I am a cricketer- mind you, not National or International but GLOBAL. Yes, a Global Cricketer.
Since the age of 7, I have been playing everywhere –inside the house, inside the classroom, school corridors, outside the school, on the roads, on the hill top.
I am very talented- I play a bat-less shot when I’m talking and do ball-less balling when I’m walking. Infact I cannot walk straight – my hands keep moving in that ‘inswing’ or ‘outswing’ action all the time. My locality people till date, firmly believe that I suffer from some motor movements’ or psychological problem. I am Obsessed, not Possessed.
Today, visiting Shimla after 20 long years for my school reunion meet.
College, Career, Money and Life – took me everywhere across the world and I have achieved all except Life: life was only in Shimla- once a month butter chicken and Malai Kofta dinner in New Plaza, butter sambhar vada in Indian coffee House, softy on the mall, Mehru halwai’s ghee puri aloo, paranthas outside St. Bede College, inter school sports meet (way St. Edward’s and Bishop Cotton schools boys used to compete), and MY CRICKET…
It all started in Shimla- journey from a plastic ball to tennis ball to balls made of socks to Cricket ball!
I was lucky enough, to have a big play ground in my school, St. Edward’s, a premier all boys convent in Shimla. Hitting sixes, crossing boundaries, friends, teachers and father of the school cheering – school provided me with the ground that I needed to play and play. All boys school – so no other distraction – all time, energy and pocket money for cricket!
At the age of 12, I got selected to represent my district for under 16 state level cricket tournaments. My day and night dream was now a day and night tournament reality. That innocence, bubbling with future of endless cricket, first class train journey, 5 star hotel stay, unlimited coca- cola, over-packed stadiums, cheers, never saw a dad’s overstretched pocket for new shoes and kit.
With that spoon of curd sugar mixture, I had left home to become a Cricket Legend from Shimla.
And I did become a legend not once but twice:
• Legendary Rider: Journey on top of the Himachal roadways bus to the venue: Sainik School Ground, Sujanpur Tira town, Hamirpur district, Himachal Pradesh, stay in dharamshala with no toilets, daily of Rs. 10/day, bathing in the river, Beas. Soon personal items, sleeping bag and shoes had become public.
Google, You Tube can never match the shoe hits, the convent boy got on his first night. With the bucket in my hand and towel on my shoulders, I was everywhere in the field. Leave about playing a single shot, could not even leave my finger prints on the match ball.
But I did learn: how to hold the donkey from its ears and jump on its back. On the last day of tournament, I was on the top- had learnt finally, how to climb and ride a donkey.
My First Tournament Highlight: I was always at the top in my first tournament: Himachal Roadways bus on the first day and on top of the donkey on the last day!
My Prize: lifelong friends and I am a pro donkey rider
My learnings: economic/social/political factors all fail when heart wants to follow its passion and importance of that one room – WASHROOM
• Legendary Husband: I have been written off as a NPA (non-performing asset) by my wife. Thank God, she is still using the word ‘asset’ and not ‘liability for me. Everyday, she threatens me to use all my cricket bats for ‘Lohri’ or ‘Holi Dahan’. There is no place for my cricket kit in the house- my life, my passion lives in the car boot.
She has used all possible measures in the world to make me quit cricket – ‘have you ever seen a sportsman of your size’; ‘your run count is directly proportional to the number of bats you have’; ‘you should have got married to your bats and cricket friends’, ‘your IT career is in ruins’!
I have dared to defy my wife (though paying for the consequences). I am still playing cricket for the leagues and at corporate level. I have two loves: cricket and wife- cannot leave both but if forced then…
My Innings Highlight: still married and happily playing cricket over the weekends, though have to take permission
My Prize: cricket ball of the match, in which I had made my first century, has finally found place in our home temple and all cricket trophies in the bed box (were almost sold to the junk dealer)
My learnings: 2 W’s (weight and wife) need to be balanced tactfully for life long cricket career and never leave your company if it has cricket ground
“I am still NOT OUT”
(Dedicated to all the cricket players and lovers- does not matter where we play, as long as we play!)