Thursday, November 12, 2009

A grand cricket match from the past...

By: Arnab Deb

The sun is out, a beautiful morning in Shillong. Such beautiful days in Shillong are rare in Shillong during summer as it always keeps on raining here. Moreover the day is Sunday, which meant after breakfast there is going to be a cricket game somewhere in any of the colony in the society we lived. A call comes from outside around 9 am. Outside the window it is one of my best friend Subhadeep aka Panna calling out. I had to go to him in a hidden manner as it was the time to study. My father is busy reading newspaper, mother in the kitchen making breakfast and my elder brother busy studying.. Subhadeep has come up with news we have got a match in one of the colony with our arch rival, and on bet is a ball worth Rs 5. A Rs 5 then, was big amount for us. The match is supposedly to begin at 10 am. I completed my rest of the study for the morning, took a fast breakfast wore a cap and started to move out, while going out a sound came from behind, my mother is saying get back home before 1 pm or there would be trouble for you. Time was the biggest problem then as none of us had any watch. I went to another of my best friend’s place Debojit and called him out, he comes out hurriedly and says 2 mins, need to finish my breakfast.

The rest come to the venue right on time as specified by Subhadeep. Communication was not through phone but our greatest communicator was Subhadeep who was the most enthusiastic among us when it comes to play cricket. The other team reaches there too at time. Gossips and teasing flow after that. Our captain always was Debojit. The toss is made and we won, immediately we decide to bat first. Our opener Sandeep and Joy. Sandeep was nicknamed as Jayasuriya, the greatest hitter among us and joy a very stylish and mature batsman. Our ground was the street, as grounds in Shillong are hard to get and moreover there was problem with the locals. Each team comprises of at most 6-7 players and the rules set that if the ball crosses the boundary of any house nearby in air was declared as out. So we had very limited place to hit shots, only way was to hit it as straight as you can. Opponents are busy making strategies, and there opening bowler was someone new. Back then we were a very hard team to beat, so every other team used to outsource players from some other team. Before the match started we had to wait for a moment as a car was coming through, at last the match started and Sandeep hits a ground shot and scampers for a run.

Both side of the street has a small nallah so getting run was easy normally; problem was the ball gets black form the waste that flows through the nallah. Joy comes to the crease and again hits a ground shot. The best part was the umpire had to be from batting side so getting leg before was never in the question and No-balls and wides were easy to come by. Subhadeep got busy with a sports magazine learning some trick how to ball some in swingers. Others are talking about something or the other. Peoples staying in the colony always created problem as they moved in and out from the colony quite frequently being Sunday. Suddenly Sandeep hits a straight shot and it is four. Claps all round and some pieces of advice also flow in. Sandeep again tries the same shot and gets out by hitting the ball in one of the house there. Disappointed Sandeep comes back and I go in next. Delay was part of our matches as it was hard to retrieve the ball from the nearby house. People staying there did not understand the importance of cricket match, they were more concerned for there gardens.

Match resumes after a gap, I hit a shot and take a run, joy playing fantastic from the other side, we were cruising along and at a score of 35, when I get run out. Next comes in Subhadeep or Debojit as on their mood. At the end we end up with a good score of 55 after 10 over and the match was on as we had some very good bowlers starting with our captain he was pretty fast bowler at his age like Sohaib Akhtar, and the other end Subhadeep our all-rounder like Klusener. Debojit started the first over and first bowl he bowled almost got him a wicket, the opponent was already starting to feel the pressure. That over they could score only two runs, next over was of Subhadeep; he had a long run-up and was a very steady bowler though slower in speed as compared to Debojit. His over did not give any run at all. Debojit bowled the following over and took his first wicket. The opponent were already starting to lose their calm and started shouting over there fellow mates on their mistakes. I came after 5th over to bowl some medium paced bowls and took a wicket or 2. We won the match very comfortably and were very happy, the opponents were very depressed and handed us a new ball as a trophy. Cricket was very important so was the winning, it was a matter of pride. Whenever we walked in the colony in the evening we knew we were the self acclaimed best among the other teams.

They left the street we did not. We stayed back to discuss a bit of match best points. The ball was given to Sandeep as the other 6 has already been taken by each one of us. We decided we will meet again in the evening around 4 pm. I had to run back home as had no idea of the time. When I reached home, I was 15 mins late, mother was busy talking with neighbour so was saved from her scolding, then took a quick bath and was ready for a fantastic Sunday lunch, my mother is a great cook and the food was really yummm!!.

Though, after lunch I was forced by mother to sleep, which I really hated, always acted like I was sleeping while keeping a constant watch over the wall clock. Just when it was quarter to 4 I sprang up from bed wore a dress and went out to hang out with my buddies. Throughout the evening we just talked of the morning match and then went back to our respective home around 6:30 pm. Life is never constant for any 2 days and so I understood the next day as I had school and had to attend some boring lectures. Unluckily it was raining too. So would end up all soggy in the class I knew it. But even those lectures were fun with friends. Life is very tough to live alone, we all need friends to make the life colourful and eventful. So that someday you will end up writing such a article remembering those days. Nostalgic childhood days. None of us went on to become a cricketer, but the memories of those days are something which neither time can return it back nor any amount of money can buy. Innocence was a attribute of each and every child, maybe something which growing up in a small city like Shillong gifts you. Life was in word “fun” and cricket the string which bonded us together.

Though we hardly meet each other because of staying in big cities of India which are very distant from each other. But those memories are something which we still share and inevitably inseparable. When we look at our national cricket team players, I feel the biggest thing that they are missing is the fun of playing the game. They seem to be in high pressure always and more bothered about the endorsement. I feel maybe its because winning a match for us was a passion and for them it’s a profession. In whatever case this is still a game if you don’t enjoy it you cant win it either.

This blog depicting one of those thrilling days of our childhood has been contributed by my childhood friend (langotia yaar) Arnab Deb. He is currently working as a CDM & Carbon Trading Executive with ENERGY INFRATECH PVT. LTD. in New Delhi.


Jitendra March 9, 2010 at 11:27 PM  

too good man! i have same memories with me...yes i am from diff. part of India...but everything you wrote here is same as mine...(i am a friend of debo..not from childhood...but from same clg and first co...)

Subhadeep Bhattacharjee April 24, 2010 at 9:58 AM  

We never changed out captain or our batting lasted for almost 6-8 years!!! well today i realise that was a sign of team belief and mutual respect for each other.....hard to replicate even for me today....have i become impatient?

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