Wednesday, October 01, 2008

THE STORY: This is a real story and a real old one too. Once upon a time and all that kind of crap. The protagonist is my friend. Let’s call him “Mr. A”. He was an outcast when we were growing up. The weird kid. He had more four legged and eight legged friends than two. The main characteristic that made him stand out was the fact that he didn’t play cricket. Not playing cricket in the 90’s is like being gay in the 50’s. People frowned; people spat and gossiped behind his back.

            One day he wakes up and decides that he should learn how to hold a bat and rotate his shoulder to deliver the perfect ball. He sets out seeking for an apt “Guru”. His path is one of misery and bad roads filled with potholes. He walks until his legs can’t carry his weight anymore. Completely out of breath he starts panting. He has already covered 800 meters. He reaches my doorsteps. It starts raining. He knows that the heavens have pointed him to the right “Guru”. The door opens and he says,” Aunty, is Giri home?”

            I went outside to find him all drenched and panting like a dog, unfortunately he even smelled like one. I thought he was again occupied in one of his imaginary fantasy games he was known for. Which is sadly a single player game and he seemed to be the only expert in this whole world. I noticed he had tears in his eyes and a poster of Sachin Tendulkar in his hand. He said, “I want to be this”. I asked him how far he was willing to go. He said, “I will curl my hair and speak squeaky.” I knew he was serious.


            *The Training.

Like every Guru I wanted my pupil to succeed. I was very rigorous on him. We trained very hard. We trained for ever. Exactly two weeks, but it felt like forever. It took me 5 whole days to teach him how to play the cover drive. He still didn’t get it.  He has one physical deformity which kept coming in his way of being a cricketer. He was too muscular. He had huge biceps for a kid. Because of this his swing was more like a baseball swing. He could never bring his bat straight down. His bowling seemed to be much better. Finally he had found some use for those ridiculous looking muscles of his. He could bowl fast. Direction, line and length were concepts beyond his realm of understanding. Even though he wasn’t a retard these things went way over his head. Nevertheless I was very determined. I could never give up on this kid. I pushed myself so hard I almost went nuts. I eventually picked up a drinking habit. Almost three 350 ml cokes a day, they weren’t even diet. I felt bad; my only solace was the fact that my protégé was showing signs of improvement. Time was running out for both of us. The summer was about to end.


*The Match.

I figured seeing his great master in action could help him pickup some of my excellent traits, transforming him into a better player and eventually a better human being. So I decided to take him to a match of mine. All the big guns had arrived. Setting up the wicket and deciding on the bets for the match. Some of them had even bought new hardware. My pupil and I stepped into the arena. I could hear whispers, whispers which said, “Why is Giri with that freak?” I chose not to answer. I had to hold the leash tight since I didn’t know what would provoke my mighty freak of a pupil to rip off their faces. I was quiet. I was completely Zen.

One of the Sensei’s of batting named “Mr. R” throws the ball at me. My pupil leaps and catches it in mid air. The Sensei says, “It was meant for the master not you, Freak.” Insulting the pupil is as good as insulting the master. The Sensei had gone too far. I ask him to take the crease and face my pupil, if he has balls. The Sensei with a smirk on his face takes to the crease.

My pupil begs me not to humiliate him in public. I look deep into those tear filled eyes and say, “Its time.” The run up was long. Every stride kicking up a storm. Perfect balance, the ball rolls off his mighty fingers. Pitches between the Sensei’s legs and the middle stump is floating in the air. Time freezes. I have a smile n my face. The Sensei is devastated. Mr. A is in utter disbelief. Gods were clapping their hands and showering us with exotic flowers. The disoriented Sensei says, “One more.” My friend Mr. A says, “I quit. That was the first ball I ever bowled and that would be the last.” The myth of Mr. A still echoes in these parts. The immortal Mr. A.

The moral of the story is Metallica should have quit long ago.


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