Sandy khela meet me at the pole

The Roffensian Volume CXVI by John Jones - Issuu

sandy khela meet me at the pole

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His friends told him to leave me alone. I faced the first interview of my life. Three old men sat in front of me. They looked like they had not smiled since their hair had turned grey. I had learnt about wishing people before an interview.

I had even practised it. He seemed to be around fifty-five years old and wore square, black-rimmed glasses and a checked jacket. It was the highclass-to-low-class smile. Of course, I had no choice but to smile back.

The man in the middle was Professor Pereira, the head of sociology, the course I had applied for. Professor Fernandez, who taught physics, and Professor Gupta, whose subject was English, sat on his left and right respectively.

I turned around to see a man in a tracksuit standing at the door. He looked too old to be a student but too young to be faculty. You are the final authority. PiyushYadav was the sports coach for the college and sat in on all sports-quota interviews. He seemed simpler and friendlier than the professors. Fernandez asked, scanning through my file. Gupta said in a firm voice.

The four men in the room lpoked at me. The professor had asked me a standard question. And why is St. Answering in English would require pauses and make me come across as stupid. Maybe I was stupid, but I did not want them to know that. I saw my blunder in their horrified faces. I had not said it in defiance; I really wanted to know why they had to interview me in English when I was more comfortable in Hindi.

Pereira seemed to be the kindest of the lot. He turned to me. I started thinking about my return trip to Bihar. I was wondering what would be the best way to take their leave when Piyush Yadav broke my chain of thought.

Are you from Bihar? I loved Piyush Yadav in that instant. Three hours from Patna, right? I could have kissed his feet. The three English-speaking monsters continued to stare. He sensed my nervousness and spoke again. I am Hindi-medium, too. I know the feeling. I composed myself and spoke my rehearsed lines. Last year, I was in the waiting list for the BFI national team. Can I explain in Hindi? I had little choice. I took my chances and responded in my language.

I wanted to learn more about our society. Why are our villages so backward? Why do we have so many differences based on caste and religion? I thought I could find some answers in this course. Gupta understood me perfectly well. He asked Piyush to translate what I had said. Pereira said once Piyush was done. Will you go back to your native place?

It took me a few seconds to understand his question. Piyush offered to translate but I gestured for him not to. I didn't feel the need to tell them I would go back because my mother was alone there. Even though there was nothing royal about us any more, we belonged there. Hence, I gave the shortest answers possible. But one question had me stumped.

Piyush tried to speak on my behalf. Gupta raised a hand. You should know Bihar. But why is Bihar the poorest of the poor? Gupta kept his eyes on me.

Nobody invests in my state. The government is in bed with criminals and together they exploit the state and its people. He nodded as he heard it. Fernandez wiped his glasses as he spoke, turning his head towards me. The interview was over. They asked me to leave the room. Piyush came out of the committee room. His lean and fit frame made him look like a student, despite him being much older. He spoke to me in Hindi. See me on the basketball court.

That interview went horribly. Anyway, sports quota trials are worth 85 per cent. It is funny how her height shaped my life. If she had been four inches shorter, my eyes may never have met hers and everything would have been different. If I had not been bored and arrived at the basketball court an hour earlier, it would have been different.

If someone had not missed a pass and the ball had not come out of the court and hit me on the head, I would have had a different life. Tiny bumps in time shape our lives, even though we spend hours trying to make long-term plans. I had no plan to meet the love of my life on a basketball court.

I was there only to kill time and because I had nowhere else to go. Everyone spoke in English. I straightened my back and stared at the court with a sense of purpose, mainly to come across as if I belonged there.

As ten girls came on to the court, the crowd cheered. Five of the girls belonged to the existing college team; the other five had applied for admission under the sports quota. Piyush came to the centie of the court, ball in hand and whistle in mouth. As he blew it, the girls sprang into action. Five feet, nine inches is tall for an Indian girl.

It is tall even for a girl in a basketball team. She collected the ball within seconds. Her diamond earrings twinkled in die sun. She dribbled the ball with her right hand.

I noticed she had long, beautiful fingers. Well, the men did. The wisecrack distracted R for a moment, but she resumed her game as if she was used to such comments. The sports-quota girls played well individually. Three opponents surrounded her. R passed the ball to her teammate, who missed the pass.

The rival team took the ball, passed it to the other end and scored a basket. R cursed herself, inaudible to anyone tise. She then signalled to three of her teammates to cover specific opponents and jogged across die court.

When she went past me, I saw her sweaty, flushed face from up close. We made eye contact for nanoseconds, perhaps only in my imagination. But in those nanoseconds something happened to my heart. But I felt something deep inside, strong enough for my heart to say, You have to talk to this girl at least once in your life. Her state of mind was as far from mine as possible.

sandy khela meet me at the pole

She passed the ball to her teammate, who missed scoring a basket again. I felt nervous; how would I ever speak to her?

sandy khela meet me at the pole

Her face was grimy, dust sticking to her left cheek and forehead. Yet, it was one of the most beautiful faces I had seen in my entire life. Sometimes it is hard to explain why you find a person beautiful.

Was it her narrow face, perfectly in line with her slender body? Was it her flawless skin and complexion, which had turned from cream to pink to red? Or was it not about her looks at all? Was it her passion, her being totally immersed in the game? Of course, I never actually thought it would lead to anything. She seemed too posh to even give me a second glance. Destiny, however, had other plans.

For why else, in the seventh minute of the first half, would the college team captain overthrow the ball outside the court, where it hit my head as I stood on the sidelines?

Why would I grab the ball in reflex? More than anything, why would R come to collect it? I held on to the ball for an extra half second. I wanted to look at her a bit longer. I threw the ball at her. She caught it with ease and looked at me. She could tell from my throw that I knew the game.

For some reason, I had managed to speak in correct English this time. She surveyed me from top to bottom. I now wished I had worn better clothes.

I had not changed out of my interview shirt and pants, both of which the tailor back home had stitched too loose for me. I looked out of place on the basketball court. With my folder of certificates, I resembled a hero from those Hindi films of the seventies—the one who could not find a job.

I have a Bihar state team T-shirt, I wanted to tell her. Of course, in the middle of a game, and as a first conversation, this was a terrible idea.

The referee whistled to commence the game.

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She turned away and forgot about me faster than her throw reached her team member. Her point shooter held the ball and looked around, confused. The point shooter passed the ball, R caught it and took a shot from well beyond the three-point line. They already had a soft spot for R anyway. The referee announced a break at the ten-minute mark. The college team led R huddled with her team, figuring out their strategy for the next half. As her team meeting ended, she wiped her face and neck with a towel.

I forgot I had my own trial in less than an hour. I only wanted to figure out a way to talk to her a bit more. Maybe I could tell her she played well.

I wondered how to tell her about my state-level game without coming across as a show-off. And, more than anything, how would I go beyond five words of English?

She caught me staring. I wanted to kill myself. She continued to jgnli directly at me, the towel still around her neck. Then she walked up to me. A shiver ran down my spine. I wondered if she would scream at me like she had done during the match.

She had walked across the court, to thank me? She was breathing hard. My eyes were glued to hers. Look away, Madhav, I scolded myself and turned away. Uttering each word was like hitting a brick. Two of yours should move with them. You become the shooter. Of the other two, one is your defence, the other supports you.

Did it mean she would catch what I had said later? Or did she mean she actually wanted to catch me? Like, she liked me so much she wanted to catch me? Of course, this seemed unlikely. But then I had given her good tips and you never know with these modern people. Basketball, underrated as it might be in this country, packs it all in half an hour.

The match ended The newbies had lost, but still kept pace with the college team—a considerable achievement. R, however, seemed disappointed.

She wiped her face with a towel and picked up her blue Nike kitbag. A few boys tried to make eye contact with her but she ignored them, i wanted to speak to her. However, no boy from Dumraon has ever had the guts to approach a high-class girl from Delhi.

I wanted her to watch my game. There was nothing else I could impress her with. Coach Piyush went up to her. They became engrossed in a conversation. This was my chance. Underconiident guys need a go-between to speak to a girl. I ran up to Piyush. Trial-va hai ya mazaak? Is it a trial or a joke? I regretted knowing him. I could have taken offence. However, he had helped me without knowing it, so I was grateful. She looked at me and smiled. I loved her short little name.

Or maybe when you start liking people, you start liking everything about them—from their sweaty eyebrows to their little names. For the first time in my life a girl had asked my name. It was only later that I learnt that people who construct sentences like that sound low class. You see, we think in Hindi first and simply translate our thoughts, word for word.

She laughed because Piyush had already revealed that fact about me. There was no judgement in her voice. I liked her more and more every second. I wanted to know her full name and her native place.

sandy khela meet me at the pole

That is how we introduce ourselves in Dumraon. Plus, I had a selection trial in a few minutes. The coach blew his whistle. I ran—rather, hopped—in excitement towards the changing room. Soon, I was back on court and Piyush started the game. As the crowd dapped, I looked around. She was sitting on one of the benches, sipping water from a bottle.

I had a good game, but her presence made me play even better. The score inched forward; I pushed myself harder and scored a few more baskets. When I took a tough shot, the seniors patted my back. Piyush blew the final whistle.

We had done it. The newbies had managed to defeat die St. My body was drenched in sweat. I felt drained and exhausted. Players patted my back as I struggled to catch my breath. Piyush came running up to me in the middle of the court.

He ruffled my sweaty hair. I walked out of the court deliberately towards Riya. My head had known it would end like this.

But if they do, then see you. As she became more distant with every step, I wanted nothing more than to get admission to St. On fire on the court, huh? Disappointment slammed into me. He patted my back and walked away. I stood alone in the middle of the basketball court. Everyone else had left. I saw the brick-coloured buildings and the greenery around me. Is this place in my destiny? It was our destiny.

That is why, one month later, a postman came to my doorstep in Dumraon with a letter from St. He also wanted a big tip.

Her perky voice startled me; I had been scanning the college noticeboard. I had prayed for this to happen. She and I had both made it. She wore black, skin-tight jeans and a black-and-white striped i lurt. Without the sweat and grime from court, her face glowed. She had translucent pink lip gloss on, with tiny glittery bits on her lips. Her hair, slightly wavy, came all the way down to her waist. Her long lingers looked delicate, hiding the power they had displayed on court.

My heart was in my mouth. Ever since I had got my admission letter, I had been waiting for the month before college opened to pass quickly and to find out if Riya had made it too.

I wanted to tell her I had not forgotten her for one moment since I left Delhi. I wanted to tell her I had never seen a girl more beautiful than her. I wanted to tell her that the oxygen flow to my lungs had stopped. She smiled at me again. However, she laughed and I guessed it was something funny, so I laughed along. The noticeboard also had a bunch of stapled sheets with the names of all first-year students and their new roll numbers.

I adjusted my yellow T-shirt and blue jeans while she looked at the board. I had bought new clothes from Patna for St. I wanted to fit into my new college. A girl doing an English degree would never befriend a country bumpkin like me. Yes, all good, just finding my way. So I could talk to her. Small and large party bookings catered for. Menus have their roots in modern British cooking, with a hint of the more exotic about them. They change often to reflect the To be in with a chance of winning this fabulous prize, simply answer the following question correctly.

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sandy khela meet me at the pole

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sandy khela meet me at the pole

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