A Promising Abandonment


Munna was nervously excited. His village team’s right wing back was indisposed, owing to misbehaving tummy! After warming the benches for the past few years, Munna was about to step into the field to represent his village in their battle with the arch-rivals, who had this unpleasant habit of beating them with monotonous regularity! His dream was about to come true finally! In his dreams, Munna used to be the Rock of Gibraltar, against whom, all opposition attacks lost their form and turned into meek submission! Today, Munna was determined to show his mettle. Unfortunately, his team mates and coach did not share his vision of himself. To them, he was a liability, who was at best good at hacking people down, and getting summarily sent off in a matter of minutes. Today was more of a compulsion for the team to field him, as, owing to the outbreak of Malaria in the village, they were severely short of reserve players.

The Coach took Munna aside and instructed him to focus only on the opposition left winger, and make sure, he was contained! Munna, in his exuberance, assured the coach that he would definitely bring him down, every time he came within 5 meters of him! The coach did not seem too enthused with the idea! In a steely voice, he warned him that if he commits any foul, which gets him sent off, this would be the last match he would play! Deflated Munna meekly promised that he would make sure, their team won’t lose.

The match started in earnest, and Munna soon started realizing that the gap between his dream and the reality was widening by the minute! The opposition seemed to have targeted him, and were intent on turning him from Rock of Gibraltar to Gateway of India! The left winger was proving to be a handful for Munna! He was fast, and to top that, had a squint (Looking London, talking Tokyo!!). Hence, looking at his eyes to figure out which way he was thinking of moving was proving to be futile. Munna had to unceremoniously hit the ground on several occasions, in attempts to dissuade the left winger to go past! For some reason, today was proving to be even more difficult, as most of the opposition passes were directed towards the left winger, and hence, Munna was being harassed to no end. The match was almost reaching the half-time, and Munna’s team were already down by 3 goals!

Suddenly a stray ball came towards Munna! From the corner of his eyes, he could see the left winger moving at full throttle towards the ball as well. But since Munna was nearer to the ball, he fancied his chances to get to the ball first and kick it out of play! But as luck would have it, Munna slipped, courtesy, a fresh stinking pile of cow-dung! The slip initiated a slide towards the ball! Just before he could touch it, another feet came from no-where, and hooked the ball over his legs! The ball was followed by the fluttering red trunk of the scheming left winger! At that moment, Munna realized that there was no one between him and the goal, and if he allowed the ball to pass, they would be down 0-4! In desperation, he lunged towards the ball with outstretched hand, risking the ire of the Referee. Unfortunately, the ball was past, and he could only grab the red-trunk! What followed was a hilarious disaster! The left winger had very little time to decide what was more important to him, the ball or his own decency! The time it took for him to decide, hastened the slide of the trunk towards his knees, leaving him in an unenviable position, which could only be salvaged, if he hit the ground as well! As he did so, the already disturbed pile of cow-dung had another company! While the “dunged” duo were trying to find their feet, the dung itself was not yet done! Hence another wide-spangled fall in a heap.

While Munna and the Left Winger were engaged in this act of “who can fall first”, the referee was trying to understand, who the offender was! He had missed out on “grabbing the trunk” act! He only saw Munna falling, and the left winger falling over Munna. The duo’s struggle to be on their feet gave an impression of a wrestling match, which, the referee was determined to stall! As he rushed, towards the site of commotion, he unceremoniously fell prey to the conniving pile, which, owing to its over-usage was at its effervescent worst! Now with three people involved in the “Struggle for Independence”, other players on the pitch got alarmed. From a distance, it looked like a fight! Abiding by the “laws of brotherhood”, they dutifully started fighting each other! The spectators soaked in the atmosphere and decided to join in as well. In no time, the playground transformed into a battleground.

Munna somehow extracted himself from this melee! The dung had done one good! It had transformed him beyond recognition. The match was as good as over! He had kept his word! He made sure that his team would not lose! So what, if his cause was helped by the benevolent “Go-Mata” (Cow) who decided to bless the ground with her excreta! While the excreta created excruciating pain in the opposition, Munna trotted back home, preparing for a new set of dreams!



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