Vantage point

Sunday, February 08, 2004

He stood with his hands in his pocket, eyes scanning the skyline. Then he surveyed the very traffic that he had just battled through.

"Once a rat, always a rat!"

He said it out aloud, to no one in particular. Approaching the wall of his terrace he looked at the playground closeby. A hundred test matches were being played all at once. He remembered his own "career" on a playground just like that. When you were fielding in the wall-less labyrinth of cricketers and pitches, you often forgot which wicket your match was being played on. It took a bit of time to figure out if you were the midwicket, fine leg, long off or deep gully. He was never put close-in, so those positions never entered his consideration.

He took his hands off the wall and took a batting stance. He had wanted to be the next Gavaskar. He didn't. Tendulkar did.

A little way off the playground, he saw a medium size mob of people standing in a circle. Starining his eyes, he saw that some kids were performing a street-play on the ev of Republic Day. His mind went back to 8th Std when he performed in an interschool play. He would stand in front of a mirror and rehearse the dialogues for hour. He knew he could have the audience in splits with his comic portrayal of a drunk talking to himself in the mirror.

He smiled and wobbled around, trying to recall those lines. He wanted to be the next Amitabh. He didn't. Sharukh did.

He approached the wall of his terrace again. This time He climbed on it and stood up. Looking down, he wondered if it would hurt.

That's when his phone rang.

"What?....oh...ok, sir, yes sir, yes sir. Tomorrow morning at eight? Yes sir."

He climbed down from the wall and went inside his house.

"Once a rat, always a rat", he said it out aloud. to no one in particular.