Over the last two weekends, apart from IPL, the other momentous thing to happen was that I got back to playing cricket. Before the last time I did remotely close to playing cricket were one-on-one matches I used to play with my neighbor sometime in 2003, before I broke my wrist.
As happens in every Indian guy's life, Cricket was initially shovelled down my throat - mainly during the World Cup in 1992 and the infamous 1 ball 22-run match, which left everyone I knew - starting from my friend sitting beside me in class to the paal-kaaran (milkman) condemning England. And then, my migration to Madras happened and I joined PSBB - the school which opened my eyes to cricket, and various other things ;)
Summer cricket coaching became a habit and I soon found out that I sucked as a fielder in circle. I was good at slips and in the outfield and nowhere else. I briefly flirted with wicket-keeping, but then was not a great success at it too. But to compensate for all this, I did bat well. The place where I lived in Chennai was like 15 kilometers away from my school with the result that none of my school friends lived close by. My only pastime became seasoning my cricket bat by hitting a ball inside a sock, hung from a ceiling hook. This became such an obsession that by the end of my second summer, I was able to hit 25-30 balls on a trot with a stump instead of the bat. All this did contribute to my batting, but whenever it came to school matches, whoever was the captain, had the senses to ask me to open the batting and while fielding, I was there in the slips for the first 5-6 overs after which I was sent to third man where you hardly get the ball (especially if you play on matted wickets).
All this cricket, where, I was physically playing the game ended with my 9th after which I was more or less the armchair critic, commenting on how Tendulkar should have played an Akram delivery, while munching on kadalai and reading the Hindu! High school flitted past and I become one of those SVCE makkal (junta). It was here I got my first rude shock. I remember it was in my first semester when we cut a Basic Civil Engineering class and had match with another first year class. I alanjified for opening the batting and did get to open - thankfully, the guy who was captain-cum-cut-adikkum-idea-giver knew me from PSBB and so knew about my batting. But what happened next is the stuff nightmares are made of. 3 full tosses straight down the leg-side saw me connecting with nothing but air. And then with extraordinary luck I edged the fourth ball and tried to get a run only to see the other guy not respond. Run out for a duck and somehow, after that, I never wanted to play cricket again. Every good friend of mine in SVCE used to play and they called me too (out of courtesy, as they used to plan their cricket activities in front of me or they really wanted me to play, I don't know), but somehow the fear of once more becoming a cropper made me skip.
BE was done with and I became one of those typical tambrahm guys, coming to the US for MS. Here cricket was a much bigger thing. My room-mate and good friend here turned out to be a fanatical cricketer and seeing his and his team-mates fanaticism made me loathe playing cricket more.
But as they say, Life is not without surprises, I have come to know a group of indi pasanga (people close to me know my paasam for these indi pasanga) and have started playing cricket with them. Its tough to listen to aaram se, aah, rukh, umpire se baahar kinda pechu, but these guys play just for the fun of it and its nice to do that.
Hope I'm not that lazy to give up on this new found activity.
UPDATE: Its nice to see that I've not lost my once predominant offside play and my wrists are strong enough for me to flick balls on middle stump to fine leg, once again, after April 16th, 2003. And so far, I haven't scored a duck. Touchwood! But on the flip side, my ground fielding is not good, my bowling is horrible. Have not yet had the courage to try my spin - have been bowling donkey droppers so far.