"Hari! take up your usual position", shouted the trainer. Hari grudgingly walked up to his position, a few yards in front of his goal. These days, when he hears these words, he is reminded of the cruel fact that just an year ago, his usual position used to be somewhere near the opponent goal. When he had first joined the school last year, he was quickly elevated to the star striker status. True, it was just a primary school football team comprising of 11-10 year olds. But each member of the team took the whole issue very seriously. In fact, the whole school took their football team very seriously. It was one of the few good things that they could boast of. He was unanimously considered the best player last year. When exactly did things take a turn for the worse, he couldn't figure out now. From being the captain and the primary striker of the team, he was now fighting for his place in the team, that too for the position of a 'lowly' defender as he considered it.
"It is so unfair", he kept repeating to himself as he was waiting for the practice match to start. He had often complained about the unfairness of it all to his father in the last few months. He recollected his father's words. "There is no concept of fairness in life, my boy. So what if you aren’t doing as well in football now? You are still the top ranker in your class, you are still the best speaker among your classmates, you are still the best badminton kid in the colony, you are still the best dancer in the school!! And yeah, you are still the most popular kid that I know". His father had said that last sentence with a wink referring to the numerous girls of his class who kept frequenting his house on one reason or another. His father's reply had succeeded in making him smile then, but did not diminish his fervour to do well in football. It wasn’t sufficient for him that he was the best in some. He wanted to be the best in all of them.
He looked up at the orange sun. He had been playing football every evening, for the whole of past few months, but hasn’t been able to improve. He quietly resolved that he would succeed today. Today's practice match was quite important as at the end of it, the coach would choose the school team for a major match next week which they would be playing against their 'arch-rivals', the school adjacent to theirs. Hari resolved, that not only would he defend well as he is expected to, he would also score a goal.
The twilight was fading quickly. 5 minutes left for full-time, Hari was growing desperate by the second. His team was down 2-0. He knew that all his team members would be blaming him for letting in both the goals. While the first one could be attributed to an unfortunate stroke of luck, he couldn’t ward off blame for the second goal. He had practically gifted away the ball to the goal scorer. Hari realised that the only way to salvage his position in the school team would be to score a goal now. A goal in the dying moments always does wonders to the reputation of the goal scorer. The players of the other team were making many inroads into their penalty area while his team members were defending desperately. Hari notices that the player running towards him with the ball is Balu. He remembers that this guy was first enlisted in the team when Hari was the captain, as a substitute incase Hari gets injured. Now, while Balu is assured of the center forward position, Hari is being forced to compete for a defender position. Angered by this thought, Hari rushes towards Balu, tackles him efficiently without a foul and dribbles the ball in the other direction. Pleased with his effort, Hari now looks in front of him, concentrating on the task ahead. He would have to score a goal now. He is at the middle of the ground now. The forwards of his team are waiting expectantly for a pass. But, Hari puts his head down and continues dribbling his way forward. "I have to score the goal myself", he tells himself. Suddenly, something strikes him and before he knows it, he is lying on the ground, with the ball nowhere to be seen. He looks back just in time to see the ball enter hit the back of the net. His team had conceded yet another goal. He is being glared at by every player of his team. He could even hear some sniggers. Soon, the final whistle is blown.
Hari doesn’t wait to listen to the coach's verdict. He already knows that he is out. He packs his bag and starts walking back to his home. He concludes that he couldn’t possibly feel any worse than he did now. He reaches home, dumps his bag in a corner of his room and falls on the bed with his dirty clothes on, ignoring the shouts of his mother. He turns to look at his shelf full of trophies, many of them products of his previously excellent dribbling skills. He turns away and smiles. Sadly at first, the smile slowly grows larger and brighter. Suddenly, he gets up and stretches his body and jogs his way to the kitchen. He is very pleased with himself now. He had just realized that he no longer cared. He no longer cared about football. Munching on the hot bhajjis and just having a weight cleared of his mind, he looked forward to the daily evening violin lessons that he would be joining tomorrow.
1. This is the 200th post on this blog ... whew!!
2. Why is the protagonist's name Hari?
Ans. When I was in primary school, and we used to have to create sentences (as in 'He is a good boy'), everyone generally used 'Rama' as the default proper noun while I used to use 'Hari' ... for obvious reasons :D.
3. Does this story have a moral or something?
Ans. eh?? /:)
4. Any copyrights?
Ans. All copyrights are held by the author i.e me, mythalez. Producing parts or whole of this work in any form is prohibited without the prior permission of the author.
5. Why in the hell, did you write this?
Ans. Was bored, tired and had nothing better to do. So thought, I would type out a story. It turned out to be this one.