Thursday, January 29, 2009

It's a GOAL!

It is around 10 in the night. I don’t have a very clear idea of the time but my super human sense of time indicates that it is close to 10 pm. I can feel the heat of the situation; my calf muscles are pulled up and are begging for rest, my heart is racing and the adrenalin is rushing as if it’s chasing the last local train out of CST. Yet, I ignore all of this. All I need now is to keep my focus going for a few more minutes and then the glory shall be mine.

Standing underneath the bright floodlights on a green carpet of soft grass, I look around at the cheering crowd in the stadium. The chants of my name by thousands of fans, banners reading - “We love you No.10!”, and security persons lined up on the upper stands’ parapet to keep my female fans from jumping off in excitement; all these elements urge me to carry on. All 11 of us are dressed in blue, the official color of the Indian cricket team. But this isn’t cricket. This is football, a game that was never a forte of Indians.

I am not probably the best person to comment on how things changed for India and me. I have a feeling that I have the entire story intact in my subconscious mind but somehow after that fateful incident when I was hit on the head by a load of bird shit I forgot all about my past life (I will share the details of the unfortunate incident some other time). Anyway, let me just sum it up in one breath before I start sounding unbelievable - “India is playing the finals of the world cup. The venue is probably Eden gardens, the rivals are some random team dressed in yellow. Our team is in blue and although I cant recognize all of them, I can definitely identify Ronaldo, Rooney, Ballack , Beckham and Bhutia.

At the moment, we are into the last 50 seconds of the game. The scores are tied at 2-2. I know that if we don’t score another goal, our chances of winning are as good as zero. Our goalkeeper ‘D’ was once a wicket keeper for the Indian cricket team but could never do much to keep the small cricket ball from escaping him. He thought he had a better chance at collecting bigger balls and landed into the national football team.
Beckham is taking a shot after a player from the opponent’s team grabbed Ronaldo inappropriately while trying to tackle the ball. As Beckham takes the shot, I can already see the opportunity slipping out of our hands. The shot clearly doesn’t match up to the international levels of professional football. I make a mental note of kicking him out of the team after this match since he has lost his sheen after being dumped by Posh. However, I need to make up for the bad shot and give my best to the moment. I keep a close eye on the ball as it flies almost opposite to the opponents’ goal post, hitting Ronaldo on the face (I suppose it’s just not a good day for him). Bhutia , who is standing just behind the centre line hits it back using his chest in a movement resembling the way our Tennis icons Paes and Bhupati used to celebrate a point by hitting their chests against each others’ . The ball flies almost half the length of the field and sensing an opportunity, I make a dash for it. The ball lands in the opponents’ D and I slide a good 10 feet to make a contact with it and push it through one of the rival players (who I believe is Andrew Symonds). With no time to waste as we move into the last 10 seconds of the game, I get back on my feet and run with the ball towards the goal.

The goalkeeper along with 4 other players, charges at me forming a human wall between me and the goal. I weigh my options quickly and decide to get in my super acrobatic skills into play (I acquired these skills while I was a super hero in Cambodia). I hold the ball in between my feet and perform a semi somersault. As a result, I am on both my hands and my legs are up with the ball caught between my feet. The next moment I toss the ball above the human wall using the momentum of my legs.

Everybody watches with bated breath as the ball clears the wall and soars into the goal post. A blanket of silence covers the stadium for a few seconds. The world has just witnessed an act of unprecedented athleticism. The crowd erupts into a victory roar and all my team mates rush to hug me. I acknowledge the crowd, I toss the ball and with all my might hit it to the stands…..

…… There is an unbearable pain in my right foot. The right big toe is throbbing and I am trying hard to stop a scream from escaping my mouth. As I slowly get back to my senses I realize that I had hit the wall next to my bed in full strength.

I missed the Gym and limped all day. The pain subsided but somehow the memory has refused to get diluted. I take it as my moral responsibility to apprise my readers with this because I have chosen to believe that this incident is only a harbinger of bigger things to come.

Also, please do not be appalled by the mention of international stars in the Indian football team. My extensive research of the dream tells me that this was probably because these are the only names I know from the world of football. My apologies to all football fans if I have hurt their sentiments in any way.

The Blah Man