I reached in time, to find out that no one else had. Lesson learnt : 6:45 AM means no less than 7:15 AM, as Vishnu himself tipped to me later. I waited in front of the RCC, helped by the coffee, not wanting to remember the times I came here last, which was some months back with blood donors for Shallal. Some of the scenes flashed by, filling the forms, the wait in front of the donation room, the hope in Alikutty Uncle's eyes,..
The ground, of red gravel, was muddy and swampy at parts due to the heavy downpour the previous night. Within half an hour everyone who had replied in affirmative to Vishnu's mail had reached, and we found some area sandwiched between two cricket matches to play on. A guy came and tried to issue threats if we were seen attempting to trample on the main cricket pitch, covered with a tarpaulin sheet, prepared for some game scheduled for the day.
Aswin was seen fuming at the team split, which left us again as the much weaker side. I mean, nobody really cares much for the result on a Saturday morning game, but such an imbalance in the sides' strength kills the game off as a healthy contest. Also their team had Govind, about whom I had only heard of till then, as the younger brother of the Infy Team Captain, Anandettan. We were playing with only a very small portion of the ground to ourselves, so the goalposts were only 6 footsteps wide. The game started, and I ran like a headless chicken in the middle for sometime, unsure as to what position to play in. I found it difficult to pick anyone upfront to pass on the occasions I had the ball too. (Reason to follow.) They had like three forwards almost lazily idling around our goalpost all the time, and most of the time the moment we lost possession in front, they countered swiftly and all the time it was a case of Viswa against two or three of their attackers. There was this guy whom I was seeing for the first time (ex-Infy ?). People dont care two hoots about offside rule in a muddy ground in an 8-per-team game, so he made a nest and chilled out near our box, feeding off the balls coming on to him. Pippo Insaghi would have been proud.
So after a while the guys who were playing on the side of the ground closer to the entrance had finished their game and we moved. By now Aswin stepped up, and asked me to play in defense along with Viswa. That helped, since I was running around puzzled. I chose to man mark Insaghi, along with other defensive duties. This went on for sometime, and to an incredible sense of victory, Insaghi grew frustrated and retreated to centre. It may not be that I was able to stop his supply, but I know for a fact most of the people gets irritated like hell when they are marked individually. At least I am. But hey why would anyone man mark me?
Viswa is the central defender in Infy team, and though he was clearly limited by some extra fat in his body, it was lesson for me to see that rather than frantically trying to clear the ball away from danger, he was actually using his clearances to feed players up front.
Ok that’s it. I’m feeling way too lazy to type all the details. And I am feeling lazy to remember all that.
Govind is an exceptional player. He simply eases past players, using both his feet well in controlling the ball. He doesnt exert himself much, as in he doesnt race around the pitch, but the technique makes up for it.
I think we ended the game evenly. Nobody really kept track of the score after some time. At the end of the game, Aswin came and told me I played with my eye on the ball all the time. Instead he told me to hold my head up and play so that I could spot teammates to pass to. And then his customary Iniesta impersonation :“Stop. Think. Pass”
Tired. Drawn. Exhausted. I could even feel the chilled orange juice as it trickled down my gullet. An unbelievable sense of fulfillment filled up inside even when it started aching in muscles I didn’t know they existed in my body until then. That feeling you get at the end of giving something your all. Best bath ever, after that.
Really sad I couldn’t complete the play. I was totally charmed by it. It was the stage adaptation of Vayalar Rama Varma’s poem, “Kuchelan Kunjan Nair”. Should see more of theater. If anyone of the ninety six thousand followers of this blog knows any link where I can read the whole poem, let me know.
So much for the weekend rant.
Give me a hug, lethargy dear.