I walked into my college again after a decade. As a visitor now. The entrance to the college itself has been changed. Now, the students have to enter through the sides. A banner reading `College Sports Day' warmed my heart after a long time.
As I walked in, I was looked as a stranger. The competitions had just been concluded and prize distributing ceremony was to begin a hour later. Boys and girls were talking to each other, freely. It was a common sight. During my college days, it was a rare sight. Most of the time, we used to speak only through the eyes and our smiles. Friendship flowered only in silence.
I just walked through the college. Went to my department and I remembered my first day in college. And the last day in the department. I could recognise some of the faculty but I did not want to talk to them or write about them now. None of them had inspired me in college.
Then I went around the swimming pool, our favourite jaunt, and went around the small campus and came back to the red-soiled smallish ground with two goal posts, with the principal's office and zoology department as the boundaries.
It was here my greatest moment in cricket happened a decade-and-half ago. Chemistry, captained by me and English, were to clash in the finals. In English, ten players, other than me, were in the college team. Four of them in the university! It was truly a match between Aussies and Irish (i like irish and scots, by the way).
We had a rookie paceman in a rameshwaram boy. With a fierce spell, he cleaned up the top order. I was fresh with the memories of the previous year, when a fine willow had despatched my offies to all the corners of the ground with disdain. This year, I was leading the team. I sized up the middle-order and we had a match on our hands.
When we batted, I dropped anchor as others cross-batted to the required run rate of six per over. My opening partner in college, keeping wickets, kept telling that I can be the hero of the day. The college, especially the girls, was there on the ground as cricket was popular even then. I was not fortunate to hit the winning runs.
I was bowled by my best friend with three runs to score in the last over.
The captain of the college, and the university, bowled the last over. Five dot balls. It was almost over. Then he made the mistake. He brought in the third man and bowled a bouncer. The dusky, lefty hooked it and the top edge flew to the third man boundary.
We had won. Not my team. That win gave Chemistry Department, the Championship for the first time in forty years of the college history. I had played my part by winning in tennis, badminton, table-tennis, hockey, soccer, high-jump, four into hundred relay. That rookie boy from rameshwaram and a muslim boy from arasaradi both bagged championships in athletics by winning golds in three events.
As a sportsman, that was the most memorable day in my life. On behalf of Chemistry, I received the trophy.
The first thing you will notice about me now is my paunchy beauty!
Not just women, also the men here most often fail to keep 'em fit.
A national shame.