“There’s no money in women’s cricket, hence, no future.”
“IPL’s glamorous business is playing in your head, which is but only for men”
“Ever heard of any woman cricketer or broadcast of an international match? They’re all oblivious”
One after the other, this pessimism made the road ahead marshy for her and subsequently with every step, Adira feared submerging in this bog.
And just like everyone who failed to understand Robert Frost’s conjecture in his eloquent work, “The Road not taken”, so did she but here on purpose.
When the great poet quipped:
“And I took the one less travelled by,
And that’s made all the difference…”
He rang bells of sarcasm on every individual who’s more or less a part of the mob, yet when interrogated will always mention his great struggle through a difficult path and thereby, claiming indelible triumph in his/her own eyes.
Anyway, doodling in the chemistry class, poking her face out from the window in the physics class and a sunken head sealed with ambitions in computer class; Adira stayed perennially consumed in her own thoughts after that deft “NO” she’d received from her father. This was her class 12 and certainly, Indian parents hardly take this academic session with a pinch of salt let alone playing cricket simultaneously.
Eyes welled up night after night as the pillows grew moist with grief only her heart knew. Even today, she can’t recapitulate a single moonlit sky which didn’t give her sleep out of dreariness. Dreariness as a byproduct of incessant tears and frothful fears. Every morning that she got up, her feet trembled while getting down from bed. They were shy of crashing on the floor while standing… They were incapable of carrying her own weight now.
But she was adamant. Adamant for not becoming a granny who whines about life offered her lemons, when she sought peaches. Those tanned pages of every book she’d read in past on meticulous struggle, uncountable sacrifices on the path to glory and the will to adhere in every given circumstance kept her alive.
Adira wanted to be Adira.
So she survived this woeful academic session, secured admission in a college and now thought to give a second shot to her passion. She was worried whether her parents would allow her to play cricket this time around or not. Energy to fight more battles at home had almost drained in the past two years. So she put this little clandestine in her belly and hit another cricket field.
Life in this new second home was different. Here, she met a huge variety of players. From the ones who were just playing because they took admission under sports quota to the ones who’d traveled from their villages to a metro like Delhi in search of better facilities, exposure, and recognition. Every girl here had her own story which is quite usual but still felt magical.
Adira had saved quite a few bucks over the recent years such that she could afford coaching fees, cricketing whites and shoes. She spent the initial few months borrowing cricket kit from her peers and often missed college to reach the ground.
Realities were appearing to converge with her expectations as she played quite a few inter-college matches and many practice games. But, she started realizing that she can’t go really far by playing this hide and seek game at home.