I am an early bird. On Saturdays alone, that is. No, I don’t eat worms for breakfast on saturdays; I am up and about early so that I can make it to the ground in time to play the gentlemen’s game aka Cricket. This has been my routine for past several months.
Last weekend, as many as twenty folks came to play. And Sardarji Amar was one among them. This time he brought along his brother-in-law who had come here on vacation from Chandigarh. We split ourselves into two teams and Amar’s BIL(let’s call him Akbar.. i know punjabis don’t have that name, but it rhymes with Amar ) was in my team.
Amar has been living in Chennai for more than three decades now and has learnt to converse in tamil well. As for his BIL, one would say he has moderate understanding of tamil language, if “dai”, “aaaii”, and “ooh” are considered as tamil words. Since his medium of instruction in school was not English, he was not very comfortable holding conversation in English either. So the only language with which we could talk to him was Hindi. And the only person in my team who knew more Hindi words than ”Ek Gaome Ek Kissan Raghu Thatha” was none other than yours truly.
Our captain lost the toss and we had to bowl first. All of us took positions and the game started. At the last moment before bowling the first ball, the bowler thought it would be better if Akbar comes closer. He looked around for help from me and didn’t spot me. He decided to take matters in his own hands. “Ither Aaho,” he said pointing his finger to where he wanted him to stand. Akbar obliged. The next ball was hit where Akbar was previously positioned. The bowler then changed his mind and wanted him back to where he was. Having successfully spoken in hindi once, he endeavoured to repeat that performance. Literally. “Ither Aaho,” he said again, finger now pointing to where Akbar was positioned earlier. Sniggering all the way, much to the chagrin of the bowler, he returned to his previous postion. It was with bruised ego that the bowler resumed the game.
The next time the ball entered into Akbar’s territory, three guys screamed at the top of their voice in unison. “Bowler ko maro, bowler ko maro“. Throw the ball to the bowler, is what they were trying to convey. Akbar cast a quizzical look, shook his head, muttered something under his breath and went back to his position.
We managed to bowl our quota of overs without further mishaps. It was now our turn to bat.
Have you ever wondered why the Indians fall short when it come to running between the wickets? When at leisure, I generally mull over weighty thoughts like how much fortune Anil Kapoor, Satyaraj and T.Rajendar can amass, if they join hands, make use of the abundant resource God has blessed them with and start a vig company. So I don’t have the time to give that thought the best of my brain. Sometimes, even when you make no attempts to think, the answer stares you in the face. It did that day.
Akbar was at the non-striker’s end. And the bowler mentioned above was the batsman now. He played a lovely shot straight down the ground but it went straight to the feilder. Sadly, he got out run-out looking for the second run when there never was two.
One thing that a man of sensibilities would never do is, start a conversation, friendly or otherwise, with the player who had just been dismissed. That too run-out! Try that, and you’ll find yourself at the receiving end of “why-blood-same-blood” tirade. So we all gave a quiet welcome when the visibly angry batsman returned to join us. But he showed no intentions of remaining quiet and came in barking….
Run-out Batsman(RB): Why the hell he called me for the second run and didn’t as much as move his finger?
Me: I thought it was your call. He never called you.
RB: He did! Didn’t you hear him scream “vaaaa.. vaaaaa”?
Me: He deosn’t know tamil, you stupid fool!
RB : Err..yes.. but he did call me. I heard him call me.
Me: He said “naa.. naa”. Means no in Hindi.
RB: @#$@#$! No wonder Sadogappan Ramesh was one of the worst runners between the wickets!