Have passed the 5th standard also included some upgradation in playing. I had understood to listen to Hindi commentery and understand many things better. Since most of my friends also went on trips to their native places – nearly for a month, I was left alone with the ball.
My cousin venkatesh who lived in NR colony came to my rescue. He said things like playing cricket with bigger teams which left me drooling. I pleaded mom to allow me to go and play at his house. Since it was en-route to her office, i was allowed to go and play there on one condition – I will be back when she is back en-route from office. This meant 6 hours of cricket play time.
Very normally we only hear and think about things that are possible immideatly and not worry of distant past much – a thought re-inforced in our investment ways – isnt it?
We got a old house with 22 yards length and about 14 guys to play around!! Wow that was cricket. We divided into teams and played till the ball was broken or disputes raged and had to stop the game. Any way the game resumed next day – past being buried and everybody still are friends.
Here, I made new friends like madhu, srinivas, prateek and many people who are called by nick names – these names have stood the times till date and we dont know their original names!
I was introduced to other games like tree climbing – Yes, it was initially the gauva tree which had tiny gauvas and was the bitterest of all. But, we had climbed the tree with great difficulty without elders seeing and definetly enjoyed our fruits of labour ( pun intended).
My mother decided that I was a grown up boy now and its good to learn cycling. Children follow and ape their parents in their early years it seems. My father worked for Bangalore Transport Service and hence used to allways travel by bus and never learnt cycling. I too tried to do the same but mother threatned and cajoled me into learning – saying it would be helpfull in future – now I know!
Mother secretly convinced my friend Nagendra who had already mastered the art of cycling to teach me and agreed since he was within 200 meters of my house. One fatal tuesday afternoon mother gave Nagendra money for hiring the small cycle ( my bargain that it should be small lest I fell or wanted to get off the flight early).
Balaji cycle mart loaned me the cycle. Even though I had fear and excitement written all over, it was fear inside and excitement outside. I sat on the seat like a king ( our politician style, never knowing when its going to be yanked under you) and started pedalling while Nagendra and his assistant pushed me on the road.
Luckily it was a dead-end road and no traffic at all. I managed to act the art of pedelling while Nagendra did the hard labour of pushing – cursing himself for having agreed to teach me. This episode was repeated a couple of days more much to the amusement of the elders in the neighbour hood who said ‘mohan was a kid, how big person he has become, learning cycling‘.
I too started enjoying the cycling outings and gained confidence. Even Nagendra had to push only little now-a-days as I got the hang of the pedlling stuff. The only problem was that I tended to look at the rotating wheels in front and not at oncoming traffic.
The saturday at 2.30 PM is still etched in my memory. I was wearing my favourite white knickers and blue shirt. Nagendra wanted to demo mother that I was the king of bycycling now. Mom and my friends were watching. I slowly mounted the pedestal like a F16 fighter pilot – smiles et all. The push was given and I started off yelling the ususal instruction ‘fast beda kano‘ etc.
Half way through my friends clapped and mother was also beaming. I asked Nagendra to help me slow down as it was going down a bit of inclination. Nagendra’s usual helping hand did not do the trick. I shouted and turned back at Nagendra who was behind me.
Lo and behold – Nagendra was not there. I was cycling all alone. No wonder everybody was clapping. Suddenly panic struck me and the fact I was not facing forward added to the confusion. Nagendra shouted from distance. Brake hideo!!
The next moment the KEB electric pole decided to hit me in full gust – I had allways told Nagendra that poles are bad in my road. Eventually the tyres skid into the road side gutter ( thank god it did not have slush – story otherwise would have been quite smelly) and fell down.
Collateral damage was accounted for. It was my pride which hurt more than the limp on the leg!
I was red in face and seething with anger like a boiler about to burst, I shouted at Nagendra ‘ yako kiye bittidu?‘. Now everybody rushed and pulled me out of the gutter. Some turmeric was pasted and Ii decided that was the end of my cycling days.
Nagendra was beaming like a brides mother who got her daughter wedded successfully to the unsuspecting groom spelling totally doom!! He had finished his assignment of teaching me cycling and that was the technical demonstrator!
Even though this experience ultimately helped me in cycling for the first time when I was in Junior collage. Till then it was Nataraja service as commonly referred to walking in our group.