Thursday, January 20, 2011

Excerpts from the book- Cricket till I die

The Inception Of The Dream-
“Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready
to pay the price to make them come true.”
– Leon Joseph Cardinal Suenens

A sudden impulse enveloped me as I saw myself taking a
U turn, driving on the wrong side of the lane and entering
the confines of a massive gate. The top of the entrance
supported a semicircular board which read ‘Mohan Meakins
Cricket Club’ in a worn out shade of black, from which layers
of chipped paint hung loosely; ready to drop any moment
and the board at its creakiest best just waiting to give way to
a strong gush of a Delhi thunderstorm.
As I parked my bike on one corner, an old man exemplifying
the age old Indian phrase of ‘one foot in the grave’ confronted
me. He was the guard, as his attire suggested, a timeworn man
in his late sixties it seemed, who could ward off, let alone a
crook or a thief, not even a small puppy dog. In a season that
would fall definitely under the type ‘summers’, he somehow
still managed to sport a flimsy sweater, bespeaking once
again of his age.
“Can’t you read ‘No Parking’,” he grumbled as I saw the
back of his throat through the massive cavities in his mouth
attributed to the last few teeth left dangling by his gums,
which were as fragile as the board at the gate.
I looked around as I saw a parking sign, hung upside down,
lifelessly on a single hinge and I parked my bike in that area.
The quietness of the ground felt really comforting when
contrasted with the hustle filled traffic I was a part of just
moments back.
A small concrete, two room excuse for an office blocked the
parking locale from the main ground. I entered the ground,
crossing the corridor which had a stench as if it hadn’t had
the opportunity to be cleaned for months now. The lush
green ground wasn’t as lush green now as I observed a group
of young boys practicing in the nets as a man, considerably
older than the lot, seemed to be shouting after every small
period of play, seemingly with a lot of suggestions mixed
generously with profanities.
After observing for some good fifteen minutes from a distance
close enough to get a good hang of all the abuses the old
man used, the man, whom I figured would be the coach,
sighted me.
“What are you looking at?? Why are you late?” He asked
shouting at the top of his voice.
Taken aback, after a moment of being at a complete loss as
to what to do, I walked towards him to help him clarify any
misgivings he might have fostered as he squinted hard to
identify any recognisable features on my face.
“Oh!! My damned eyes!! I am sorry”, he said once I was
close enough to him, as he seemed to suffer from some long
distance face recognition issues.
“But anyways, who the hell are you?” He asked.
“Nothing, Sir!! I mean no one! I was just watching,” I said.
“You don’t frikking play??” He asked
“I do sir.” I found myself saying.
“Oye Rakesh asshole. Give him the pads and the helmet, you
dumbfuck, let’s see if he has the balls; you seem to have left
back home today”, he said as he looked seemingly frustrated
by something Rakesh had done.
There are times when you just can’t say no and then there
are times when you don’t want to. This, I do not know, fell
in which category but dressed in a jeans and a shirt I found
myself padding up. With a major disconnect between my
mind and my actions, things seemed to be taking on their
own course, rather than waiting for my mind to give out any
signals for the same.
As I faced the bowler, who was a mild medium pacer, I
defended, drove, pulled and cut with equal poise as the cries
and yells from the coach subsided with each shot I played.
The bowler who had, till now, been tormenting the previous
batsman, now was subjected to the choicest of abuses