission test for Plato's Academy and got him the best private tutor in Aristotle too. But guess he got into wrong company and set out on conquering the world. This new generation, I tell you...
3) Da Vinci Sr: When I look back, I feel rather sad for Leo. He could have straddled the worlds of arts and sciences like no one has but he finished half the polymath he could be. Remember, he was ambidextrous, which means the output would have been double had he been a little more serious. But then he has always been casual about career and then started chasing this Mona Lisa girl...
4) Mozart Sr: Johan, I mean Wolfgang, started composing when he was five, which means he was already running five years behind! You have to start music early, preferably when you are in your mother's womb, if you ask me. Also he never made it to the second round of Zee TV "Sa Re Ga Ma Pa".
5) Mrs Newton: Isaac sadly fell for the low-hanging fruit in that famous apple incident. I mean he did formulate the Theory of Gravitation, while failing to come up with what could have been the first authentic apple-pie recipe. There was no hurry for the Theory of Gravitation, but humanity had to wait a real long time before a decent apple-pie recipe came along.
6) Einstein Sr: I think Albert won a Nobel or something in Physics, that's what his mom told me. Poor under-achiever, should have won an Oscar as well but was was too lazy to capitalise on his friendship with Charlie Chaplin and learn from him before foraying into Hollywood.
7) Mrs Armstrong: Yes, Neil did become the first man on moon and all that but guess what? He forgot to bring a fridge magnet for the family! He has always been careless like this you know. When he was seven, he once ... When will you grow up Neil?