Love in a Metro

‘Mom! I will look at her pictures.’ I said aloud and disconnected the call. Looking around I realized my voice had managed to penetrate the head phone wearing gentry of the crowded metro train. They smirked as if they knew about the picture I was talking about!

I am Raj… I know; the name makes you think I would be having girls falling all over me. It is the exact opposite! I am this fly on the wall who wants to fly, I want to Raj karo on hearts and remain a wannabe. By now I have come to terms with the fact that nobody notices me ever and names can be deceptive.

I opened my email; and the most beautiful girl stared me back from my phone. She had perfect black hair and large almond shaped eyes. I had had many photographs sent to me, but none had this effect …I was in love..Yes!

I read the details…staying in PG at Delhi. “I can actually go and meet her! I grabbed a seat at the next station and sat dreaming about my future.

‘Can you move a little?’ Said a sugary voice…I looked up and yes you guessed it; there she was photo girl. Looking resplendent busy typing away on her phone…her fingers so tender and long …… She looked so good in person!

I saw, how uncomfortable she was sandwiched between me and another chap absorbed on his phone refusing to budge. I got up and she smiled gratefully, this was the first time a girl looked at me like this. My heart missed a beat….. She looked so happy chatting away….Blushing in between. With her family looking for a match, I am sure one of her friends is pulling her leg. At each new station, I hoped she does not get down; while yours truly had already missed his station for his destination…

Suddenly she looked up and it appeared she needed to charge her phone. I handed over my power bank to her…

‘Sorry..’

‘You are looking for a phone charger?’

‘Yes! But…..You had to miss your seat for me too..’

‘Please you can use it…’ I smiled

‘Thanks.’ She looked relieved. She was now typing a little slow and looked sad. Her full of life eyes were now full of tears. I wanted to hug her and console her…. I could sense that my eyes were moist too… so this is how being in love felt…

Suddenly she turned to the guy next to her.

‘Please do not do this.’

‘But you have not told your family yet.’ He said crossly.

‘Come on now Ajay! Papa keeps sending emails to random guys… latest is Delhi boy…I will say no…I love you; how can you doubt that’ she broke into tears.

The guy kept a hand on her shoulder and took her in an embrace.

I deleted the mail on impulse, but I do not have the heart to empty the trash…

 

 

 

 

 

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Redemption

It’s been ages since she has got out of her place; the only memories she clung to were those of her parents and brother who lived in the far remote village. She had to study hard and put her best foot forward, complete her education and then go back and serve those who need her. The city had not given her anything; actually it had taken from her all that she had; her laughter, her verve, her innocence and even her smile. She hated mingling and talking to anyone, she did not want to face anyone at all. After that ominous night, the days she spent in hospital were not so much painful as they were unending; the questions never stopped, the answers were never clear, the face of her family was just torn. And just as she had read and seen before she was shunned from society once she came out of the hospital, nobody seemed to look at her, nobody   was her friend, no queries from her were answered in college even by her favorite professors. Today she just thought of getting a little dressed and get out of her studio apartment, somehow the weather seemed pleasant unlike before. She walked to the mirror but could not see any reflection, she checked again and again and out of desperation she switched on all buttons, the television got started and the glare was bright, she read aloud: “All four convicts get death sentence, now the girl’s soul should find some peace”. Suddenly, she felt light and beautiful again, and was drifting upwards where she could see angels smiling to welcome her…..

Ardhangini

Close to the city of Paithan, in a small village called Sauviragram, which lay along the banks of the great river Godavari, lived a woman named Ilaa. Being cotton farmers, her family was well to do, but not among the richest in their area. It was the harvest season, and cotton had to be picked from the plants. The wholesalers and traders from Paithan would be arriving in just a few weeks, carrying gold and goods for barter. They would exchange what they carried for the cotton that the farmers grew. The bales of cotton had to be ready in time! Work was at its peak!

But Ilaa was not to be found in the fields. She wasn’t working. Instead, she was sitting by the banks of the great river Godavari.

‘I am sick of this!’ she grunted loudly.

Ilaa loosened the scarf that covered her beautiful black tresses and enjoyed the waft of cool air on her face. She saw her reflection in the clear Godavari waters. Working in the sun had made her complexion a very pleasant copper and her jade black hair complemented the look. She knew she was not fair skinned like Latika who never had to be in the fields, thanks to her landlord father; nor did she have curves like Archana who danced like poetry and every festival men swooned over her…. yet there was something about her, she knew it….

“No one can deny you have the most enchanting doe shaped eyes…!!”; Ilaa failed to hear the footsteps as Archana’s reflection came through. Both girls started giggling, in a manner fit only for loose girls; as her mother might comment.

Archana settled on a rock besides her friend, no other woman spoke to her as she was a devdasi. But Ilaa was different… Ilaa knew so many things about history, numbers, Vedas and equality of genders. She loved it when Ilaa talked nonstop and enlightened her. She mused; I wish I could be learned like her….

“So what happened today?” Archana asked concerned by her friends’ remark a short while back.

“Was I that loud!!?” Ilaa retorted while she tied back her scarf, taking care to cover the last strand of her hair.

“You were so loud the village zamindaar heard!” Archana said, imitating Ilaa’s mom. This just left the girls with more chuckles.

As they sat down enjoying raw tamarind from the tree on the banks, Ilaa spoke. “It is so humid….!! Yet I am covering myself from head to toe. I don’t understand why aai is so adamant about this. Look at you! You can braid your hair, let them loose, wear flowers … look exquisite, and here I am with this old saree tied to my head.”

“Such restrictions exist for you because your mother knows you are beautiful and wants the village wolves to back off till you are married. Trust me once you have the mangalsutra around your neck you can wear your hair as you like. Besides, the cover does little to hide your beauty.”

Ilaa looked at Archana and marveled…. how simply she has made the situation seem better for me. Her words are so comforting. All the hardships she has gone through have made her so wise. How can she not be unhappy? No woman would want to be a devdasi! The torture she must be going through daily, serving all and sundry in the name of being married to God…Ironical!! Why doesn’t she show anger or worse remorse? I wish I could be free spirited like her…

“It’s not just the weather, I heard kaka and his friends discussing, how they would get lucky with the free marijuana and liquor when the traders get here next week. It’s sickening to see men vying for such vices in exchange of unfair barter! Women have to manage the household on whatever men decide for the crop. Our contribution in the fields is equal if not more! I must speak to Milind; being a bookkeeper appointed by the state, he must know the fair rates!”

“You like Milind…..” Archana teased.

“I don’t” Ilaa protested rather feebly. How can someone not like him! He had come from Aurangabad to work here. He was the most literate one in the village and very helpful. Though Ilaa never interacted with him in person, she felt he was not like other men…he looked progressive…handsome…!

“Whenever we meet; the conversation involves Milind. And during the village fair, I have observed the way he looks at you.”

“He never said anything to me…. What if he likes men and not women?” Ilaa said with forced seriousness, this made both of them double up again. Any discussion of men being with men and women with women was a taboo! Ilaa knew from her books in Paithan, this was not only acceptable in the past, but was also used as adornment in some ancient temples! Here in Sauviragram people had long forgotten freedom of any kind. They just lived their lives mechanically, programmed to follow dogmatic rituals and women got the worst share. If only they realized that gender was never a hurdle back in the Vedic days!

“I think I must return, Baba will know I am missing.”

“And Milind too! He does not take breaks far from his office for nothing!” Archana reminded. They chuckled and went their ways.

 

*************

Ilaa walked back to discover Iraa being shouted at by her father. She immediately picked up her pace and stood between them. “What is it baba? Why have you brought her back to the fields? I told you I will do her share of chores.”

“Ilaa, this is harvest time …. I know how you keep talking about studying and self-defense but I cannot afford a pair of hands off the fields. Women must be proficient in managing good household and providing all the help we men need and not waste too much time on books.”

“I will fill in for her….”

Not wanting to waste more time, her father did not protest. Ilaa wanted her younger sister to be shielded from the rigmaroles of a typical village girl. At least that was a start to do something for village women, she believed….

As Ilaa got back to picking the delicate flowers, her thoughts went back to the time when she was sent to her grandmother’s place at Paithan, as her father was in debt. At 14 she detested the idea of leaving her family, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. She was exposed to the magical world of books and learning. Being a quick learner she picked up so much information in a short span of time. Her grandmother taught her so many things and told her stories of the Vedic times when women participated in all activities equally. Women were in true sense Ardhanginis.

Thanks to Eknathji and his teachings, Paithan gave women equal rights.

Her Grandmother also explained how due to invaders and their treatment of native women, men had become more protective of women, unfortunately reducing their status eventually. This had spread like an illness so much so that in some communities women had to use veils!

********

It was nearing sun set. Men were filling their pipes for a smoke before heading home and women were picking dried sticks for the evening meal’s fire.

“We ensure the fire is burning, cook tasty meals, give birth, raise children and even slog in the fields; but have no say in fixing the harvest price. Wow!!” thought Ilaa. She collected some twigs and on her way back could not resist looking at herself one last time in the river.

She reached the banks and bent down to look at herself. As she motioned to take off her scarf; a snake came out of nowhere, making her lose her balance and she fell into the Godavari waters…

Of all the things she learnt, swimming she could never master. And now, as end was inevitable; I could not do so many things in life she thought as she lost consciousness….

 

**********

Ilaa…open your eyes….. She could hear someone from a distance. She coughed up water and saw Milind leaning on her.

Ilaa immediately bolted upright making unsuccessful attempts to cover herself with her drenched cotton saree. “Me, I…” she stammered.

“You are beautiful!” he said not taking his eyes off her once.

Ilaa could feel the color draining from her face. How he found me here? He looked so enticing, small water droplets dripping on his chiseled face, pausing just a little at his dimples……

“I was just looking for some firewood and slipped.” Saying aloud she started to leave; but he caught her by the elbow just in time. Ilaa’s flesh burned and the fact that she was dripping from head to toe did not help in bringing the temperature down.

She turned to face him and muttered. “Milind, I..”

“Ilaa tai..…” Iraa’s concerned voices came from a distance. ”I must leave.” She urged, trying ever so meekly to let go of his grip.

“I will, if you meet me here tomorrow morning before everyone is in the fields, promise me.” He said hopefully.

She nodded shyly and he let her go. A tad disappointed that he had agreed so easily, she ran in her sister’s direction not looking back once, lest she would change her course.

******

Back home she changed and pondered about what all could have happened if Iraa was a little late….Her thoughts were disturbed by her father calling for her.

She got busy with assisting baba in counting the bales, helping Iraa with mathematics and Aai with dinner. As she lay down, sleep evaded her. Ilaa thought how again this year they would not get a fair share for the cotton crop. While men would just leave it to Gods or take the cowardly way out and finish off their lives; women will be left to make ends meet and fend for the family. Archana’s mother was forced to marry her daughter to God due to this! Her aai had lost all her jewelry to the money lenders. Young girls were either married off too early or had to work at the Zamindaar’s place to earn an extra dime.

***********

Early next morning Ilaa was busy with the household chores when she saw her saree in the aangan on the clothesline, leaving all tasks aside, she rushed to the river and saw Milind waiting for her.

Ilaa caught up to him and he motioned her to sit down. No sooner had she settled, Milind said “Ilaa, I heard you and Archana talk yesterday.”

“You..What?” She blurted, so what did we talk about yesterday she quickly started thinking….

“Yes” he continued “I feel the way you do, and think something should be done about this…”

Good Lord! Is he following her and hence could save her?!!Did he hear the part where they talked about him! But that isn’t bad as he feels the same way. I hope I said yes when Archana asked I liked him …He looked at me so endearingly yesterday…surely he should know how I feel…Oh God this is so difficult….Nothing much can be done about what happened yesterday…she sighed and braced herself for the inevitable..

“I too think we are getting cheated in the barter system by the Paithan traders. This time around we need to take some action.”

“Barter…what?” Ilaa exclaimed…this is not what she wanted to talk about! Not now that is…not after yesterday….

“You think women should get a say in important decisions; and prices are unfairly settled for cotton by bribing the village men…right?”

“Yes” she was suddenly interested.

“I know from friends in Paithan that cotton from Sauviragram is top class and we are not getting a fair share from the traders…” he continued.

“I have been telling all my friends and womenfolk the same thing. It is important that they participate in vital decisions. They need to be told that we are the backbone of a family and in Vedic times we were even termed as ardhangini. Equal to a man” she said.

“Why don’t we surprise men this time at the bazaar? You can go about convincing womenfolk to ask for an equal share, while I in the meantime explain to men what their crop deserved and that we have been underpaid.”

“Sounds like a plan!!…Women just need a catalyst, something for which they feel strongly and can be mobilized for…. men commit suicides when the funds don’t last the season, then women are left to fend for the family…I think they must act to come out of this situation”

The conversation did not go as she expected yet surprisingly she found this gave her more thrill. Finally she had someone who thought like her.

************

The next week passed quickly. She helped on the farm, and snuck out to tell women how they need to run the household on shoe-string budget because of unfair prices they got. They needed to step out and speak up instead of slowly losing their heirlooms to the Mahajans and dignity to the rich. She told them they deserved equality as per the ancient traditions and how due to circumstances they had been reduced to second grade citizens.

Initially women laughed it off. But when she told them the advantages of it and gave examples of farmer suicides and girls being made devdasis; some started coming over to her side. Their plan had to be discreet so that the men wouldn’t discourage the idea.

Though they met a few times later in the week the conversation between her and Milind was restricted to the plan.

***********

On the bazaar day, traders waited on a high platform while their henchmen waited in sidelines, with bribes that could come handy.

“Since the demand in cotton is dwindling we are forced to offer less to you all…” the lead trader began…

“But we know that cotton especially that from Sauviragram is in much demand! East India Company is actually importing so many cotton products to England. How can prices then drop?” interjected Milind.

Immediately men started supporting Milind and there was a small commotion. The traders started looking the henchmen to get into action, to divert attention.

Ilaa stood behind a huge tree unseen by anyone. She led the handful of women who were convinced, that this was the right time to act for sake of themselves and their children. No sooner than she saw some henchmen taking out liquor bottles she stormed in front of the dais with her army.

Everyone was startled as women started speaking in favor of correct prices and refused to part with their crop unless the traders relented. The henchmen were too confused to act and the mob was too overcome in the heat of the moment to notice any bribes. After a brief tussle, the traders had to agree with the villagers and the day ended on a happy note.

Though they were shocked to see women coming out and fight, the Sauviragram men were enthralled with the deal they got. Some actually praised Ilaa and the women. Ilaa felt elated sensing this was an indication of better times.

Noting everyone was busy celebrating, Milind pulled her aside behind the tree.

“So what’s next??” Ilaa asked. “Let’s convince them to teach girls and abolish devdasi system and….“

“Shhh..”He pressed his finger to her lips…

“We shall make that happen soon but for now I want to say…I love you” he tightened his grip around her in an embrace. Sweetly surprised Ilaa rested her head on his shoulder…

This was just a battle the war still remains…she will win with her Ardhang by her side, if that is a word … well it shall be some day!!

 

Match made in heaven

I tried to get some rest before the big day tomorrow. For months I am getting battered and bruised with all the practice that Saurabh does each single day. He has not bothered ever if I am a little worn out on the sides, I am the favorite.

There is still time and I am reminiscing the first day Saurabh took me in his hands at a mall. Among all my friends, I was chosen by him. I am not a narcissist but I knew my worth then and I know it now. Among all of us who were batch mates, I just knew I was better and I was made for bigger things. I had the perfect look and a most enviable BMI for sure. I also thought I was just in your face handsome, nobody could have ignored me. Saurabh could not ignore me either and I could not ignore him too. A perfectly athletic body and a charming smile, he was made for me. No sooner he set his eyes upon me and picked me out, he was smitten. I can tell that, I have had that effect on several people by now; but probably they were never too serious to pursue me; or Saurabh and I were destined to be together forever. He admired me from side to side, took me in his arms and convinced his dad that I am the best (not that it required much convincing!). We were home and I was quickly in his room and he held me at different angles and admired “us” in the mirror. Soon dad came in with some linseed oil and he and Saurabh gave me a little touch up. Man! I was special, but this was too much!! When Saurabh and I faced the mirror again, I was gleaming. So far so good, I thought excitedly. They are going to cherish me. But what followed soon after for several days did shatter my pride and also made me aware looks seldom matter in the real world and only “real” people know this….…

The good looks and outer beauty that I so admired in me was put to test for some knocking sessions. Hell why did I forget that??!! I have to be toughened to face the world, I mean good looks aside I need to be strong, but this much? He took me daily with him but just spent time with me for worthlessly hitting the ball to a wall and back. How could he? I mean of course I was getting hurt physically, but that I took in stride on the pretext of getting tough. But how could he let me feel left out, on the sides when he played a real game. That hurt my pride. I am certainly better than the other one with him. He would take me in his arms after a really long day and say “Soon”…

That soon was sooner than expected and we were in a big field together, Saurabh and I. And did we have a (the) ball literally?!! We played like there was no tomorrow, so much so that the day ended with a win for our side and me by his side forever. Many such feats followed and day by day we became inseparable.

I was brought back from my trail of thoughts by the loud shrill of the alarm. She is a noisy one!

Saurabh collected all his stuff and was about to step out when his Dad entered. “All set?” “Yes Dad!!”

“I have a surprise for you” he said teasingly to Saurabh. “Surprise?!” He asked cheerfully.

“Yes, a present, can you guess? What it could be”

“Dad, several times I have told you, I am bad at it, both guessing and waiting for the surprise. Tell me, pray tell me please.”

“Tada!” And he produced a new set of gloves while I heaved a sigh of relief, like you all did as I am sure you like me by now.

“Wow! They are lovely. Thank you Dad. Love you!!” said a doting son.

I think he almost worshipped his dad. I had seen in his room photographs of Dad with trophy in his hands and all team mates literally on his shoulders. I had heard that story many times from Dad; how he single handedly had “shouldered” this win and trophy and how all of the team were so proud of him. He also narrated how he could never get past this match due to family responsibilities and settled for a regular office job.

“In those days, sports were not big son. In fact I used to save money to play and travel by public transport for hours and then we could get that Inter College Trophy. Now it is all up to you. I am so happy that you not only have the same talent like mine but similar bigger dreams.”

Time had come, first time that I would play a Duleep Trophy final. Today Saurabh and I had to prove our mettle, not only ours but of the benevolent father whose dreams we set out to fulfill. Saurabh walked in the middle of the ground to call the toss. “Tails” he yelled as the coin did somersaults in air till it fell down and so did Saurabh’s face; it was heads. We lost the toss. I could see how disappointed Saurabh was. Many believe winning the toss is already good luck, “well begun is half done” they say……….

The other team chose to bat, nothing new with that. These days any team that wins the toss bats first; at least most of the time. Ok so I have to sit back and watch how others do and what I can learn about the pitch, field and even the umpire. It was good wicket and it seemed that runs came fairly easy. Saurabh appeared fairly tense and my heart went out to him. Our team fielded well but nothing was too impressive about the bowling to write home about. The bowlers gave easy runs or so it seemed from the VIP stands, from where I was watching. The one thing about cricket in India is; for the onlooker the game seems fairly easy and players (especially ones in limelight) fairly foolish. Everybody gives opinion on a lost catch, an “easy” six even a random wide ball. As if those on the ground sweating it out care less about the game than thou.

They finished it off at 243 for 4 (Ok I know you are used to the world cup scores of 300 runs, but those don’t happen here, these matches are tougher. With less money, fame and name; what lies at stake is a dream to play for the country and so everybody give their 200%. Amateurs could have concluded that our side did well!)

The dressing room was far from chaotic, an eerie silence prevailed. Coach and Saurabh were in a corner talking animatedly. The team sat in a huddle but no one spoke. They looked up to their skipper for some encouragement, strategy and even admonishment cause they themselves were still recovering from what had happened few minutes ago.

Saurabh came back and spoke in the easy charming voice (he will one day be like Dhoni I tell you, Mr cool!) “Guys! I know we all gave our best and this match is as important to you as it is to me or Dada (Coach Bhattacharya, all fondly called him Dada). Dada thinks we could have bowled better, but I was there and I know this was the best on this pitch. I now rely on Avi and Maku to do some magic and just hold on for first 20 overs. Don’t risk it till then. After that just judge and go for bigger hits. Everyone, I repeat everyone should play as if they have no tomorrow and have to not throw away the wicket. Just be cool and also do not react to any sledging. Am I clear?” No one said anything. So he repeated “Clear guys? Be cool, we are going to win.”

“Yes!!” they yelled and hugged Saurabh. I think the word win had them. The hunger for winning keeps all of us ticking (except for that alarm clock that ticks and ticks for irritating me with a shrill alarm!).

Saurabh was not the opening batsman (you know that by now!), not that it made him any lesser but just letting you know that it would be some time when you can watch us in action. He came one down, at number three. It is the most important spot I heard. From Rahul “Wall” Dravid to Virat “Dashing” Kohli all belong to this spot.

The first five overs were heart breaking for our team. Their bowling and fielding was excellent. We scored only 13 runs. That is bad. But from sixth over both Avinash and Mayank came to life, they tried to maximize the singles and we even got a four per over! Till 9.2 Overs we had scored 41 runs. Saurabh and Dada both looked happy. Mayank was facing the bowler, and I could see his bat swing hard and looked at the boundary to see if some fielder would collect it and stop a definite boundary; but wait; the ball is not there why is the other team dancing? Ok I see it now the leg stump was down. How, when? What a ball!! Poor Mayank, he was playing so well! This means it’s my turn. Saurabh is padded and I am in his hands. God please don’t fail me, us.

We came down to a loud cheering I could see Dada and Dad both had grinning faces to encourage us and I could tell from this distance Dad’s eyes were moist too. Saurabh was composed. The first two balls he ignored them, he is settling, I know. The third one I nudged, I am also settling you see. Last ball we gave a moderate hit to score a single. I know Saurabh wants Avi to face maximum balls as he is playing strong. Is that not what good captaincy is all about? So Avi and Saurabh took some time to build on their partnership. By 25th over Avi was batting at 46 and Saurabh at 16. Why is he not letting me hit it out? He is playing too “cool” for comfort I could have yelled! At 25.1 over, while we were happy to have not lost wickets a big blow came for Avi. He got caught while trying to hit a bouncer and lost on the opportunity of his half century. Ravi came in quickly. I like when Ravi and Saurabh play. Ravi and he have an easy camaraderie and I have seen them finish so many matches! Ravi never needed to settle down. He was on the job from the word go! They played cautiously and knew the score that gaped at them from the billboard was not easy to come by. Over 37.4, we are playing at 165-1 Saurabh is batting at 48. And we smashed the next ball for 4. I did it; I mean we did it, Ok! Ok! Saurabh did it; half century!! He kissed me, hugged Ravi, looked at Dad, thanked Almighty all of it in a flash. He knew this is not enough. We have to win the match, he said it aloud to Ravi and for the umpteenth time I felt he actually meant the words for me. In the over that followed, Ravi could complete his half century too and all was going well. But the 40th over was a nightmare!! Ravi got run out. First time I saw a miscommunication between these two. What makes it worse is that Saurabh faltered here. But this is a game and it must be completed, no I mean won! Scoreboard read thus 182-2, 40.3 overs. We don’t have Ravi………..

We needed more than 6 runs an over. I know they were not getting wickets, but the other team fielded really well and the bowling was crisp. Will we manage it? I tried to look for Dad, but could not see him.

Jayant came in next and looked very nervous. And yes he left soon after coming without scoring anything. The next two guys also did little to keep cool and went home fast, but they at least ensured that runs kept coming. We were now on the 48th over and needed 14 runs. Scoreboard read 230 for 5. Krishna had just arrived. Saurabh was easygoing with everyone, but this Krishna guy, well I think he wanted to be the Captain and he hated Saurabh and Saurabh also did not really like him. Krishna played some risky shots and ignored some singles that could have come by. Saurabh came to him before the last over and said. “I am usually not the aggressive one. But if we lose this, I swear I am going to make it very difficult for you!!” Is this my Saurabh? Or for this moment I am no more an object but have a soul, which has entered his body? Krishna looked too surprised and merely nodded.

12 runs required off this over, said the commentator. I was facing the ball. We just managed a single. Krishna as if to prove that match came before anyone else, hit a very good boundary. Then he had a dot ball. Then he managed a single. Ok. I know you all know math, but the effect sinks in when I tell it, 2 balls 6 runs required. Saurabh had a dot ball too. What now? a ball and six runs?!!? Last ball, everyone yelled six-six. We hit it hard and it was going very far, I could see Dad also in that location. (Why he had moved places?) Anyway, it was going and landing in the safe hands of their best fielder Mahendra “Jhonty Rhodes” very near to the boundary. What? We lost the wicket and match?……………

Suddenly I saw Dad jumping? No Ball!! Ok got it, there is still chance and God.

(Some rules of cricket are strange, a ball that is no!! And that D-L method so hated them up until today. Only some wise man made them!)

We faced the last ball and hit it hard; so hard that I chipped of a good portion of mine that went flying to the middle of the ground and could see that the ball carried right up to Dad. (So that is why he changed places! He knew where Saurabh hits the most) He had the ball, Saurabh had the stumps, Krishna still had his pride, I lost some weight and the match ended.

We had made it. As Saurabh went and collected the trophy he said “ I know each one contributed to this match. Dada who made us dream big. Ravi, Krishna and you too Jayant. Just smile!! Thank you so much. I also want to thank my Dad for making his dream mine and being the constant supporter.” Saying so he moved to the side. Just then as if by reflex, he came back to the mic and said. “ I today won the match but lost a part of my companion and my best “match” to date; my bat. I owe this victory to you too my friend and this trophy would someday have to be returned but you will have a place on my trophy wall forever. Cause ours is a match made in heaven.” The feeling is mutual I said while I gave way to the younger generation who would play with him for India. As I sit here on Saurabh’s trophy wall I wait for my cousins to narrate their big day soon to me, I mean to you, Ok Us.…..