A Messi Affair

(This one has been written for the contest ‘Sporting Memories’ by Blogadda in association with Myntra. Though this incident isn’t what you would call memorable, it definitely is unforgettable.)

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(This one has been written for the contest ‘Sporting Events’ by Blogadda in association with Myntra. Though this incident isn’t what you would call memorable, it surely is unforgettable.)

“Pass de…abey…idhar…idhar saale!!” I hollered my lungs out as a self-proclaimed sixth illegitimate offspring of Zinedine Zidane tried, very unsuccessfully, to gallivant his way through 4 of the opposing team.  His hypothesis regarding the application of techniques in the game must have been simple enough.

Kick. Hurt. Indulge in profane parleys. Give the finger to all regardless of creed, race, sect etc. Idyllic image of National Integration in a utopia.

And do not pass even if that’s the last fucking thing you will ever do.

5 minutes later we, the team mates, berated him left, right and centre. He, on the other hand, still believed that the only option viable was the one he took. The bell signalling the end of the games period terminated any further retorts involving MASs(Mothers and Sisters) of players. The incident was obliterated from the memory as soon as the Maths test began in the next period.

The fascination with football had encapsulated me entirely in the 4th grade itself. The sonorous thwack emanated as the foot kissed the ball, the whiff of dust that went up in the process, the moments when you thought you possessed ESP when flicking the ball in a pass, the huge adrenaline rush when you discover just the goalkeeper between you and the goal had become soldered into my life. The preliminary gongs of the bell indicating lunch break would see us pilfer into the skating rink (we didn’t have a football ground per se, much of actual playing area had been seized by the Forest Officials which they later sold to a contractor. Ugly concrete structures now glared upon us all over) shoving whatever morsel the household had prepared pell-mell in to the mouth on the way. Approximately 10 groups played football in that same place, each one from a different grade, a profusion of bodies slamming unconsciously to one another. We usually played with tennis or plastic ball, and it wasn’t unusual for the balls to switch with that of the other.

And in spite of the entire obsession, it wasn’t an official sport. Scores of excellent players clamoured to have a school team, which they would represent and bring laurels for the school, themselves as well (though the latter wasn’t the ultimate aim) but they fell on deaf ears. Teachers cited the reason that it was “too masculine and promoted hooliganism” as an excuse.

In the 10th grade however, the teachers gave in (we had really good conversationalists among prefects) and a motion for a mock match to be followed by matches between the different houses was passed.

The story begins, here.

I shall refer to myself in the third person henceforth, so as to lessen some amount of the embarrassment.

He jumped ecstatically as the news was delivered, sharing the glint in His eye with the other prefects present. Here was the chance to prove His mettle as a soccer player, to really show the world what an all rounder looked like. With great precision was chosen the date for an exhibition match so as not to clash with any other event of the school. And off they went, trotting out of the principal’s office, the advent of a bright future in the field of sports ahead of them.

The day of the match dawned bright. He woke up all by himself, shocking His Mater in the process, who had half opened her mouth to voice ‘Rise and Shine Son! The day dawneth bright!’ (of course, in Bong). Rubbing the sleep out of His eyes, His mind was already a blur from the dreams that had featured Biswas the Ballack kicking the living shit out of the ball in one eastmancolour outburst of vigour. So elated was He that He failed to notice the entity He had brushed against and which now fell very gracelessly to the floor, the chiming of a thousand smithereens bringing Him to His senses.

His Negative 4.5 power right eye and Negative 5.25 power Left eye glanced aghast at their spouse, now deceased, the remnants lying on the floor. Mater’s voice drilled the early morning ambiance, and He stepped into the bathroom to avoid it. Pulling His pants down to perform His ablutions, He pushed…

And pushed…

And pushed…

But it just refused to emerge, just like an irritating 5 year old who refuses to leave you until you tell him/her a story. Outside His Mater was screeching for him to hurry up and have His breakfast, suddenly breaking into a chorus with the arrival of the Autowallah who had other kids to pick and a living to make. He stood. Shit or no shit, His auto beckoned.

Draping himself in the uniform and throwing shorts and a shirt in a polythene, he made His way down the staircase in a whirl as the Autowallah kept honking repeatedly to assert his possession of a ‘Vehicle’ to the entire neighbourhood. It wasn’t until the auto had traversed a few yards before He remembered. The appropriate shoes still adorned the shoe rack.

Not the one to be disappointed, He sufficed with only a single whack to the head. Not a problem. School shoes aren’t so bad. In fact, that’s what He had played with in previous occasions. Why should this be any different? With that thought were laid to rest any apprehensions that might crop up regarding the absence of any sort of gear relevant to football until the seventh period, when all members converged on the skating rink under an atrocious attack of afternoon sunlight. The shorts, which were a tad tighter (felt only then) and the shirt were already changed into. The two armies lay out in front of the other, gazing intently in the other’s eye, subconsciously baying for victory. The screech of the whistle sent the dozen odd people into a frenzy of motion. Motion however, wasn’t entirely external.

He gasped in horror as His stomach churned, and the particles, which had so obstinately clung to His intestines in the morning, now threatened an exodus. He, however, stood His ground, valiantly kicking in the direction of the ball that came His way, misjudging the position and missing it entirely. He gaped stupidly as another member defended and offered Him a queer look.

He concentrated, over the heat, the haze, the ever growing sensation of shit pressing against His insides. Pirouetting unsuccessfully yet again, He managed to kick one of His own in the calves. He felt the general antagonism against Him amongst His teammates rise. Shrugging, He avoided eye contact with anyone as the opposing team took a shot and scored.

Fifteen minutes into the game, He had already exercised the limits of His tolerance. He now desperately wished Himself to be substituted to save the team further embarrassment, but was too egoistic to suggest the thought to the Captain Himself. Leaving His fate in the hands of God, he stood meekly in a corner, when out of the blue the ball soared in front of Him.

Something clicked. There was just the ball and him then. He was only slightly aware that two of the opponents now circled Him, and the ball was a feet above His head. In one swift, ripping action, He floated, the foot stretching flexibly and kicking the ball right near the goalpost. His eyes widened expectantly.

There was no one there.

“Subsitute!” Someone yelled.

They had good sense of judgement.

He made His way towards the stands, slouching slightly. He sat down, exhausted, finally relieved, gulping down enormous amounts of water from a bottle some junior procured. The junior stood in front of Him, and started guffawing uncontrollably at some friend of His who must have been seated somewhere behind Him. Ignoring him,  His attention never wavered from the game, which, fifteen minutes later, was a lost cause.

Back home, he threw His bag at the sofa, kicked the shoes in anger towards the rack, and shed His clothes in a hurry before the bathroom was engulfed in smoke. Bowels all clear, He emerged, picking up His clothes to deposit them in the washing machine. Something, however, caught his eye.

Sunlight filtered in through the window, through the shades, through the hole in the pants near the crotch, into His retina, and reminded Him of the amused junior.

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