10th October 2012

I am in Srinagar. My day started late as usual and I was in a hurry for the class, fearing that my teacher will not allow me to get into the class. To my surprise, unlike other days, there was an announcement going on which bought me enough time to sneak in, without being noticed. All I could hear from the announcement was that there was a basketball trial for the CBSE school’s Basketball National Team on 1st November and our school will be participating in this tournament. This entire announcement didn’t matter to me, because I never had any predilection to play basketball. Moreover, I have never even played it but, what drew my attention was the fact that our school team will go to Solan to play the tournament. As a child, I grew up reading books and watching movies, that had adventures and travelling across the wonderful places.  Because of my parent’s profession, I did travel a lot, but seldom alone. I had the opportunity to travel and enjoy the adventures. I was so mesmerized; I just wanted to pack my bags and leave for that place. But the only problem was that I didn’t know how to play basketball. I had only 20 days to learn that game. It was a very short time, to play as good in order to make it to the bench but, as it is said: “Where there is a will, there is away.” I started looking and talking to people on the team. It wasn’t difficult for me to find out that every year they take some of their friends along with them just for fun and at that time I saw a ray of hope. Being the vice principal’s son, it wasn’t difficult for me to make friends. I ignored everyone and I went straight to the captain to talk. He agreed to take me along with the team. Now, the only people to whom I couldn’t blackmail, to let me go for the tournament were my parents. I needed to convince them.  They never saw me playing basketball. I was thinking of approaching them to seek for the permission, to let me go for the tournament. It wasn’t easy for me. Somehow, I gathered some courage and asked them. My mom was a national level basketball player so, I figured out an emotional way to convince them. I went to them and said, “It’s in my blood to play this game!” And, I don’t know how?  But they believed me. It was so easily done, that I wasn’t able to realise it, and my on-time-dream was going to come true.

story

Passion is momentary; love is enduring

John Wooden

28th October 2012

I was sitting on the bus. I was looking down at the Chinmay Vidyalaya School.  I still remember that moment. I started to believe that, yes! It’s actually true. It was a wonderful school in the valley. It stood straight on the slope. I was happy to be there and I couldn’t have asked for anything more. On my way to the school, I saw a direction board on the highway which read that Shimla was near and at that time my wondrous mind again started wondering. It wasn’t easy for me to realise that the trip was just a short one.

The boy’s team didn’t qualify for the semi-finals and got knocked out. The girl’s team got qualified and that meant an extended trip. At that time, I could see another of my fantasies coming true. That day was not good for us and everyone including the boys. Coach decided to hit the bed early. I found it as the best opportunity to execute my plans. I walked out slowly after 11:30 and bribed the guard asking him to let me go out, for smoking. The moment I was out, I went straight to the bus stand and took a ticket for Shimla. That night was the best night of my life. I have never ever thought that my journey can be so wonderful. The breeze, the essence in the air and the wonderful view of the moon was captivating me. The lights of the houses on the hill were creating an awesome view, the one that we get to see in the movies. I was awake the whole night. I visited the church; there, I met many people with pet wolves. I ate local delicacies.

Shimla

The richest love is that which submits to the arbitration of time.

Lawrence Durrell

I never wanted to come back from that place but, I knew I had to go back before sunrise. I ended up my small fantasy trip and took a bus back to the place. The guard at the school gate was sleeping and I managed to get inside without disturbing him. To deal with the livid coach standing in front of me as I entered from that gate, was not in my plans. To my surprise, the coach was an early bird and as soon as, he woke up, he found me missing. That damn guard told him that I was out.  My coach told me that he could lose his job and I was really irresponsible. I apologised and begged him to not tell about this to my parents but, it was too late, he already informed them.

When I returned back to my home, as I entered I saw more of a disappointment than anger in the eyes of my parents. They were upset with me for such an act. They grounded me. I got to know then that I couldn’t go out anymore. I didn’t sleep that night. I was thinking about the night I had spent in Shimla. I wanted to see more of it. My desires were not fulfilled, yet. I decided to go there again, but this time I will make my parents proud and not upset. That was the day, I decided to play basketball, more seriously. I started falling in love with the game. Basketball as a game I never knew was so wonderful.  Alhumdulillah! I was good at it. In a year, I was able to make it to the team with my hard work and this time it wasn’t me, who convinced my parents to go for a tournament but, my coach asked my parents to let me go with the team for the tournament.
Even this time, we didn’t make it to the semi-finals but, what I made true, was a trip to Shimla. It was a full official team trip with a one night stay there. Finally, I was fulfilling my desires. It was no longer contemplation. My desire for travelling and exploring new places had fuelled my love for the game. After that, there was no looking back. Alhumdulillah! I went on and on and got a state gold and all India Nationals Certificate. Basketball for me became a part of my life  and love of my life, ‘an Acquired Love.’

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