CHENNAI: In case you missed it, Tamil Nadu had reached the semifinals of the 70th Santosh Trophy in Nagpur. And one of the principle architects of the State’s success in the event is a Maharashtrian named Vikram Patil. The 27-year-old from Gadhinglaj, a town in Kolhapur district, Maharashtra, always wanted to be a footballer.
After graduation, he decided to venture out from his home State in search of a proper job.
“I joined Bharat Earth Movers Ltd (BEML) in Bengaluru in 2010. They used to be a part of I-League 2nd division. But they could not guarantee a job. In 2011, I received a call from Indian Bank, Chennai. After some thought, I decided to take up the offer. The decision changed my life,” he tells City Express. Former India striker, Raman Vijayan called up Vikram regarding the offer. And the midfielder has not looked back since.
After impressing for Indian Bank in the CFA Senior Division, he finally managed to get a job in AG’s Office in 2013. “Everyone, from players to coaches, made me feel welcome. They treated me like one of their own. I have enjoyed my time in TN and hopefully, it should continue,” Vikram remarked.
The language and food barrier is felt by almost everyone who comes to the city. But Vikram knows adjustment is the name of the game if you have to succeed. “I knew I had to stay here. Instead of cribbing, I went about my job and now I can speak Tamil almost perfectly. I actually like the biryani. During my free time, I like hanging out with friends at Marina,” he reveals.
Asked if he regretted leaving home, he quickly says, “No I don’t. I miss home but I always wanted to be a professional footballer. Everyone wants one chance in their life and Tamil Nadu gave me my chance. For that, I will always remain grateful.”
He has already represented the State in two Santosh Trophy meets, and both times, TN bowed out in the final four stage. “This time around, the competition was held around 24 hours from my town. My family had planned to come. But sadly, we lost in the semis. Hopefully, I will be third time lucky!” Vikram smiles.