Book 1: Page 53, Para 2

Kalsh: …Yes Miss, you are right. We are going to bet who scores a hat trick today and I hope you place your money on me.

Akanaksha: Maybe I already have. But the stakes might just be too high for you.

Kalsh: This sounds interesting. Surprise me; do you want to see us take the ball from one end of the field to the other using only our heads? Or even better you want our goalkeeper to score.

Akanksha: Maybe…Maybe not! Anyhow I wasn’t talking about the game. You are wasting your time there. You should spend more time in better company, perhaps with us.

Kalsh: I would love that (I felt a jolt in my stomach.) Ah…

The momentary excitement in my stomach drastically changed in character. It was very painful. I got hold of Akshay’s collar and whispered, “I need to see the doctor. Let’s go back”. I turned around and was confronted with shrieks of all those girls who were giggling at my senseless jokes a split second ago.

“Oh god, He is bleeding!”

Book 1: Page 53, Para 1

After a month of soft practice we hit the field for our first game, junior team against the senior team. The match had a fairly good attendance. Some girls from Welham Girl’s School were also cheering for us. My sister was leading the pack. The game was a cakewalk and we dominated the juniors completely in the first half. I personally believed that the fifteen minute break in-between two halves of a match could be put to better use than just lying down and listening to a winning coach. So Akshay and I visited the sweet smelling group of girls sitting gracefully besides the touchline. I could see that Akshay and my sister wanted to be alone but that was not going to happen anytime soon, at least not on my vigil. There was a girl in the group taking more than usual interest in the game. Of course that got her my attention.

Book 1: Page 25, Para 1

…So my holidays were over and I was just too eager to be with my friends again. I was to start this season as the captain of the football team. I had reached a week earlier and had been staying with my uncle. He was my mother’s maternal cousin and my local guardian. People from my maternal side are exceptionally fond of me. Moreover they would very gaily play host to outstation relatives. My uncle famously remarked, “Be happy if someone comes to your home. In this world of many means, no one visits the other without a mean.” We shared a great rapport. However this was only one half of the true reason for my excitement. Three of my close friends and I had joined the Edmund Hillary mountaineering society at school which was a pioneer institution administering measured dosage of adrenaline to teenagers. Not only had we become addicted to this adventure sport but we were also under the impression that we were ready to take on the wild.

Book 1: Page 23

Lady Penguin Patch-up: You did not attend any rehearsals this week. It seems you fancy yourself as “Mr. Know-all Do-all”.
Lady Penguin Patch up
Kalsh: Not in the least Madam. It is just that I am busy with football practice.

Lady Penguin Patch-up: Now, is there something that you are hiding. You knew this would happen. I can talk to your coach. He will surely agree to an arrangement where neither football nor theatre suffers.

Kalsh: Madam it’s not that simple. What if I don’t feel like coming for practice? What if I don’t want to be in your play anymore? What if I choose to stick with being a soccer stud and not a sissy ballet dancer? You are smart enough to figure out that I did not volunteer myself. I got stuck with your crew. I was there for the girls!

Lady Penguin Patch-up: (she shifted to the seat beside me): Son, I know about that night. I have been in this business for 15 years. I have seen actors come and go. Tremendously talented dancers sweating it out to be the best, I have witnessed it all, but when I see you, it is different. You remind me of someone. You remind me that this is not a musical I am directing, but a story that needs to be told. Your perverted intentions are least of my concerns. But today if you give up dancing let me be clear I will lose Edward.
(There were tears in her eyes).
You have the gift. I can see it. Scintillating is the word for your performance.

BOOK1: Page 12

It was the second full moon night of September in 2003, the date I am unsure of, but yet it can never be forgotten. I got a call quite late at night from my coach, Charlie Sir. He taught me everything I know on the field. Off the field our physical education teacher used to be in a continuous battle with the English language. I remember that night he was waiting at the reception. Both of us decided to go for a walk. He was threatening me in an amusing demeanour.

Charlie Sir: Kalsh I think I will have to talk to your parents, especially your mother and father.

Kalsh: But sir, I thought you personally congratulated them last month when they came for my felicitation ceremony.

Charlie Sir: This is not about praises you fool. Do you have any idea how many practice sessions you attended last month?

Kalsh: No sir!

Charlie Sir: Do you even recall that there is something called practice at quarter past five and a half? Let me tell you. (He held me by my shoulders) I don’t care if you’re the first boy in the last fifteen years to score twenty four goals in one season; or your brother was my favourite student; or the fact that you saved me from the poisonous air force in the chemistry lab; or the fact that my son is your best friend. I won’t count your blessings when I throw you out of the team.

Kalsh: But Sir… (He didn’t even care for me to complete.)

Charlie Sir: And to think that you are willing to abandon all this in order to become the first boy in the history of this school to dance in a ballet is nauseating.

Kalsh: Dance is not that bad actually.

Charlie Sir: All I am concerned about is that you attend every practice like all your teammates. Don’t expect special treatment just because you are the captain.

Kalsh: It’s just that I was really beginning to enjoy the company.

Charlie Sir: Eh… as I suspected. It’s always about girls. Let me tell you, hundreds before you have destroyed their lives for these girls. Do you want to add another name to that long list of losers?

Kalsh: No sir.

Charlie Sir: First and foremost your loyalty lies with the team, then with me, then with the school and still if any bit of self importance is left you can think about yourself. Mark my words, “A looser who runs after skimpily clad girls in tights is not my son. He is not on my team.”

Book 1: Page 4, Para 1

I was the happiest boy in the dormitory. Some dreams take time to materialize, in fact the bet was just a bonus. Prior to this incident I had never won a bet against him. In the fifteen years of our existence, we were neighbors for ten, enemies for three and friends for two and I had never won a wager. Be it something as mundane as ‘who completes the homework first’ or as extreme as skinny dipping in a tourist waterfall. It was always the Robot who won. But it had been my lucky day and it would be definitely my night. So I waited in the dorm because we didn’t get a chance to talk after the match. Maybe I was too overwhelmed by the victory or just plain truth that he would not complete his side of the bet. In any case we would be sharing the same room.
All of a sudden fifteen broad jawed men marched into the room. I knew each one of them but most of them do not require a mention in this tale of two gentlemen. I saw leading the troop was a familiar face. He was carrying a bag. I knew it was my big prize for scoring the penalty. It was his part of the wager to get me a jersey, Chicago Bulls jersey. But this was no ordinary piece of clothing. It had been personally autographed by Jordan, the legend himself. It was his most prized possession and now it would be mine.

Book 1: Page 3

Now back to the kick. This was not Italy and definitely not an Italian goalkeeper facing me. So I missed. The ball touched the top right corner and then it occurred to me- A’ Del Piero was left footed!! And I wasn’t.

The ball bounced, everyone pounced and the tallest man on the field, Keshav, made contact with the ball. Not his feet, neither the head, it wasn’t a hand or an elbow, no footballer thighs but a part so intimate that I can hardly mention, but yet he could hardly ignore. He squeaked like a pig whose tail had been squashed!save

But this was not the worse part. Incidentally the ball was now moving towards me and everyone towards him. I had the choice to help the boy get up and forget the kick. I had to make my first unregimented decision and I decided to go with my heart and forget the last eighty eight seconds of fame.

I extruded a shot so fierce that not even a wall would have stopped it. I scored the goal that got us the title of ‘Champions of Dehradoon’.  The goalkeeper was with his defender (Keshav) and the ball inside the net.

I was not on the field anymore. As the referee whistled my teammates made a gesture I can never forget. They lifted me six feet in the air and Anurag, the captain standing in front of me gifted me my dream. Like an elder brother hands down the prodigy of a family. I received a piece of rubber cut like a ring. I might be the only prince to be crowned with a ring and not a crown.  I was now wearing on my right arm Anurag’s band, the captain’s band, it was now my band.

That day I was unofficially declared the captain of the school football team. This chapter is full of terms like ‘Me’, ‘I’, ‘Mine’ and the likes. At this point of time in my life I was at the apogee of my epilogue. Peak in academics, peak in sports, peak in relationships and I feel a compulsion to start this book from the peak. This is the beginning of a long journey. It is the pinnacle of ego where the most interesting revelations occur and here I stooped down below.

Book 1: Page 2, Para 1

 …“Stop!!! Let me have a word with you.” I turned around to see Aakrisht. He was my best buddy. I had to step back because the breadth of his shoulders always spilled beyond my picturesque field of view. His body had an unusual stiffness. This stiffness in his body language translated into his nick name-‘The Robot’. He invented a gait all for himself by swaying the body while holding those shoulders still (as if they were acupunctured by some Chinese medic). A gene inherited somewhere in his family had thickened his skull. Mine on the other hand was still responsive to pithy pleasures of life. This quite naturally made him the big boy in our group. The following episode is about the side effect of our friendship. We have a habit, which the reader might refer to as “Gambling”. Whenever we faced a difficult scenario, be it extraordinarily important as this penalty kick or a more common place insignificant decision. We just couldn’t resist the urge to bet on it. And here he was standing right in front of me seconds after I decided to take the penalty kick.

Kalsh VS Aakrisht
Kalsh VS Aakrisht


Kalsh, you won’t make this penalty kick. I am sure”.

What if I do?” I had to retort. “What if I score this most important penalty of my life? Then what? Aakrisht”

I was brash. He was cocky.There was no turning back now. The bet was accepted. My only regret is that I will never know if he actually prayed for me to miss.

Book 1: Page 1, Para 2

I don’t remember the date, but I know it was the first sunny morning that marked the onset of autumn. The two teams were evenly matched on the field and this was reflected in the score sheet. We won a penalty! I knew whosoever makes the penalty would become the school hero. How could I control the urge of self importance? Anurag, the captain announced, “Let Kalsh take the kick.” This was my chance. I was going to make history. This one goal and we would have a chance of becoming the champions after a gap of seven years. I took my place next to the ball. For the remaining thirty five seconds it was only going to be him and me. No teammates; no supporters; no cheerleaders. We had practiced this routine over a thousand times. I had never missed a penalty shot in my whole career. But then again it had never been so important to make one. Alessandro Del Peiro, my favorite player was in my mind. He would come running towards the ball and stop just a fraction of a second  before shooting. He never missed. I decided to go with the same trick. He had fooled Italian keepers a zillion times. I had to fool an Indian. I am not saying that my task would be easier, but yes all the more achievable.

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: