A wooden sword in hand, cape tied on, Arya woke up from a difficult night of sleep. He immediately knew what he had to do today, doubt evaded him. The glimmer in his eye could have inspired soldiers to win wars or dinosaurs to nuke the meteor that killed them. He felt as if he was born just today and with a singular purpose.
His mother, with a glass of milk in hand, was his biggest obstacle now. He jumps to the left & then to the right, holding his cape & covering his face, his mother skips to stop him in his path each time. But alas, a mother’s persistence could beat acts of God to pulp, and he was but a mere child. He gives up and gets the glass of milk from her. Half a glass down and there is a knock on the door. It was Shabaaz, his comrade & closest friend, exactly the person he needed to win the war he woke up today to fight.
Arya & Shabaaz have been friends since they were 4, rarely left each others side and as inseparable as Batman & his mask. Half the milk down his shirt & another half gulped down, Arya wipes his mouth and tackles his mother one last time successfully, rushing now gallantly towards his ally. Arya & Shabaaz looked at each other, they were warriors, so they just knew what the other had to say and tacitly agreed that they had to win today.
They rushed. Capes fluttering in the wind, dust dispersing hither & thither under their feet, in unison. At 7, you would think that having such clarity in what Arya needed to achieve was unimaginable. While, the other boys engaged in foolery, he preferred spending his time practicing his favorite game, Kancha or Gotti, as some call it. As simple as a game of targeting marbles with fingers sound, there is a high level of precision and mastery required to target a less than 1cm radius sphere at another that's around a meter away. The images in Arya's head, as he approached the game huddle, were only about his practice sessions.
They finally arrive.
“Hold on to your marbles!” Arya says.
A group of children, aged 5 to 10, huddled around a roughly drawn circle on a barren floor, were startled by this roar like the noise that resonated inside their heads. They turn around and there stands our prince. The scene was perfect and just out of Arya’s favourite movie - Krrish. His cape flowing in the light breeze and total silence that had just encompassed around him. The children cleared up space for Arya and he stepped forward. Now he was looking straight down at the screaming eyes of his arch enemy and rival marble player, Arjun.
“I was waiting for you, Arya. What’s with the cape, wanted enough clothes to cover you face when you lose today.” Arjun said, mockingly.
The sledging had started. This day was big, as big as an Australia versus England Lord’s test match or as thrilling as Federer versus Nadal on the clay court. Today was the day, the Kancha match between Arya & Arjun would be written in the history books of Tinsel Town in red. Arya was planned to take the sledging with apt responses of his own. He knew that a winner is always prepared.
Arya looks intently into Arjun’s eyes and says, in the boldest tone he could muster, with the slightest lisp in his voice he could not grow out of, “The world is not big enough for the both of us, its you or me today. Let’s play!”
(To be continued...)
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