I squinted to look at that finger trying to cut the atmosphere into two, close to my nose. My teacher, she was warning me against talking in class. Well, i was excited about my new cricket bat with Sachin's pic showing me the thumbs up, and i couldn't seem to stop talking about it.

Finally, the hour of joy - it was the sports hour and i ran out with my brand new bat. All my classmates gathered around and we all hi-fi ed agreeing that Sachin was the right choice, i was glad I dint pick up the bat with x's pic on it. This commotion seemed to add more colour to the already sun burnt red face of my PT instructor, he blew his whistle hard and pointed at the far end corner of the field where i was to leave my bat, had he worded the same in a single 'GO!' I would be blown in the direction to exactly where he wanted me to land, probably looking like a wizard on a bat (wow! how cool), the whistle made a good attenuator. I ran and left it out there, continued, with the day's sport which was basket ball and this was great fun, though i did sneak a look at my abandoned bat once in a while until basketball completely took over. I almost forgot about the bat, Riyaz who was longing to hold it - handed it to me with gratuitous smile for my forgetfulness., he gave me the 'o' with his fingers which meant 'first class'. I grew up with a special longing for this bat, which ebbed and fell depending on Sachin's career., and so did my interest in the game.

I can recollect the years so far as a collage of hand signs, (was I ‘deaf and dumb’? ) –

As a teenager, the large number of 'rock signs' (cattle like hand sign), the guy whose face i forget but whose heavily tattooed hand and that hand i cannot seem to forget, i did try my luck at guitar for a while...thought i wanted to be a rock star. That resolve was probably ice rock - it melted away in no time.

And then the so called turning point - when i had to make a career choice i remember my dad showing me the door 'coz i said wanted to study arts. Anyways after a lot of coaxing i did take up arts (journalism) and i ran, i ran in all directions that i was pointed to, in directions that called and stopped where i was signaled to. Celebrities, people and real issues, parties, politics, calamities, and finally news! As rights and wrongs were drawn in air, as rights and wrongs were edited and erased, as rights and wrongs came with a few strings attached, weighed and packaged..., i walked back into my room after a day of emotional and ethical turmoil, guilty, helpless and angry - one glimpse at my bat which was a little ragged now the face almost fading away and but the smile looked real for the first time, it seemed evil and contrived.

No more i thought.., so no more smiling faces and lashing fingers., i finally showed them my *&^%$# finger, walked out - feeling free for the first time.


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