Continued from Part 2: Arjun the Contender...
Arya set his wooden sword back into his belt and bent down to settle himself into position. Like most great champions, Arya had his superstitions. Left leg knee went down first, then switch to right leg knee. In Arya’s eyes the world looked different. His world was now the scene of a live colosseum, where gladiators fought for glory. In his ears, the sounds of murmuring children around him were like a 100,000 strong crowd willing him on, to kill at will.
Shabaaz stood by Arya, pumping him up. “You were made for this! Focus on this moment. Fly like a butterfly & sting like a bee.”, encouragingly Shabaaz said to Arya. Both highly driven followers of Muhammad Ali.
While Arya had his superstitions and Shabaaz, Arjun had his younger brother, Virat, by his side. Virat never left Arjun’s side. Virat was 3 and a bunch of energy and seemed to always hunt for trouble. Arjun found it comforting to have his brother by his side and out of trouble. Virat loved the attention from his brother & enjoyed his self-adopted role as lead cheerleader for Arjun. In a match, Virat would string together all his known words to find new cheers to inspire and drive Arjun to victory.
Virat’s simplest cheer was, “Kill him!” and Arjun knew it was clobbering time.
The conditions were just right for the epic match, the mid-November morning sun was at a cool 25 degrees Celsius. Nature was seemed to be in full attendance to engage in the match. The sun played hide & seek with the clouds. While the Sun sided with Arya, the clouds sided with Arjun. The birds went silent around, keenly perching on nearby electric & cable wires right above the match area. A few stray dogs hung around, because Arya was a good friend to them. The dogs pitted for Arya and the birds pitted for Arjun. The only neutral play was by the light chilly breeze, it allowed just enough for the Kancha’s to get an opportune spin advantage & tested each player's resolve to stay in the game.
Both players were highly technical in their game. While Arya had his rebound trick shots to get 2 or more Kancha’s out of the game, Arjun had his long shots mastery that helped him get out of tough spots with ease. The refinement these boys had in this simple game could impress anyone with half an interest to step in and be lost in the quirkily named shots like:
- I-am-Don shot: A shot that hit or moved at least 3 contender marbles out of place.
- Arjun’s-Vengeance: A slight spin induced shot, special to Arjun, where the Kancha being shot swerved around one Kancha to hit another.
- Arya-takes-it-all: Arya’s finisher shot, where he takes 2 Kancha’s at the last shot
Our players were just ready, but there was one last piece of this game missing. Right then, the heads of all the little boys around the huddle, including Arjun & Arya turn to realise a reckoning presence, there was Radhika.
Radhika determinedly walks into the arena and says, “Today you fight for greatness. Let there be no doubt!”, she has her hands on her hips and head held high, “Win or forever leave the game!”
(To be continued ... Part 4: Radhika's best Men)