Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Fifty-one and still batting?


Run, make a dash, wait for another
come back fast,
over the boundary and way way past
just eleven players harassed
from red to white balls
from the jhalmoori end to the soft drink stalls
cacophony of off-key bands
of keeping shine and the preen
from white to black screens
facial sun screens
from flannel trousers to track suits
from tennis shoes to spiked boots
from English gentlemen white
to multicolored hues of rainbow delight
from feather caps to grilled helmets
concrete pitch in indoor nets
weekend games – afternoon spectacles
night games with floodlit debacles
from unsane reason to
prime time television
folks here is a surprise for everyone
I have untrustingly made it to fifty-one!

At fifty-one on the crease
life’s game of cricket becomes more of a breeze
of taking things easy, head down and heels dug deep
to face two slips a gulley, a cover and an extra cover,
of a mid off, a mid on and some ‘deep fine legs’
and over the wicket ‘in comes the ball’
to familiar ‘crack’ of hook, drives or plain blocking
to shady biddings, unlikely timings and unfamiliar innings.

‘Sticky wickets’ do not cease
to beguile time on the crease
of unfair dismissals
of ducks and bouncers
of ugly googlies or yokers
or a ‘hook to the cover’
of being bumped off by chucking and stumpings
to be caught off the back foot
(actually stopping balls by the boot)
LBW – have not been able to figure it out yet
but then there is very little to fret
of being clean bowled at ‘duck’ to boos and laughter
await the morning press and all its slaughters!

At fifty-one there are usually applauses from the gallery
about making it though half a century
of unsteady expectations, slow steady hopes
needless to say, learnt the trick of the ropes
with hearts a thunder
body aches asunder
of a ‘definite maybe century’
that may turn out to be very boring
but then what the heck – its yet another inning?

Between ‘now and then’
maybe a time to think again
if life after all
will be a ‘dead ball’
or will I whiz past all of you
or continue to argue
number games are not meant
to assess your ascent
in time
but a onetime
pursuit of expecting a little more love
in that one special day of the year
in what otherwise would appear
another day, another night,
another second, another twilight
downright rites
in ones loving, living life?

Niketon, Dhaka : 16th September 2008

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