Joined: 21 September 2010
"Chai Chai..Kharab Chai…Chai..Chai!"
Kapil leaned out of the upper berth of the train to match a face to the scratchy voice. "It's reverse phschology publicity." called a voice from beneath him. Kapil bent upside down to face the owner of the voice. "Reverse Phschology publicity?",he crooked aneyebrow. Zohra Gave him a superior look,"It's the easiest way in the world to grab anyone's attention. To make them do what you want them to do. Reverse pschology. If you say opposite of what you actaully want a person to do then he will more often than not end up doing what you actually want them to do." Kapil gave an acrobatic somersault to land on his feet on the floor of the moving train as the tea-hawker's voice became louder heralding his approach."Can you speak like a normal person, Zohi?" Zohra gave a shudder as kapil dropped inelegantly on her blankets and took up half the berth. She gave him a half hearted push before explaining,"It's quite simple even for a nitwit like you. Like how aunty hands you the remote and tells you to watch whatever you like. But as soon as you switch to your action movies she asks 101 questions about 202 things. You get so irritated that you leave the remote and just vanish in your room to study. A vendor is expected to praise his wares. Like you would never notice if he says kadak chai le lo but as soon he calls his own tea bakwaas" "Err…Kharab.""Yes, the same. You lean out of your perch like a monkey to catch a gilmpse of this 'bad' tea and would buy it too I bet."She wrestled her pillow from under his arse.
"You know, you will never catch a husband with your superior talks. It just me who suffers thtrough your monologues."Kapil yawned and signaled the hawker for two teas. Zohra snorted in the most unladylike fashion,"who wants a husband? And anyways, as soon as win that gold medal in Olympics, there will be a queue from Imam saab's house till our cow shed." She pushed her rakish boy cut locks away from her forehead. "I will have a swaymvar."Kapil paid for the tea and gave a laugh,"Medal for what? Dande peetne ke liye. Who will ever know of it? No one watches hockey. That too girls' hockey. Your mother didn't even know there was Punjab U-16 girl's hockey team, till you showed her the admit card for the selection trial."Kapil blew on the cup and took a sip, savoring the sharp flavor,"Hockey is hardly a game, it gets over before you can even warm up your bones."
Zohra titered on her feet as the train slowed suddenly and grabed the nearest thing that happened to be Kapil's hair and gave a tug unrepentently,"Atleast it is played in more countries than cricket is. Cricket is not even a recognised game in most places. Its not included in the Olympics and never would as the players lazy bones take a whole day to warm up."
He shook his head and ran a hand to fix his locks,"Watch out! You will ruin my new hair style. This face is one day going to be on all the holdings in India with all the beauties of film industry hanging by these arms. After all this is the next harriyana hurricane you are talking about." he buffed his fingers on his shirt as he finished his tea. Zohra sat opposite him picking up her cup,"Who you? who gets bowled out for a duck by a hockey player- a Girl hockey player. Huh!"
"That's because I don't want to disrespect a girl. I didn't want to break your heart, jaana!" He gave her a wink. Zohra shuddered,"Ehh! Just stay away from me, you creep!And keep your cuchikooey talks away from me! If my abbu sees this he will toss you out of the train." She sipped her tea and glared at him with her sparkling grey eyes,"and Zohra Ali Beag will never give the likes of you the time of the day."
Kapil sat up,"Likes of me? Hah! You'll see one day I will win the crickt world cup for India. I will be the man of the match ,man of the series. Hell! I will be Man of every match that India plays. I will bring that cup and show you then." Zohra giggled,"Ha ha ha! And the day you bring that cup to me, I will say kabool to you."Kapil's eyes sparkled with mischeif,"Deal!" Zohra looked down her nose at him,"A promise of a Pathan's daughter."
"Enough! You too! Kapil pack your things and get ready to get off the train. We are about to reach Chandigarh." A stern voice from above the upper berth scolded them. Kapil gulped,"yes, coach." "Zohra, beti. You go and check on your Abbu, if he has gotten up or not. Delhi is not far.You need to be ready too."
Zohra nodded and poked a tongue at kapil before demurly making her way to the next coach where her father had his seats. They were travelling from Anandpur to Delhi to appear for U-16 Girls' National team selection. While Coach Balwant singh and Kapil Kakkar were going to Chandigarh for U-19 Cricket tema selections. Zohra's father was assitant coach at Anandpur High school where Zohra and Kapil were students. Both were stars at their small domain for being state champions in their respective games. Being brought up together, going to same schools and coaching centers and playing almost the same tournaments,had made them closest friends, which now with youth was turning into something else.
Zohra smiled again remembering Kapil's proposal last week, when they had both heard that their selection was on same day at different cities,"Aye Zohi, when we both get selected. We will celebrate,Ok?" Zohra shrugged,"Ok!" Kapil tsked,"Not like that. We will..like..you know." Zohra blinked,"What?" Kapil stood staright looking mulish,"Nothing,yaar! We will go for a movie. One of those Shah Rukh movies which you cry your eyes out watching. And always blink away saying your eyes are itchy."
Zohra stopped before the mirror over the basin and ran her fingers through her hair frowning a bit at the new pimple on her chin. She pulled the zipper on her track suits jacket and started again to reach her father's coach which was seven boogies away.
Kapil gave a last look around to check if he had packed everything. If not then Zohi will keep his stuff and return it to him, he decided. But where was she, it had been about half an hour. The train was slowing down as it entered the station. Coach looked a bit tensed,"Maybe she is sitting with her father. We can't wait any longer,Kapil. We need to get down." Kapil narrowed his eyes at Zohra's little duffel bag which contained her belongings, rest of her things where with her father. He looked at the elderly woman sitting at the side berth and told her to keep an eye on the bag. As Kapil picked his bag to get down of the train his eyes turned towards the passage where zohra had went. A deep feeling of foreboding crept in his mind. A when a fast ball catches his bat's edge unawares and rises high up in the sky, and for that fraction of second while the ball travels down and he doesn't know if it will land in the hands of a fielder or over the ropes of the boundary. Coach gave him a shake. Kapil nodded and got down from the train. It was important day of their life, they were walking towards their destiny. A destiny which he beileved with the cockiness of the youth, they will live together, just as they had thought. After all, most of his balls did fall beyond the boundary ropes.
But he ignored the times when the ball did land in the hands of the fielder near the boundary.
"India has won the championship. India has won the final of ICC world cup defeating Sri Lanka. What an unbelieveable performance by this team! True Champions. There were moments when it didn't seem possible, but this team, These boys made sure that those moments don't last and one man especially stood out with his cool head and seamless performance. Sunny?"
"Absolutly, Ravi. And what a victory after the '83! At home ground and India never let anyone doubt their claim to the cup. They have been consistent. Just as consistent as this youngster, who I might add, does remind me a lot about another man I know and respect."
"Let's have a look at the last ball of this historic match. It was a neat ball by Malinga. Right length and right speed. For any other batsman it could have been lethal. But a clean sweep up with the wrist and it went straight to the crowd. Phew look at that. It went high! And vanished amongst totally ecstatic crowd….we are not going to see that ball again. I guess!"
"Right! Now we take you back to the stadium where celebrations are still at its peak even after the presentation is over. But we have managed to catch hold of the man of the match and the man of the series. The man of the moment…HHS."
The man smiled at the camera raising his brows,"HHS?"
The anchor chuckled,"Haven't you heard of that yet? That's what they are calling you. Haryana hurricane Sequel. Maybe it's because of your name or it might have a lot to do with your game. What do you have to say of that, Kapil?" She extended the mike at the tall man with sparkling black eyes. 'Midnight eyes' as the media and fans have started callling them. "Err! It feels good and I am honored, off course! But it's a misplaced name, I suppose, as I come from Punjab and not Haryana. It might be that I was named after kapil ji, so…" He trailed off. "Virat said that carrying Sachin on his shoulder was team's way of honoring him. For a man who had carried India on his shoulders for 21 years , It's time we carried him on our shoulders. How do you feel about it?" Kapil smiled looking at the camera,"I couldn't have said it better. Yes, we wanted to win for him. And its our 1st cup, mine and Virat's so we felt the extra pressure to do well and not disappoint our hero." The anchor smiled,"It was your 1st cup and sachin's last…" "No! don't say that"apil shook his head in denial,"No no No! Please don't ! can you imagine India playing World cup without him! I can't!"
"Absolutely! A last question! There was quite cheering squad at the Indian side for you. A very beautiful cheering squad." Kapil laughed making a dimple appear on his left cheek,"I think you are mistaken. You confused the Virat cheering squad for mine. You should ask him that question." He winked at the anchor playfully and walked back towards his team.
Zohra switched off the TV and sat immobile staring at the blank screen. She walked towards the window and looked out at the city. It looked like diwali in April. A smile broke amongst the tears of joy on her face as she clapped her hands like a child, slowly watching the firecrackers shoot high in the sky. A twinge of pain made her close her eyes as she remembered the last part of the interview. The pain increased as picture of that beautiful cheering squad came to her mind. But she pushed the thought out. Not now, she told herself, never again. It was a happy day. Nothing will take this joy from her. She hoarded the happiness of India's victory in a game like a miser hoards his gold. After all it was the only happiness let in her life. The only dream still alive. His dream, their victory. She was glad atleast one of them was living their dream.
As Zohra passed man blocking her path in the train corridor, she felt a push at her back. She sharply turned and narrowed her eyes,"Watch it!" she saw the group eyeing her with leery smiles. She turned back and hurried towards her abbu's coach. How many boogies were still left? 3-2, she couldn't remember. Her heart was thumping badly and she wanted to reach her father. She half turned praying to Allah that they had stopped following her. But saw them appraoching.
She broke into a run, trying to keep her balance in the moving train. Tripping on feet and pushing past the crowds, she reached her father who was talking to his co-passengers. "Abbu!" she panted. "Zohi?" She pointed at the group who stood close behind her. Before she could say anything else, two hands dragged her back roughly, while her father clamored and stood up. As two more hands joined to tear at her clothes, she saw with panicked eyes as two other guys pushed her father away. She tried to break away, clawing at their faces screeching like banshee. They punched and kicked her father down the corridor. She got away from her assailants and ran to help her father but she was again held back and slapped down. She looked around crying and panting choking back the blood, kicking and raining punches at those animals. She grabbed shoulder of a man sitting on the side berth who looked with pity at her. She pleaded for help with her eyes but he shrugged her hand off like she was a leper. She made to go after her father again as the two goons halfed picked half dragged her towards the bathroom. She saw the other two near the door laughing and punching her father. Passengers of both the boggies watched motionless. No one came forward to stop or help them. With a war cry she turned back to fight them off, to push them off her father. And it happened in a fraction of eye. She had managed to force herself between her fatehr and the goons when the largest of the group grabbed her wrist and pulled her towards him with the other he pushed her father. Her father lost his footing and made a wild grab for the holds. But his fingers met air. Zohra saw it happened so fast that even after 5years, she sometimes wondered if it was a dream. Sometimes she saw it happen in slow motion , in her nightmares. But each time the look on her father's eyes stayed the same. That same frozen, scared pained look. The look of despair and defeat.
The group had vanished leaving her staring at the place where her abbu had been a second before. As soon as the goons had gone people had rushed to help her making noises about the accident, about her father loosing his footing standing infront of pen door of running train. Everything after that had been a blurr to her. Everything till the moment her mother had come for her the next day. It was like waking from one nightmare to another. Only this nightmare dragged on like a life for her.
Sympathy for her had slowly turned to blame, then to anger, then to plain indifference. From being a helpless girl she became the little s**t who hanged out with ruffians, a girl who instead of accpeting the protection of veil, taunted the men with her brazenness. She saw with pain her own mother turning on her, blaming her for killing her abbu.
It had been a stranger to whom a triumphant Kapil had returned. By the time he had came back to Anandpur, zohra and her mother had become pariah in the society.
"You are leaving?" he said with accusation. It had been the last straw for her. "what do you expect, kapil? Aami can't live here anymore. There are memories everywhere,reminder of the past. She can't sleep, can't eat. It's consuming her. We will go to Moradabad. Mamujaan has a shop there. He will take us in." Kapil shook his head,"What about school? The final exam? The inter-state championship? You can go for selections next month to Bhopal." Zohra had looked with disgust at him,"Is that all you can think off? Selections? My life is over and that's all you can say?"
Kapil had looked at her, clenching his fists in anger,"Yes. Because that's all that should matter to you, too. Especially now. If you leave, if you accept that your life is over, then you are letting them all win. Those animals, who did this, those cowards who didn't help you, these people here, your ammi. You are proving them that you are guilty. That, it was all your fault. You are taking the blame for his death."
"No!" Zohra screamed,"I am not. I do not feel guilty for his death. And no one, no matter how much they balme me, can make me believe that it was my fault . I am not giving up on a fight, Kapil. I don't see the point of fighting when I am just fighting the fact that I was born a girl. What is the point of fighting for a girl's honor in a country where instead of mothers' teaching their sons not to rape, they teach their daughter's how not to get rapped?"
She closed her eyes shaking her head,"No matter how many Zohras there are in the world. No matter if they are beautiful, ugly, scarred! They should all be veiled. Pardah should be a person's choice not a prison, nor one's religion. Abbu used to say that. And till he was here aami used to agree. Now she thinks if I would have been in pardah, those men would not have dared to touch me. " Kapil looked bewildered,"But that's absurd. I will talk to her. Maa will talk to her."
"Tell her what? It won't matter anymore."
"But….Hockey..your dream..your game?"
"That's the funny thing about dreaming,you have to wake up. At some point we all have to grow up, right. Anyway, it was just a game."
Kapil looked with a tolerant smile as his team mates made fun of each other. It was near dawn, yet the party was not dying down. Champagne bottles had been emptied, the costly liqour had gone, yet the boys now turned to good old beer and occasional coke. He looked at the cup and his heart lurched. Turning away from the crowd, he started towards the balcony of the hotel where Indian team was partying.
He pulled the glass door close to shut out the noise. Yet, the silence was elusive tonight. The country was celebrating with them. He watched the fireworks and a bitter smile tugged his lips. He closed his eyes to bring a face into focus, Impish boy cut hair, dimples peeking out from behind a grin, eyes like stormclouds bursting with mirth as she clean bowled him. Huh! HHS defeated by an imp of a girl. If only any tabloid got hold of this bit!
"Arey! Kapil, you are not celebrating? Your…err.. special friend was looking for you."
"Sir ji! Aap? I thought you went home. I..I…"Kapil stammered to a stop as his tongue felt heavy as always, infront of this man. He had known him for a few years now, played with him in 20 matches. Yet, every time he stood infrntof him he felt like a boy wet behind his ears. Sachin had always treated him with kindness. Even when kapil had been the drink's boy, the team's lackey, Sachin had always had an encouraging smile and word of thanks. For his fans Sachin might be a God, but for Kapil he was more a Teacher, mentor, something that went beyond a relation between devotee and God.
It was due to this releation, that kapil felt the censure in Sachin's hesitation more keenly."She is..she is not my friend sirji."
"Ohh, I didn't mean to pry into your matter, Kapil..I just thought…ahh, well. We live so many lives infront of the people that sometimes it hard to tell what is real and what is a masqurade. It's easy to let victory rule your head. But the people who think you are a hero today have very short memories.And.." Sachin looked at kapil and smiled,"I didn't mean to lecture you.""No, sirji. Haqq hai aapka. Please, boliye na! Accha lagta hai."
Sachin laughed," To tell you the truth. I am glad that she is not your friend. A woman changes a man's life- for good or bad. These women are like bowlers of life, you have to guard your wicket well, or a wrong ball can take you down. But then it's always a pleasure to face the delivery of skilled bowler. Loose your heart and your wicket to the best of the lot."
Kapil looked at the sky as a burst of red fircrackers lit it,"I did get cleaned bowled by such a bowler long back."
Sachin raise his brows,"Really? I always enjoy a replays of good old matches. Lots of people are crowing infront of my house, I have been told to stay out tonight by my security head as contingency. Why don't you tell meabout this interesting match?"
Anjali looked at the jwellery box with awe, "It beautiful! Tell me again why, its not for me?"
Sachin laughed closing the lid of the small square velvet box,"Because its too small for you. And anyways it was your idea when I told you about Kapil."
Anjali sighed,"But I never thought, it will turn out to be so beautiful. Those jewellers have outdone themselves. It looks exactly like…well…like it should."
Sachin nodded,"yeah, chalo lets give it to him. Maybe it will bring some luck and love in his life."
Anjali slipped her hand into his,"tell me again why we are doing this for him?"
Sachin kissed the top of her head and strated towards the door to join the guest at the small diner party they were holding,"because, I see a part of me in him. A part that still gives me a lot of strength, pulls me back to the top everytime I feellike I am pluging to the depths of a pit. I want to do something for that part of me, thank it for making me what I am. For giving me you, our kids, everything. I want kapil to have the same."
Five hours later Kapil sat in the private jet looking with nervous awe at the little lue box sitting before him on the table. The content in the box screamed at him, made him want to ask the pilot to turn back. But he remembered his promise to Sirji about at least trying once. His public releations manager must be going crazy. Kapil had cancelled three ad shoots, two press conferences and six interviews to make this impromtu visit.
He took a deep breath and figured the box reverntly to get some strength. In few hours he will be seeing her again.
He had met her two years back, after his selection in Indian team. Her mother had been hostile to him. Kaki connected him to her past from which she was running away. She was afraid that his meeting Zohra will ruin her chances for making a future. He had been surprised to see Zohra. It was like looking at a stranger, lifeless, mirthless. Her eyes hid her feelings, her features though beautiful were hidden more deeply than the burkha she had donned could hide.
He heart sank as he remembered, how kaki had told him that a boy was coming over to see Zohra. What if she was married by now? Kapil's hand tightened around the box. Even then he will give this to her. As a farewell gift.
He sighed with irritation as he spied many people watching him, recognising him. some kids were even pointing at him with wonder. No doubt by the time he had talked to Zohra, his visit to Moradabad would become national news. He was still not used to being viewed as public property. As a child it all had seemed such a lark. But the reality was hardly that much fun. He pointedly ignored the few cameras phones clicking away at him and knocked on the door.
Zohra opened the door, wondering what the noise outside was about. It was ten in the morning and she was yet to open the small grocery shop that mamu had left her on his death. And she was not looking forward to entertaining guests now. But as she saw the person standing outside, her heart missed a beat. With wonder she saw the crowd hanging by the fence behind him, her eyes meeting his even behind his shades. "Help me, please!" he murmurred.
She opened the door wider letting him in and then closing it firmly. Turning away she quickly pulled the curtains.She stopped a feet away from him. Not meeting his eyes, yet feeling them on her, drinking her in. She joined her hands and then nervously touched her hair and fixed her dupatta. Realizing how silly she was behaving she pulled her hands back and gave him a smile,"How…How are you? Please have a seat."
Kapil nodded and sank on the sofa like strung robot. The quickly jumped up, gesturing,"you won't sit?" "Yes..Yes off course."Zohra sat at the edge of a chair opposite him. They sat in silence like actors in a play who had both forgotten their lines and were waiting for someone to cue them. Floundering for something to say, Zohra burst in with inspiration,"Congratulation..for the match. I saw it…saw the whole series actually."
"Yes…we won!" he realized how silly he sounded and cursed himself. "I meant, thanks. It has been a good season for Indian team. So how is everyone." Zohra inclined her head gracegully,"sab khariyat hai."
They sat looking at each other with an awkward silence strechting between them. Each bubling inside with many questions yet scared to voice them. Kapil finally cleared his throat and gathering his courage to ask the one question that was killing him. "So? It has been what two years since we last met? Last time I was here, kaki told me that you were about to..get married. So?"
Zohra's face hardened,"no. It didn't work out. And then mamu fell ill. He was sick for long time."
Kapil was elated,"Really?" he tempered his excitement and looked solemn,"I am sorry to hear that. How is he now?" "Dead." Kapil blinked,"Oh!" What should he say now,'I am sorry to hear about that, too'?
He realized, how distant they have become. Again the feeling of looking at a stranger came to him. Something inside him rebeled at it. He was here to get back the Zohra he knew. Even if she declined, he still would give her something to remember this moment fondly.
"You are thinking what I am doing here?" he stood up and walked towards her. She looked up following his movement with her eyes. He saw a shadow of the old Zohra in that moment. It emboldened him. He kneeled before her almost at eyes level to her. She started to get up,confused. Yet he held her hand pressing her to sit. His eyes begging hers to meet them.
"Many years ago, A pathan's daughter made me a promise. She said that the day I bring her the cricket world cup, she will become mine."
Zohra's eyes swimmed with unshed tears,"Kapil…I." Kapil placed a finger to his lips," a great man told me that a good batsman surrenders his wicket only to the deserving bowler. And you could always bowl me out. I want to appologise, Zohi. For not being there to protect you. For taking so long to be here. For all that you had to suffer alone. Please have me." He placed the box in her lap.
A tear fell on it."It was not your fault. But I can't accept this, Kapil. I am not that girl anymore. You deserve so much more. I feel bruised inside, broken…unclean. You need someone who is whole and free to love you without the veil of her past."
"But I am a part of that past, Zohi. Can you honestly tell me that whenever you think of that time, that day only the bad things come to your mind? Has never in all these years, even once, you remembered our tussle that day before I left? Because I never forgot that moment for once. I have lived that day so many times in so many ways, thinking what would have happened if I had gone to call chacha instead of you?What if I had been there with you? what if I had seen you in that coach on the station and came to get you? What if? What if?"
"But it didn't happen that way. No matter how much I think I can't bring that girl back. I tried, Kapil."
Kapil nodded,"But you can be that girl again. By accepting this." Zohra said forcefully,"It's too late." Kapil picked the box and shook his head,"Its not. This box contains the key, Zohi. It contains a part of that old Zohra. It contains that dream we both saw. That last dream we dreamt together.It contains a promise fulfilled, awaiting another promise to be fulfilled. "
He opened the lid. She gasped as she saw what was inside. her eyes widened in awe. Her fingers reached out to touch it as if in dream. like a parched man touches the water in oasis, half afraid that it's real and half scared that it's a mirage.
On a bed of navy blue velvet lied a 7 cm long miniature cricket world cup made of gold.the three stands holding the round ball on the head. It sparkled as light caught its edges. Of her own accord her fingers lifeted it out of its bed and drank it with her eyes. She turned it around, as the little engraving caught her eyes. Winner's Keepers- He read it for her.
"I asked premission to BCCI to bring the real one. But they wouldn't allow it, so Sachin Tendulkar thought , you deserved atleast a momento. After all you had done what many international fast bowlers couldn't do, take HHS down on first ball."
Zohra held it to her heart, as tears fell freely. Kapil wiped a tear at a time,"I fulfilled my promise, I brought you the cup. Now its your turn. Zohi, Will you marry me?"
Zohra nodded as she threw her arms around his neck and cried. Like a rain the tears fell, sobs wrenching her small body. Kapil held her tight, not needing the words. He knew that this rain will cleanse the pain and memories. It will wash away the dusty, most eaten old miseries and regrets and make place for the new memories that they will make together.
It might not be the dream they saw, but their night mare had ended and they had each other to face the reality now.
Sachin folded the paper after reading the article, a smile tugging his lips. He stood up as the man in grey pinstripe suit walked towards him with a grim expression in on his face.
He felt each of his 39 years and all the aches of his gaming career roared in his bones and mucles. Everytime his body told him enough, his heart said,' just one more time.' But then team was in its best form,such young guns, he looked back at the paper.Ninty-nine didn't look a bad figure, maybe after he had….his thoughts trailed as the doctor extended the file to him. "Sir, I am afraid you will have to sit this one out. We need to see to some traction for your back." Sachin nodded,"Ok. So when can I start my practice again? Next test series, maybe?"
As doctor lead him to his cabin, the little voice in head shrugged again,'Nah! He liked triple digits anyways and then he still needed to work on that cut he had discovered while net practicing that day. Maybe if he curved his wrist a bit then the ball would head a bit higher. He will try that tommorow. After all he was not even 40 yet, he had a long way to go. The voice chuckled,'How about the record to be the oldest to retire?'
For sometime now i have wanted to start a series of short stories. But have been so busy with my new job that it kept getting delayed. Love boat will be collection of stories about different shades of love. not just lovestories, but stories about love. Be it the love between two buddies, love for ones favorite song, love for travel, work or even a search of meaning of love.
I start it with a simple story which is an ode to the game of cricket and a living legend. of course the characters are fictitious, but i wanted to add this flavor to my story hence the very contrived characterization.
The victory of Indian Team at the world cup was dream of the billions. I had weaved this tale for a very dear friend for whom Indian teams victory or defeat is as serious as Nuclear treaty is for some countries.
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vahgar, sona89, .scarlet., prettywoman, Pooja_219, Warda., ushankitvc,
Joined: 01 March 2005
Firstly.. thank god you are writing again.. I am absolutely humbled, touched that this story is for me..aisa tohfa kabhi na mila…and it is something very very close to my heart and life..and I don't know how you chose the name of the protagonist to be Kapil?! Was it a case where you supersponge of a brain remembered me telling you about Kapil being the 1st ever cricketer to hold my attention and how I actually met him?!! Well, I ain't complaining as two of my most fav players are in it!!
Now coming to the story.. I loved the title.. Love in a Cup.. so true.. we all love the cup, don't ever want it to leave us, but had to wait decades for it to come back to us and that joy is so much more for the man himself! So all in all a very apt and beautiful title..
Reverse psychology.. so true.. I am guilty of employing the same too at times in life ;-P and it works!!!! though I do admit it will work if used sparingly, otherwise the charm is lost.. a very vivid description of the early morning scene in a train.. and the example of what his mum does to get the remote is so truee…but doesn't work for me Grrr.. cos when he watches what he wants and I interrupt with 101 questions, I am shushed L well, will keep trying ;-P
Its truly a great friendship they share.. when the 2 sports involved are cricket and hockey, unintentionally I remembered Chak De.. esp the spitfire Zohi would remind me of the lil terror of a girl from Punjab too who was in the movie..but I think that is where the similarity ends.. cos the male protagonist here has a heart.. he plays cricket which is a more popular sport in India, but knows how much Zohi likes hockey.. but his loud mouth just runs loose talking to her I suppose! But they do have an easy banter going.. when she walked off to find her dad and he felt apprehensive of her not returning, I was feeling nervous too..but then just like how he doesn't dwell of the times whings don't go according to plan i.e., ball being caught by fielder he decides to walk away…great simile for the situation..
I felt the commentary box discussion just absolutely spot on.. you should be doing commentary girl ;-) the lines spoken between SMG and RS were very authentic.. BTW, who does Kapil remind SMG of? The original Kapil or SRT?!! Its nice how you have wove in Virat too in the story, it doesn't feel like a story at all.. esp the respect they have for SRT and the agonised 'Nooo' when the commentator would be so much like my 'Nooo' hahahaha…and you are so right.. even when I went to watch the practise match here of Inda Vs Northampton Virat had huge numbers of ladies irrespective of age cheering him on! And yes, that night in April was Diwali for India as well as Indians around the globe.. a match never to be forgotten and a night spent bursting crackers and making merry.. his dream, THEIR victory…so true
The past incident.. I thought I would be shaken.. but I was not..and the reason is after watching a few crime shows and shows like Satyameva Jayate, I now know for a fact that India is not the land I thought it to be.. women will never be safe..remember the new year's night celebration in Mumbai, the financial capital of the country where a young girl was molested and the blame was on her for having dared to come out in the streets to usher in the new year.. I could understand that in a conservative country.. but India?! That incident shook me and same goes for the girl in North east who suffered at the hands of hooligans with everyone watching it like some sort of a show..i honestly don't know what it would take to stand up and be counted in such situations rather than become statues..its truly pathetic.. that an innocent girl's whole life is turned upside down in a fraction of a second for no fault of hers.. oh well, there is a fault.. she is a girl na..
Its sad even her mum turned against her.. maybe in acute grief over the unexpected bereavement, she also lost her mind..and Zohi did what any girl would have done.. not out of cowardice, but cos that was the best way possible to get some peace in her life.. Kapil is right in wanting her to stay back, finish exams and not run away, but in reality such things may not always be possible.. I agree about the pardah being left to one's pwn choice.. but sadly, I don't think even a pardah would have saved Zohi.. as you said, all that mattered to those despicable lechers was that she was a woman.. not even age matters to such people…I don't know if its still true, but when my uncle was posted in Kolkata when he was in the army, he used to say that this was one city where women are safe..and as soon as a woman raises her voice, the crowd will be with her not even listening to the man's version.. I personally have walked in very very crowded places in Kolkata and never ever felt threatened, whereas sadly in Kochi, that is not the case and women/young girls/older women are targeted by male youth.. it can be eve teasing or much more sinister.. to the extent that even when I say to my mum that I want to go for a night show, she wont let me go.. I am nearly 40 with 2 kids and my mum still worries if I were to go to the cinema hall because she knows there will be poking and prodding from men sat behind me.. and this is the reality these days.. but she also knows I wont keep quiet if something like this happened..but I know a case where the woman shouted and made a fuss and when the show got over, there was a gang of men who molested her afterwards and no one came to help…so mum says exactly what you have said Shilpi.. why give an opportunity, we just wont go.. its sad, I mean very sad.. sorry for my rant!
Now coming to SRT's interaction and Kapil's thoughts on him, I had tears in my eyes.. every Sachin basher should read this.. but for some people what he has done for last 20 years can be dismissed off without a thought..awww, lose you heart and wicket to the best of the lot.. well, Sachin surely has as I find Anjali one of the most elegant, unobtrusive star wives around.. and apna Kapil ne toh sahi ladki ke saamne dil rakha hai ;-) and as you have always said to me, SRT never looks at other perks around him, his mind and life is uncomplicated and his only love is for the game.. nothing else matters much.. for others cricket maybe a means of achieving comforts in life and filling up coffers, though for this man I don't think material things hold much importance..
Kapil's thougts have been etched out beautifully… the eagerness, the doubting Tom's in his head..the anticipation.. his last memories of seeing her…somehow he gives me hope that we will have such uncomplicated lads in our team.. if the few stories I have heard from reliable sources, 2 of the most talented cricketing young guys have fallen down in my thoughts.. I would still enjoy their batting and their wins, but I doubt it would come anywhere close to the liking for SRT or even a Dravid or VVS..those guys had character which I find sorely missing in the new boys.. maybe times have changed, but when you hear what some young guys got upto after the WC win, it sort of tainted their image for me for life…
It was as hesitant as I thought it would be.. a scratchy start to the conversation..both trying to find their feet and emotions..i did wonder why his guilt never was explored.. but now we can see how guilty he felt for not having followed her or even having allowed her to go.. it was fate what happened to her, not his fault.. but our minds are such that we would wish with ferocity that we could turn back the clock.. usually incidents teach us things and enrich our life, but not such an incident I suppose..and it was a fitting gift from SRT.. remembering just the good moments from that fateful day and hoping to build a bright future from those good moments.. it was probably as shocking to her as she would have not expected him to remember.. Im sure a small corner of her heart would have wanted to, but the ever practical head might have advised her otherwise.. and it was such a sweet proposal where he has kept his side of the bargain.. now how can she say No?!! ;-P
I would give anything to read his mind, to know what goes on in his mind.. I don't think numbers matter much, but the challenge of achieving and setting goals excite him and keep him going..i think he will not give up just yet.. I like the idea of his thoughts on being the oldest to retire ;-P I am gutted after reading about how he was bowled during the NZ series.. but more than that what worried me was his actions after his dismissal in the last test.. he raised his bat in frustration as if to hit the stumps..and then he gathered himself and walked off.. I have always seen him showing dissent to a decision or showing any anger on the pitch.. and somehow that one image of his is really really worrying me and making me wonder what is going on in his head.. but as you know already, this man just being in the team makes it MY team, makes me breathe easier if SRT is still batting, makes me want to watch matches, makes me feel 16 again with many of his strokes, but esp that straight drive makes me want to jump up and down and gush like a teenager ;-) well, I hope n pray that god gives him one last hurrah and allows him to bring curtains down on a glorious career the way he himself wants.. let there be no unfulfilled dreams or desires I pray…
Thank you once again for such a heart warming story and looking forward to the next!!
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