The River's appetite
Three hours later, half way through the ride, Rutsy comforted my leaned back into a pillow as I wondered the ethereal marvel of zipping greenery at the back seat. Chotu (Russy) drived crazy as our heads banged in sync to infinity. A few hours into the commitment I realized that my bottom got wet in the puddle of mud I just slid taking a one handed catch. After the rapture of laughter that echoed in the rain drenched golf course, and as the canceled game got to an end, I realized "How the hell that I'm the only one whose white pants look like a brown dalmatian while the rest's, who inspite of diving equally and probably rolling good have a white sky in their attire?" Some rotten luck it was - I fretted.
A few hours later as I wiped the left over mango pudding from the utensil that was ravaged by the rest of the team, my flickering bulb had a surge of voltage. One hour after I bid farewell to the team, walking about a mile wearing my dalmatian pants (with my butt portion outlining pangaea), snoozing through a boring drive, I witnessed his flamboyant seating posture exactly pictured like what my mom used to show in the photograph she took when I was 3. A 'ahem ahem' met my eyes and there he jumped from the couch onto the nearby coffee table and jumped with an assurance of a catch and monkey hugged me. "Hi Jay" was all I communicated as he replied with "Haaaaari.... Mees u"
After the dusk dazzled the city lights, I parked the SUV through the street I always wanted to keep as a surprise for something/someone special. Reflecting on my family's taste for curiosity, I rightly told Jay, "Jay! We'll play basketball once we go home. Now, give me the ball and hold my hands. We don't want to lose the ball... OKay??" Jay's reply was a firm offer of the ball followed by a tight hold of my palm as we walked down the stairs to the riverwalk. About a yard from the ebbing river, he just pulled the ball of my grasp and threw it right into the river. As I got concerned on his act that might slowly turn into a feel of stupid guilt, he proved me otherwise. Pulled me towards the river, asked me to sit, snuggled into my hug of protection from falling into the river, sat cute on my lap, and looked at the floating moving ball and waved his hand to say, "Bye bye baaaaaaall..." followed by a british accented "Tah taah". A smiling uncle's joy was continued in showing him shapes in stars, shouting blinky blinky blinky to a cell phone towers red light, listening to the splash of the river with the bank, drawing the skyline of the city with a rock on a concrete floor, bellowing quack quack to the river ducks and meow meow to the strange cat that followed us throughout our walk just made the time quality of a rembrance. I ended up being a better son by teaching my nephew to say his grandma back in India the words, "Enti grandma" (what grandma in telugu) through the phone. The rest of the night was spent qualitively with my bro who tag-teamed with his son to tickle me to laughing death and watching Jay sleep cutely with his butt flagging high in the air....
The early morning drive back to the weekend second game enticed me with a sunrise (which I missed and had forgotten big time) in spite of the brawl I had with dad for not understanding the gravity of what and why I missed a friends birthday. Somehow the sunset calmed my nerves too soothing that I had my first 'under run a ball' strike rate on a winning game. To the teams awe, I stayed for half the stipulated innings play making the victorious path in a serene mood. The game was so special to the team that for the first time 26 players, a dozen cricket supporters, and a few american fans, witnessed the marvel of my continuing bad luck. As I hit the low full toss through the covers, I felt the lightening of the handle slowly taugting to pull the broken bat which was plummeling towards my helmetless head from about 12 feet high. As the bruise flew sparrows and humming birds circling my head, I realized that I broke the bat. Strange thing - I still held my favorite bats handle iron clasped.
The post win discussion teaming into a sarcastical mockery on the ex-captain (guys - what's so special abt me that you guys never give up pulling my leg around) just kept me go 'your wish is my command master'. Half hour into the session, Chotu - my closest under grad friend who at times devoured me for silencing out his start 20's life (strangely this guy takes my silence as an answer to his confusing questions. He never understands that he answers his own questions in his own way, but lauds me for giving him the answer..), smilingly pokes me with his insightful remarks. Without specialization, he crossed over the line by representing the single most cursed flaw of my life into the argument. Being a human, I blurted beyond my control but got glued to a backing car (thanks to my ug senior turned grad jr who knows my anger from ug days). The next 45 mins was all silence as I analyzed and re-analyzed every possible insinuating path that turned me into what I self-despise.
As I was dropped back in the home ground to do a neutral umpiring job with our alias team, I noticed Chotu walking towards me in his usual spin-the-key-chain walk style. Before even he apologized, I apologized and told him the past's intrusion in aggravating my mood. A few questions made him say, "Accha hai re. Ab toh sab khalaas hai na" for which I truthed, "I don't think so". His reaction was a few calls that made the senior players of the entire team bro over me that ended up in a few drinks and pizza. They missed the old captain and sweared me into returning back along with the ever funny # 1 most asked entertaining umpire in three states. I guess, it was the physical drain followed by the crunching meta physical brawl with dad and Chotu and a few feelings of rotten luck shadowing my back, that I went asking for the 1-800- number to rant a hell lot on a dead tired drowsy insomniac day.
Three nights later, I believe that a curse turned gift is still a blessing to the needed. Sometimes a silverline is just a traced path of a bullet. I know I can't throw the ball into the river and give it a "Tah Taah", but that doesn't imply that I can't put it in my closet. Guess, it's finally time to call dad and NOT say, "There's nothing happening here. You say something".