Thursday, April 10, 2008

Autoricksha Confessions 5: Sports Injuries

There was once a time when I was a labeled a bad kid in my neighborhood. And it was entirely related to my fondness for playing sports in constricted places.

When we were young, my neighbors and I played cricket almost every day. Sometimes twice. And because we played so frequently, we had no time to trudge to the neighboring park. We played in the gulley or on terraces. Eventually we destroyed so many windows and furniture in the surrounding houses that we switched to playing left-handed. To this day, I'm ambidextrous with the bat and have a killer leftie cover drive even if I say so myself.

In any case, back in the day when we were still playing the right way, we used to bully little Kanji into bowling endlessly to us. And poor Kanji - for the privilege of playing with the older boys and getting better - would oblige. But of late he had developed a bit of a mouth. So here he was - right in the middle of the 36th Chamber of Shaolin type schooling we were giving him - trash talking and telling me that I was rubbish outside the off stump. To prove him wrong, I waited for the right width from him and launched into a juicy square cut that resembled Hanuman swinging his gadaa.

Here is where the heavens conspired against me. What are the odds of all of the following happening at the same time? First, we had ripped all our rubber balls up and were playing with a cork ball. Cork balls are indestructible but also highly destructive. Instead of the gulley I was aiming for, the ball flew to K.K. Shah's house - roughly positioned at cover point.

In fact, it went straight to their window and somehow managed to squeeze itself between two horizontal bars. Turns out Ba was watching the game and her mouth just happened to be situated right where the ball decided to enter the Shah household. So all this bad fortune came together and Ba took a big one in the kisser. She keeled over - and disappeared from view.

I dropped the bat, paused to yell rather loudly "You shouldn't have done that Kanji!" and ran. It didn't help - much later I found out that Ba had lost two of her teeth and I had been identified and branded (turns out Ba's periscope size spectacles worked a little too well).

Then things got worse. Let's just put it this way: its bad enough to be playing football - a sport that already had the auntys clucking their tongues over its roughness. And then you really don't want to launch a kick that hits an 80 year old woman in the head. Especially when she is just leaving the pooja at Patelkaka's house. Its worse if she drops down, shudders, flutters her eyelids and says "Hey Ram!" Anyone who is familiar with the story of MKG can only imagine how much hatred might rain down on you if you end up putting any senior in that condition.

So it was that I was transformed into a hugely bad kid in the neighborhood. The auntys refused to make eye contact with me. Uncles glared at me and let out a "Hmmph!" right when they passed me by. I felt really small and ostracized.

But this story has a happy ending. Once Varukaka locked himself yet again out of his second floor flat. The neighbors groaned because it meant one of them would have to invite Varukaka in and listen to his incredibly boring stories until Neenamasi returned with the key.

In a flash - and in full view of the denizens of the society - using some new found skills whose origins shall remain a secret, I scaled the walls to the window and broke into Varukaka's flat. Then I opened the door from the inside and let him in. Varukaka smiled and shook my hand. The neighbors applauded exuberantly - one of them even hugged me awkwardly.

This act of blatant vandalism restored the society's faith in me. I was back to being an achha bachcha. Life was good again.

Previous 3 wheeler rides: Phone Fool, House pets, Boxing Day, Carefree Errands


Anonymous said...

Lol, Aspi - beating up old ladies! I agree, the gods must have had a real hate on for you for it to land in her mouth like that. And I do wish you'd spill the beans: how did you become a cat burgler?

Never Mind!! said...

So did the old lady ever wake up? That happened to me. I asked my neighbor once if her grandfather was "alive" when I actually meant to ask her if he was "awake". And gods hated me so much that he actually passed away after a couple of hours. Fortunately for me, he did wake up before he went back to that long sleep. The funniest part was when my neighbors demanded to know how I knew he was going to die because apparently he wasnt sick or anything. And then they all concluded that it was divine intervention and god speaks through children.

Anonymous said...

Groan,seems really familiar. My son is considered one of the naughty brats, and worse still, I am the mom of the naughty brat:(. Almost every month, I have the supervisor of our apartment complex coming up to me asking for money to replace some window or tubelight! We have some of the auntyji sorts who crib and take away the ball/bat/shuttle when it falls into their balconies.:).And the kids pass comments that makes them madder.
I was so amused once when my husband was trying to peacemake saying 'Mam, isnt it good that boys are being physically active. otherwise you find most kids of today playing computer games and watching tv'. Poor guy got a solid firing from that lady who walked off.I simply avoid such auntyjis. Fortunately I have enough friends who also have bratty sons, or I ;d have been ostracised by now.

Anonymous said...

"Hey Ram!" LOL! That's so terrible...(mind you, I cnat stop laughing, but it's still terrible) We (my friends, brother and I) used to be the trouble makers of our society. Until we found a gali where they were tearing down an old apartment complex to build a shopping center...we totally helped tear that puppy down! The only bad part is we lost a ton of cricket balls...we used to play with those "season" balls, but then we just started playing with tennis balls cause we lost so many.

Great story Aspi, it's bringing back some real good memories!!

Anonymous said...


Fantastic story - can't believe you actually got the lady in the mouth - have only seen that in (bad) comedies! :-) Our nemesis used to be "Pittoo" (Lagori in B'lore) - played with a hard rubber ball amidst parked cars...those little triangular side windows on Ambassadors and Fiats are really flimsy!


Unknown said...

never mind!! that story is even funnier than mine.

Amrita, part of the reason I learned to scale walls was to retrieve balls that went into other people's houses. This also involved dodging detection, of course otherwise the game would be up. The other part really should remain a secret.

girlie girl, a construction site is the best playground contrary to what our parents told us.

Anonymous said...

aspi, what a bad ass u were as a kid --- beaning old ladies between the teeth? tsk, tsk ---- hilarious :). the autorisksha confessions have climbed to the top of my list of fave posts.

Anonymous said...

any opinons on harbhajan singh? that dude warrants a post!

Unknown said...

That's a great idea. I'll have to work on that. In fact, Bhajji deserves his own comic book - that guy has an amazing propensity to get into trouble just by being incredibly dumb.

squarecut.atul said...

I am late into reading this post ( I discovered this blog only recently) and it was really funny. Kids on all generations can readily identify with it.

Now you know why kids in Mumbai typically grow up into technically correct batsmen like Gavaskar. You have no choice because any shot other than straight drive all along the ground would land you in trouble.

On the other hand, kids playing in oper area viz Kapildev, Dhoni etc have no such inhibitions. That explains why kids growing up in smaller places turn out to be such inhibited batsmen.

Unknown said...

squarecut, good point. I still have a bad grip that allows me to hit the ball straight back at the bowler.

It was developed when we were down to very few players and not enough fielders.

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