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 22, Para 3

Featured imageI was ashamed of what transpired that night. I vowed never to step on the stage again. Even the thought of facing the girls form the theatre troupe raised my hair on end. Mr. Charlie, my football coach was a happy man. I was training with a never before seen zeal. He could sense that I didn’t want to leave the field. He was sure that after that mortifying incident I would have nothing to do with girls from Wenham. However in the Meantime my teachers and friends tried to dispel my fears. In fact the principal invited me into his office for a counselling session. This was my life- study in the morning, play in the afternoon and sleep at night. I was left with little time to catch my breath leave alone thinking about that night. As a result the week following December the 23rd, occupied seven blank pages in my diary.

Book1: Page 5, Para 1

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.

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 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.

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