Sunday, February 28, 2016

A small dream...

Suddenly, one fine day I decided that I would become a cricketer! Where did that idea come from? I wasn’t extraordinarily passionate about the game—I would play with friends in the evenings for an hour, a little more during weekends. I was approaching 25. You can say it’s an age where the best cricketers are peaking. Certainly not an age where you start dreaming of a career in the game and kick-start your vehicle. To play at the international level, you gotta start young, in your teenage years, and gradually play at various levels and climb up. There’s a luck factor, a natural talent factor. I believed that I had the second one. Maybe there are exceptions where someone is a late-bloomer. I wanted to be that late-bloomer. Wanted to be that hero who walks into a losing game and turns it around 180 degrees.

And I wanted to play at the international level! Audacious dream. The one thing I had in plenty was Time. Studies were done with. I had stubbornly refused to get into the career ladder. Days and weeks and months lay stretched before me. Also, there was a parallel dream of becoming a short-story writer and making money out of my creative pursuits. A cricketer who’s also a wonderful writer! Imagine Sachin Tendulkar and Khushwant Singh rolled into one. Sexy combination. Maybe it was the testosterone that was driving all these dreams, because there were plenty of lithe girls in my day dreams, showering admiration, and me ignoring them and walking like a saintly hero. And yeah, the spiritual pursuits had also begun, so add in a dash of Osho over there. Sachin-Osho-Khushwanth. Unbeatable combination.

I borrowed a wad of cash from Mom and got a cricket kit. Dressed up in the gear. Mom and Dad had a hearty laughter that day, looking me all decked up and raring to go, but they didn’t object. (Wonder how I’ll react if my kid declares this Sachin-osho-khushwanth ambition at age 25). Maybe they had given up hopes. So off I went and joined a cricket club in a nearby play-ground. Practiced diligently for 2 hours every morning for the next 6 months. To hasten up my progress, I even joined another club for my evening practice and sweated it out for a month.

The enthusiasm lasted roughly for a year. Of course, there was progress. Lots of scars. Self-doubts. And before I dropped the ‘sachin’ part from the Sachin-osho-khushwanth ambition, I got to briefly live my heroics for a day. A club match against a stronger team, and we had almost lost the match. I was sent in as the tenth man. There was nothing to lose and I just went ballistic, hitting continuous sixers and boundaries for a brief 10 minutes before we lost the match. I was applauded, and a small news item appeared in a corner of the next day newspaper announcing my name against my fighting-in-the-death score. Mom saved that paper-cutting for quite a while, promptly announcing to visiting relatives that her son’s name had appeared in the papers.

I wonder how passionate I was about that dream in the brief time during which it visited me. Would I have succeeded if I had pursued it? If not at the international level, I might have played at the club levels, the Indian Premier league or State levels. I might have made good cash and retired by now, probably employed in a bank or railways under the sports quota, hardly working, just representing them in charity matches. A nice little time-line, with various possible outcomes.

Or maybe, the dream came with an expiry date of one year. And blazed intensely before returning back to the skies.

No comments:

Post a Comment