I’m off jogging in a small back alley near my Dad’s place. Beyond the point of concrete jungles is a little bit of wilderness, a patch yet unclaimed by the city. They were lined with the usual — wild growth, marshy dumping grounds, shanties, a few farm house type places and a couple of eateries that had fancy names ending with Cafe or resort. Clearly the owners had a wild imagination to pass off highway dhabas as cafes & resorts! I turned a corner and heard familiar words.
“Pass! Pass!! Pass!!!”
I stopped my run (read, slow jog) and took in the scene. In the middle of this dump someone had gone ahead and made a football pitch. I looked at the facilities — nets on all sides, turf ground, water stands, benches, properly netted goal posts. All around, vehicles were parked, nothing too fancy, not too down market either.
I looked through the nets. There were about 4-5 players aside. All kitted up, fav club jerseys, pads, branded studds – the works. Some older than the others, playing to a plan — maneuver, pass, tackle, play & score. Why they even had a ball/water boy who would grab a multi-coloured sipper, pass it to the player who needed it. Then the player would be back in all seriousness.
I took a last look before I jogged (okay walked, Happy!) on as the thought nagged me — all this was very impressive, especially in these parts of the woods, but something didnt feel right. In a bit I forgot about it.
Till i came across a couple of puppies playing with a doll.
They were stray puppies, muck on their feet, dirt on their bellies from rolling around. The doll was ragged and torn to shreds as one of them kept shoving it in his mouth and threw it away when the other one grabbed at it. They ran behind it together and began all over again. The portion of the road they were playing had potholes, a gutter flowed next to it, they would rear each other into the thorny bushes unmindful. They were at it, not a care in the world Like us as kids playing football — they were happy.
I smiled & walked away whistling, a bad ‘Waka Waka’ tune on my lips.