Posted by: dlip | May 9, 2008

Memory Lane

Memory lane. What is it? A place where things happen hazily, lazily.

Let me take you to a bright crisp and rather cold morning. It’s an important tournament match for my cricket team (Subroto Park) against the Kirby Place Killers. For the world at large, Subroto Park was the sub-division/ compound/ colony where we lived as children when my father was in the Indian Air Force. And Kirby Place was another such community -in what is known in India as the Delhi Cantonment. The term cantonment was inherited from the British when they were in India and had special areas demarcated as military quarters and military posts. The term has remained. And this is what almost all military areas in India are still called.

 

Now, back to my memory. I can still relive that initial feeling of fear when our unfortunate eleven realized that the other eleven were much older and bigger than we were… and raring to go. I was the opening bowler for our team: cannon fodder. The presence of my father, a distant figure on the road far back, and the added distraction of a couple of young girls in the makeshift stands, only added to my anxiety.

 

However, the time had come. There was no backing down now. I reached the top of my bowling run, trying, with a conscious effort to appear as casual and nonchalant as ever, although my insides were churning with volcanic emotions one after another.

Racing down from the top of my run and pitching the ball with all my might and a tad more down the 22 yards to hit the good length spot while gunning adroitly for the leg wicket to send it happily cartwheeling towards the ecstatic wicket keeper “howzzat”!

 

The war cry of the Mohicans rent the air sending a rush of adrenalin through my body and a triumphant glow all around as I gaze at my distant parent for approval which he acknowledges with a slight nod of his head and if there is a paradise it is here, it is here.

Where are those beautiful days?

 

Discarded and thrown into the trash can of time! But every now and then, I am able to pick choice tit bits from the can and greedily chew or eat my fill like the pariah I feel myself to be now (once again – no self pity, just a statement of fact).

There is a child in the immediate neighborhood whose caterwauling breaks through my thoughts and brings me back to the monotony of today, where a barbed wire fence, a stretch of jagged steel is placed inconveniently, across the half way mark of a 22 yard cricket pitch.

 

An old nasty side of my nature raises its head. And for the moment, I could happily walk across the intervening wall and shout blue murder at this bloody child next door. Its screaming has shattered my reverie, brought me into the present. A present in which I know I cannot even get up, let alone walk across. And so I sit and allow the corrosive anger to wear itself out.

 

There are several places where I sit in my garden, to pen a few of my random thoughts. They afford a variety of spots, some in the sunshine some in the shade. A thought crosses my mind:  “life” is, in many ways, like my garden. It comprises of a series of spots of sunshine and shade.

 

The child next door and I are presently in the shade, which might probably explain why the child is crying. Pity I cannot do the same. But, I’m told, ‘big boys don’t cry’.

 

So… bite the bullet and keep sitting at home in the wheel chair.

 

 

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