My heart wanted to write about the immense beauty of the greens, but my hands were trembling with anxiety at the sight of the equally daunting woods. The jeep was covered from the top, but open in the back. We were comfortable with our luggage under the seat. A smile was noticeable on Sahib’s face. He was signalling something to Keshav, with the his squinting eyes. I had never seen him give such a smile since the fifth grade. I was clueless as to what would be coming my way. I turned towards Akshay who appeared very restless. It appeared as if he was framing sentences, probably to disclose something to me. Presumably he would soon make the announcement.
A man is only as good as his word. It was my decision to bet. I knew the repercussions. I was overconfident. I missed. I lost the bet. That was the whole point of this conversation. I took the bag and went to sleep. The entire room was intrigued by the mystery of its contents. And inevitably all my room mates were disappointed the following morning.
A fifteen year old boy who is suppose to be all burly and uncouth. Who is trained by his seniors as their prodigy. Who is considered the definite superlative among his peers. Who is voted by his juniors as their leader. What could he be scared of?
Next morning I emptied the bag. Its contents lay on my bed. I took the volunteer application form in one hand and school principal’s reference letter in the other. Next fifteen minutes I took a journey which on any other day would have been thrilling, but today I had to make an effort to lift my feet. I was going to Welhams Girls School. As I made my way through the gate, I could hear groups of girls on either side of the path leading to the auditorium giggling. The volunteer form got me through the doors of the institution, the principal’s letter would obviously get me selected, but I knew it was sheer courage that would make it possible for me to survive the torture that awaited me.
It was a job anybody could have done. Everybody thought somebody would do it. But nobody did. The human heart beats sixty times in a minute. Each time you take a deep breath you slow it down. The chest of men standing tall on the field may beat hundred times in a minute. I could feel the thump in my chest pacing down. What followed was benumbing of my senses, one by one. To my delight the odor of the sweat evanishing from my shirt had subsided. I couldn’t even if I tried explicitly, I just couldn’t inhale the freshness of the damp field. The wind that brushed against the nares was pure oxygen and no other emanation. The drums inside my ear were the next to demit. Now the stands were silent, the coach quiet, the players poised and my chest lost some poundage. The sweat was dripping from all my holes and I tried tasting the last drop that trickled over my left eye. I was too tired to wipe it off. My red and white tongue was apathetic to the salty sapor of my sweat. Then the gravity of things set in to make my right foot gossamer. All my muscles twitching in with all the lethargic notions of my mind I felt no cold no warmth no presence of my body. Waiting for the next wholesome expiration I continued counting my beats. The ball was the foot; the heart was the ball; the foot was the heart… Stop!!!