‘I STILL REMEMBER…THE LUSH GREEN FIELD, BLUE STRETCH OF THE SKY, CHIRPING OF THE BIRDS.’
‘’Niky..pass the ball here!!! Nikyy….you defend so well!! Niky….you will have to be the goalkeeper today!! Yeeaah! Niky….so proud of you! Today we won because of you!’’
-These load announcements and callings in thunderous melancholy…still resound in my ears…still fresh voices and shouts that are etched in my mind. I can still hear them calling. I can still listen to those powerful voices soaked with astounding levels of energy and immediacy, those voices coming ominously from faces drenched in sweat, that heaviness within the atmosphere, I can still see as if it’s a permanent visual, of shedding harshness, strength, soul and sweat into the game, a game as if our life depends on it.
‘’The lush green field under the clear blue stretch of the sky with its omnipresence. The quirky and awakening sound of the chirping of birds.’’ The sun appearing as the big ball of fire, reflecting and making its influence felt at every inch down at all surfaces on earth, be it, a barren ground or the loaded grassy field. The freshness of the early morning breeze compelling the senses of alertness and readiness, the kindling excitement in the heart at the start of the game, the tension and heaviness that prevails throughout the course of the game, that limited space on the field with boundaries across, as if these boundaries will define the peripheral limits to the future endeavors of our lives.
As I peek out of my window, these clear images and visuals are in still felt and seen in front of my eyes.
The lush green field under the clear blue stretch of the sky with its omnipresence. The quirky and awakening sound of the chirping of birds.’’
Breaking the mystery of this swayed literature, my dear readers!, I am talking about my game. My favorite sport. This article is dedicated to the same. I was once called a ‘hockey player’ and well, truly, I was. I think I still am.
Yes. I have played hockey for three consecutive years in school. Although just in secondary school level, but at peeking and active childhood ages. When you have nothing to lose and no worries to gain at certainty. During those years, I was, what I remember, ‘a perfect student’. According to me, had a perfect life as well. Hockey, my sport, defining one of its primary objectives.
Every Friday, at DPS, we middle-school students had two activity periods, for which, I used to look forward since the start of every new week. In those activity periods, we had to choose any one activity of our choice, out of several ones, that we would continue to be our activity, every Friday. In the beginning, honestly, I had no idea. I chose hockey because my friend chose it too.! It wasn’t any special desire or thought I had, to be on the field. It just happened, as I mentioned, out of random choice. Little did I knew, that it will become my passion and today, at the age of twenty, I’ll still continue to miss it.
Hockey happened to me out of seamless and ceaseless consideration. It was not a dream, but it became my dream. The regular practices and matches on the field, test and practice ones, little and big matches, score or no score, hockey was a regularity in my life at that time. We were all girls in the team, girls from my batch, as well as, few seniors. Within an year of playful and basic practice with required knowledge of the game, learning the basic tactics, rules and techniques, I automatically became a defender. Again, defending didn’t happen out of choice or consideration. It just happened on its own. With regular practice and matches, under guidance, I slowly learnt how to play well on field. With weekly, and at times, if we were high on our excitement hormones, daily practices, we became used to the game. Our positions and roles also got decided and fixed. It was out-of-ease and convenience, as everyone of us, were good at something or the other.
Soon, it was my second year into hockey, and I, along with few other girls in my team, became fixed players for the club. We now used to come and play everyday, during our last free hour of school, popularly called as ‘zero period’ and also for the activity period.
Hockey by that time, became a big reason for me to de-stress on field and a regular exercise for the mind and body. It lent a contrast to the otherwise mundane and monotonous ‘four-walled classroom with the notebook and pen’. Although, this was the year, when I was a twelve-year old, which is a wonderful age to be, and was in class 7th and came second in my class overall academically. I was given my second scholar badge. Those were the times. Lovely times. Perfect student. Perfect life. as I’d mentioned.
Hockey experiences flourished even more. In 7th, I became the best defender in the team and was at times, made the goal-keeper too. With goal-keeping also, I remember, I had my fortunes. In one of our matches, I remember, I stopped the goal of the fastest forward attack, and that was from a senior. She smiled at me, after I stopped her goal, and said ‘acha khel rahi ho.’ I still remember her, because I was overwhelmed with joy when she, being a senior, complimented me, even though, its been so many years down the line, to this story, I still remember that.
Goal-keeping is directly from the conscience. It spells concentration and focus and with every goal I stopped, I realized my level of focus and confidence increasing bit by bit. When my team-mates and Sir, invested their trust and belief in me, that I’d make a good hockey player, that was when, I knew, I’d achieved something.
My third and last year into hockey, was when I was in standard 8th, and finally, this was the year I remember, when ‘Chak De India!’ had released. Well, it still continues to be my favorite movie, for obvious reasons, but I still remember, what revolution it had created amongst us! It was a breakthrough for our level of dedication for the game. It was a constant source of motivation to keep pushing hard. It was an inspiration as we girls in our team, had started imagining us as even better than those onscreen chak de girls!
My bliss with hockey ended soon and when it did, I suddenly realized as if I have no purpose left in life! That sudden departure off the green field was like a bereavement from the game. The classroom and books and only academics, can sometimes, leave you bereft and deserted. Especially if you had created a special world for yourself outside your books. It was high school time, when our activity periods got seized for us.
I still remember, what joy it gave me when I used to hold that heavy hockey stick in my hand, that itself was a feeling of achievement, that long, heavy stick, which I precariously and carefully learnt how to hold and balance in the beginning, the round and white ball moving across the field like a prized possession, our legs getting blue-black and swollen when time and again, we fell and got hurt during the game, I still remember, that loud roar from my team-mates calling out for me, we passing commands to each other to pass the ball, to stand here and there, the most amazing moment was when, once, they picked me up after we won the match because of my goal-keeping! …all this remains as fond memories in my heart and I can still see myself playing in that green field, I very profoundly miss hockey and remember everything about it, still.
I hadn’t given much thought to how good a player I was. Or I am. I hadn’t even given much thought to what I should play. How should I choose my game. Or should I even play something? As I now sit back on my chair and ponder on long-lost passions or the intricacies of childhood which made me the person I am today, I seldom realize that some past experiences and passions, some childhood habits, events, happenings, which became a part of our lives at some point of time, never really become long-lost passions. They can’t be lost. It is still my passion. It lives within my heart and mind. Everything is still so fresh and new, as if it all just happened only yesterday.
‘’As I peek out of my window, these clear images and visuals are in still felt and seen in front of my eyes. ‘’ But I’d liked to mend and change my above statement^,
‘’As now, I don’t need to peek out of my window. The clear images, visuals are felt fondly by my heart and can be seen before my eyes. I don’t need to peek out of my window. The lush green field under the clear blue stretch of the sky with its omnipresence. The quirky and awakening sound of the chirping of birds.’’
My GAME. MY HOCKEY.