By M. Marimimuthu
The following is an edited version of a diary entry I wrote on June 16, 2018 about an interesting experience I had with a child. This is the first instalment of a series of articles about my memories of watching and playing sports.
This afternoon I was feeling bored, so I went outside to play. I have no playmates since my childhood. My parents didn’t allow kids to mingle with me, so I learned to play without others. Today, even though I’m 22 years old, I still play alone. I love to play, because it gives me a chance to forget what I can’t do.
I play a game similar to Cricket. But my version of cricket needs no ground. A small space in my home is enough. There are no people besides me. I am the batter, I am the bowler, I am the fielder, and I am the umpire. There is no traditional bat. Instead, I have a slate which my little brother used to write. I throw a large plastic ball to a wall and hit it as it rebounds. I have to listen carefully to the sound of the ball so I can whack it for self-defined fours and sixes.
Today, as I was playing, a little boy came to me and asked whether he could join. I don’t know why, but I agreed and let him in. He offered to bowl. I smiled and gave it to him. I whacked a few and missed a few. Whenever I missed a ball, he smiled, and whenever I smashed, he clapped. He bowled a slow ball. But I wasn’t listening to the sound so I missed it. “Can’t you hit this slow one?” He asked and smiled. I understood he doesn’t know about me. I didn’t say a word.
After a while, he asked me whether he could bat. I agreed and gave the slate to him. I bowled slow for a while. He smashed them hard. Many balls were catchable but I spilled them because of my poor reflex. Whenever I failed to catch the ball the boy exclaimed, “See, that’s my power!” I laughed to myself and kept on bowling. “Bowl faster!” He asked. He hit my faster balls hard and some balls landed outside my home. He smiled and fetched the ball inside.
Some of my fast balls illuded his swinging slate. Whenever he missed one, it felt like an international wicket. I don’t know why, but it felt so good. I kept on bowling and he kept on smashing with his power. “It’s your turn to bring the ball!”, he said after smashing a ball outside. I smiled and went to get it back. I wasn’t listening to the sound of the ball so I didn’t know where it went. I was searching the ball for a while without finding it. He came and found the ball. “You are not looking at the right place for the ball”, he said to me. I smiled and got the ball from him. We kept on playing for a while.
A little while later my grandma stopped the play and gave us some Mangoes to eat. He went to his home to drink water. I was expecting him to come back. But he didn’t. I guess he was bored. The feeling of playing with him is strange. It is largely because he didn’t know about me. Those balls he missed are very few but those are enough to stop me thinking about those balls I missed. Looking back, I wonder how many memories I have missed by not playing with other kids during my childhood.