INTRODUCTION - PAGE 1
CHAPTER 1 - PAGE 1
CHAPTER 2 - PAGE 1
CHAPTER 3 - PAGE 1
CHAPTER 4 - PAGE 2
CHAPTER 5 - PAGE 2
CHAPTER 6 - PAGE 3
CHAPTER 7 - PAGE 3
CHAPTER 8 - PAGE 4
Chapter 9 - page 4
HIT WICKET MY HEART 2.0
INTRODUCTION TO THE PLOT & Authors Note
Arnav Singh Raizada is 27 years of age rakishly handsome, and the Captain of the Indian Cricket Team. He has been playing for the country since the age of 17 , the first two years with the Under 19 Team and then in the Indian Men's Cricket team, the first four years as the Vice Captain and has been the Captain for the Country since the age of 25.Cricket is not just a sport for him but it is also His Life.He is very dedicated to the Sport and pours his heart and soul into and continues to do so.
He Emerges from the affluent Raizada family of Lucknow, and he has a very happy home.He has a two siblings – who are twins and Akash and Anjlai and are two years younger to him.He has no interst in the family business and he has made it very clear to his family, that the Raizada family business is what is meant for Akash and not for him.But however because he has been a professional player for so long , he has a very strong individual net worth itself.
Coming to the Matters of the Heart – he has had only one relationship in the past which went on for five months but it didnt end well (his partner ended up cheating on him)and that did hurt him,and he was glad that he got to know the truth before he fell in love.He has never been in Love,and now because of this experience , he has decided to keep away from it all for good and just focus on the love for the games.
Khushi Gupta is 20 years of age, and hails from a well to do business class family from Lucknow.The Love for sports was in her blood since her mother had been an excellent swimmer and competed for India as well on international events, however, at a very young age of 10, she had realised that it wasn't swimming as a sport that she wanted to pursue her career in, but Cricket.(A sport which was Life is the Gupta household – thanks to her father and elder brother – Rahul who was five years elder to her)
Her family has always been supportive and encouraging to her Love for Cricket, and all her dedication and gruelling hard work had finally paid off when she got selected to lead her Domestic Team in the Major Domestic Under-19 Tournaments in the country.She was an all rounder – and hence very soon her talent had been recognised by the board and she has Now safely earned herself a position in the official playing order for the Indian Women Cricket Team, as well.
However it does get very overwhelming and demotivating for the women players in country ,where peoples Love for any sport, specially cricket for that matter clearly overweighs the spectrum towards the male counterparts.But despite the dominant love for patriarchy in the world of cricket, her Love for the game is still very much a driving force for her commitment and passion.And she does to look at it positively and observes the game of the Men's Cricket team very closely in order to learn from them, and she does especially look upto the India Captain- ASR for inspiration. She had been a big fan of his game too ever since she started playing cricket and his journey from the Under 19 to being the Captain of the Indian Cricket Team is inspirational to her.
Now Coming to the Matters of the Heart – she has never had the time for it, for all her teenage life has been dedicated to Sports and she is very much a tomboy in every way when it comes to the heart, however thanks to her genetics she is blessed with a beautiful face, but because shes a professional player and half her Life is anyway involved in the sweat of the sport – she keeps away from these matters because she feels that no one would want to date a girl who is hidden behind the helmets and the sweats of the sporty jersey that is her Life.
Destiny Strikes and their paths cross and they come face to face to realise that there is one thing that is a fierce core common to both – and that is The Love for Cricket.However as the encounters continue and the MOMENTS around them start converging into common worlds narrowing down to revolving around Same Worlds – Same Lives- Same Love for the Game –Theory ; there is still a discovery that clean bowls them both and that is their own apprehensions about the Matters of the Heart.
So much is Similar and yet So much is apart- will Arnav and Khushi be able to carve out a path towards each other and realise that sometimes, all that matters is the Love that has the power to – HIT WICKET THE HEART.??????????????
tadaaa!! Guys i am also Posting this FF in the New Fan Fiction Forum as well. Can choose to read it either here or there.
I have already updated Chapters 1, 2, and 3 there..will be just posting it Here Too.Edited by LifeDramaFicTns - 2 days ago
IMPORTANT TIMELINE DISCLAIMER
THE TIMELINE’S IN OUR STORY ARE GOING TO BEDATED SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT FROM THE PRESENT 2020!!
I ALSO POST THIS STORY ON MY WATTPAD AND THE NEW FF SECTION HERE IN FF.(please PM me for my Wattpad details incase you all want to read it there..)
The Story Begins – in the Beginningof Year 2019 (Because the Year 2019- and earlier bit of the present 2020 have been very crucialtowards the development and progress of Women’s Indian Cricket Team – apartfrom also being another crucial year for the Men’s Cricket Team)
And I am also choosing it to begin in2019.. Because I want to keep up the little similar tradition from Hit Wicket1.0 and that’s the reason why the first meeting date of Arnav and Khushi , inthis version of Hit Wicket 2.0 shall also be 16th Feburary,2019 – **happywinks**!!
However as the Story and the plot isgoing to be Totally Different even though the fictional timelines Coincide withour precious Hit Wicket 1.0 – so you can kind of Imagine this to be a DifferentVersion of Hit Wicket running in a parallel Universe of our Imagintaions…
Please ignore editing errors – as Ihave not Proofread!
And I shall now let you all dive inwithout Further Delay
EPISODE 1 – THE BASIC ‘PITCH’ OF MYLIFE
On a Flight,En-Route London
I look up instantly at my brotherAkash, as I spot him gesturing me to me that he’d be back at his seat after alittle stroll around and I shoot him a happy grin and thumbs up, and return myattention to the Documentary that I was indulging in on the Screen in front offme.
I want to pause on the Documentary.
I think I want to pause on this andtake a couple of minutes to just resoak and relax over the fact that I wasfinally taking a little time off. Like I was actually in the middle of it, forReal and not Imagining about it in my Head.
Guys – what can I say???
I have had my hands full – Work Wisefor a Long Long Time.
Hello to You All.
Lets get the Introductions Done withFirst?
My Name : Arnav Singh Raizada.
Age : 27 years 9 months.
From : Well,Technically my family is fromLucknow,India.But my family shifted base to New Delhi for the family business expansion purposes, even before Iwas born – and we’v all been living in Delhi since then. My mother’s side of thefamily still lives in Lucknow though.
Family : I most definetly would like togive a brief glimpse into my close knit intimate family circle before I get totalking about what I do for a living, professionaly – for two reasons. Thefirst and the most important being the fact that I absolutely love my family tobits, and second being that – I wouldn’t be where I am today, without thesupport and love of my Family. With the grace of God, I am blessed to have avery very Happy Home – and our close knit family comprises of mygrandmother,Subhadra Singh Raizada(we are all very close to her), my firstheroes – my loving parents, Abhimanyu and Reva Singh Raizada, myself and my twin siblings who are two yearsyounger to me , Akash and Anjali. And in addition to a very closely knit familyof us 6, we have a very close equation with my Bua (dad’s twin sister) and herfamily too and also my Moms side of the family in Lucknow.
Thank You God, for Blessing me withSuch a Wonderful Family.
Now, coming to the Introductions withregards to my Profession.
Profession : Professionally, I am a Cricketer.And Cricket is not just a Game for Me, its more like the First, Eternal Love ofmy Life. Jersey Playing No – 21. Always played with just that No – in everyformat, since the beginning of my Career.
And to be honest, being able to playfor my Country, is like a Dream Come true for Me. Because ever since I couldhold a bat as a child, all I wanted to do was Bat all day, and dream to dawnthe Blue Jersey for India one day. And I was very lucky that my parents spottedthe cricketing talent in me at a very young age, and encouraged me to followand pursue my love for the game throughout my nascent years. And as I grew up,I obviously started my professional cricketing stint through DomesticCricket,and I used to play for the Delhi team and North Zone respectively,before I got selected into the Under 19- National Squad, which kind off becamea turning point for me as I was trusted with the opportunity to lead the Under19 National Team – in the U-19 ICC Men’s World Cup.We won the tournament, andever since then – things just kind off accelerated for me.I was chosen torepresent India in the National playing 11, and the young me then was alsogiven the opportunity to play with our legendary seniors in the 2011 ICC WorldCup Squad.And you all would already know that India won the ODI World Cup after18 years in a thrilling World Cup victory at the Wankhede over Sri Lanka on 2ndApril, 2011. That truly was and still is one of the most Monumental moments forme as a Indian cricketer, as I got to be a part of a History - alongside allsenior legends of the Game.
My Golden Captain – Dev and his faithin my game and me moving on from there,along with the trust and motivation fromour Coaches and support team always encouraged me to keep challenging myselfand strive to keep going at improving my game and techniques, and very soon thegrit and determination to give it my all, backed by my immense love and passionfor the game, made me earn a secured position in India’s top batting orderalong with the Vice Captaincy. A couple of smooth cricketing years followeddown the line for me personally and the team too. Hoever,in a surprising orrather shocking turn of events, amidst our tour of Australia in between of aTest Series in 2017, my hero -Our Captain Dev announced his decision ofretiring from Test Cricket, and I was handed over the Test Captaincy of TeamIndia in January 2017, a little over two years Ago.
To be honest, it was overwhelming.Extremely overwhelming to step into My Captains shoes, at first – because he’salways been my Hero, my Inspiration, the only Captain that I played under, andnow all of a sudden i had to adapt to His Role, but thankfully he was there toguide me through it at every step whenever I seeked guidance. And because ofour close equation both on and off field, I was able to embrace the challengingrole, Cap,the board, the selectors had entrusted me with in the longest formatof the Game .Eventually in that year forward, as our Test Rankings in the ICCtable improved , Cap would keep giving me hints that he was going to bestepping down from the shorter formats Captaincy soon too, and would alwaysencourage me to get myself ready to embrace the next challenge that was comingmy way. I worked very hard in that year both game wise and mentally too, toprep myself for the fact that there could be a possibility that I would begiven the opportunity to lead India, in all formats soon. And that’s whateventually Happened too. Last year, January 2018 was when Cap Dev stepped downfrom Captaincy in ODI and T20 formats as well, handing me the reins of leadershipof the Indian Cricket Team in all Formats.
And Hence– Here I am today.
The Current Captain of the IndianCricket Team.
I would like to thank my stars though that Cap,is still playing in the Team, because I still have so so so much to learn fromhim. I literally learn from him every day. He is kind off like a entire Cricket Sports Academy on his Own.Ikeep telling him that. There is no one who knows the game, better than Him. Iso very often seek his guidance on the field after taking over as Captain,aswell in the middle of the game too , as my gut guides me and he has always beenthere for me, and for the Team, and for India.
On that note – We the Men in Blue,are a very very close knit unit, and that’s kind of the reason why this entiretransition of the Captaincy from Cap to Me , happened so smoothly. On apersonal level, I get along with everyone on the team mostly, for its veryimportant for me as a Skipper to have that cordial respectful bond with everyplayer so that we always flow in One Sync as a Team on the Field. But yes outof the entire unit, I have very strong personal close equations with Cap Dev,both our star openers Rohan and Shiv,our ace bowler Ravi, and our middle orderall -rounder Veer.
Rohan is also our Vice Captain.
I am a little extra close to bothRohan and Ravi, also because off a little personal twist coming in to thecontext because of the fact that my brother Akash is dating Rohan’s sister,Payal and Ravi is dating Noor, who is my first cousin.(She is my Bua’s daughter)
So now that I brought up the Topic ofDating – I would like to add another introductory personal detail in Here.
My Current Relationship Status – Single.
I have been Single for the last sixmonths , and I think I want it to Stay that way, for now and just focus all myenergies into the Game.
To be Honest, until about a year ago,I never had been in any steady relationship at all.Not even One – for Real. Sountil that point, in that reference, It would just be a couple of casual hooksups here and there on tours etc…but its not like I was ever a playboy orsomething or have a crazy big list of hook ups in my closet, even though that’sthe image the Media likes to potray off me because of the insane amount ofglitz and glamourous speculations attached to our Sport.
I never got into a relationship untilthen because off three reasons.One – I always thought I’d be too boring for agirl perhaps because I kind off talk and breathe cricket a lot. Second - Inever did think that I had the time to Invest to a relationship, because I knowthat’s what it takes – you gotta nurture a bond, invest time, energy andemotions into it. I do believe that Love exists – I have seen my parentsexperience a very Happy Marriage. So I know that soulful connection exists, andI respect the sanctity of a emotional investment in a relationship way too muchso I always thought, why must I get into something that I don’t have the timeto Nurture. Third reason being – Long Distance, in the aspect that I didn’tknow if any girl in this day and age would be ready to give Long Distance aShot, because that I was all I could do, for I am always travelling because ofmy work profile.
However,a year ago – I did decide toput my these three apprehensions in the backseat for a while and give a Steadyrelationship a shot for Real, thinking I would never know how it works for me,if I never opened up and gave it a real shot. And I was triggered to take this decision when Imet Pia on - a Ad shoot. We were scheduled to shoot together for a brandendorsement of a popular consumer product, and that’s where ,the attractionsparked in between us. Pia’s also a popular Bollywood actress and back then aswe started getting to know each other, I did think that maybe we could nurturea connection for real. We did grow to like each other too, and she was all okwith the long distance aspect too, so I was thinking to myself – Ok,why not?Lets see how this Goes.
So see Basically – deep down in mybeing, I am a very simple man.
Always will be.
My Life kind off revolved around – MyFamily and Cricket.
My Regular routine being - Train,exercise, eat, drink, sleep. Play Cricket.Spend time with family and friends asmuch as I can.
Play More Cricket.
Repeat all of the Above.
Yes – I have embraced the Spotlightthat comes on me with regards to what I do as a profession, as a part andparcel of the game, and sometimes even though all the constant media scrutinydoes get overwhelming – I know I cannot shy away from it being a public cricketingfigure in India. None of us on the Team Can. Cricket is a fanatic Religion inour Country. We all know that.
But what I mean to say is – that Ihad embraced all this Media limelight and scrutiny bit as a part of myprofessional role, never before had any limelight ever fallen on my personallife, because I was always a very private person that way until then, and Ithink that also stemmed from the fact that primarily there never really was anyconcrete thing to talk about.
But then last year, all of a suddenmy personal space experienced this shift because firstly, the Spotlight focuson me increased as I took over the Captaincy in all formats and then eventuallyPia too happened around the same time, and then when the news of her and me,dating started doing the rounds – it all just kind of blew out of proportion onanother level, for apparently that was the only Celebrity gossip that the mediawas interested in talking and writing about.
Captain Arnav Singh Raizada +Bollywood’s rising star Pia Chopra = A Crackling Pair = A Match Made in Heaven.etc etc.
I cannot even begin to explain theMedia Craze off it All.
Thank God for the fact that I am noton any Social Media apart from just Twitter, and that too I am not very activeon it, and I barely have the time or the patience to even get into the dynamicsoff it – I tweet like once in months.But Pia always was a very social mediaperson. She would often post our pictures together etc etc – leading to a lotmore crazy media frenzy altogether .Hence all of a sudden there was thisunnecessary dramatic attention around my head all the time, the media seekingme out for questions on my personal life too , alongside the game rituals etc,but I still kind of managed to soak it all in, because I did like Pia, and Idid honestly think that “we” could lead to something concrete, eventually withsome more time down the line.
I managed to strive a balance intrying to maintain a steady relationship and also not let it affect my wayswith the Bat.
I stayed Loyal to Her.
And I stayed Loyal to my Bat.
And just when I thought, everythingwas going smooth, Pia shocked the hell out of me with a revelation.
A revelation – that Proved that I waswrong.
That I was Very wrong in my Notion-About that Nurturing the connection bit, because after five months of being ina relationship together, Pia confessed to me that she kind off had a vulenrablemoment with her co-star of the movie she was shooting for ,on one of theoutdoor shoots – and they ended up spending a night together. She was feelingguilty about it for sure,and that’s why she chose to come clean about to me,the very next day. And even though I was hurt, because I most definitely didnot expect her to cheat on me ever, I still kind off appreciated the fact thatshe was sweet enough to confess the truth to me and be honest upfront – ratherthan keep me in the dark. She was also honest about the fact that she was inher complete senses when it happened, and didn’t use alcohol to cover up thebackground context.I broke up with her immediately ofcourse, because infidelityin a relationship is surely a deal breaker for me, and even though she seekedforgiveness a zillion times asking me if I could bury it all and if we couldmove on from it, terming it to be a vulnerable momentary mistake, because shehadn’t seen me in over two months and gave in to the momentarily need for aphysical touch - I was honest in telling her that we couldn’t, because infidelityfor whatever reasons is completely not acceptable to me and She also knew verywell from day one that our relationship would be Long Distance. I mean LongDistance most definitely cannot be used as a excuse for cheating right?.And ifyou do, then it means that clearly you are not emotionally invested into the relationshipand your priorities are elsewhere.
Hence we called Our Very PublicRelationship Off, which only lead to additional drama around me, becauseeveryone wanted to know why we broke up. And no matter what happened, I wasn’tgoing to be the one to ridicule a woman,ever. Be it Publically or in Private.Ido not believe in letting go off my grace and respectful demeanour, justbecause things got Sour. That’s not whoI am. I was always very calm and composed about my talks with Pia too when sherevealed it all to me.And so eventually we discussed and maintained a commonstand to the public and the media – that we parted due to irreconciabledifferences. I always assured, Pia that the public would never know from me –the real reason why we broke up and that I would never speak ill of her. (andits true, I never spoke ill of her, and till today, no one apart from my veryclose trusted circle, knows what actually Happened)
Anyways, so this was about six monthsago. On the whole, Pia and me parted on decent cordial terms and she neverspoke ill of me too.
If I were to state thingstransparently now -I am kind of glad all of this happened, before I started tofeel any kind of deep emotions for her because then it would just hurt moreright?I did like her for real, but I wasn’t in love with her. So I was kind offsaved from a Heartbreak just in time.
And I got Over It – in a while.
And ever since then,I have put all myenergies and focus into the first love of my life – which is my Game and I havedecided to steer clear from any sort of relationships for a bit. The dramatichangover from the last one,anyway still kind off manages to buzz around me eventhough its been six months to the Break up.Like for example, when I was gettinginto the airport at Delhi today, a reporter asked me – “Are there any chancesof you and Pia Chopra getting back together? Your Break Up broke our Hearts.Youtwo looked so Perfect Together..etc etc”, and I just politely smiled and dodgedout all these personal questions and chose to answer all the ones thanking ourfans for their brilliant wishes and support as always as we returned home fromthe gruelling almost three months tour off Australia and NZ and then made my wayin with my brother Akash.
Now that I am kind off done with theIntroductions around the Basic Pitch of my Life – I shall point out a fact thatI am sure you all have already guessed.
I am on a Plane right Now. En-routeto London, with my brother Akash.
I recline in my seat a little bitmore.
I usually request for the first seatoff the cabin, for privacy reasons, when I am travelling ,on personal trips. Andthis surely was a Personal trip – for it was all about just catching up andspending some quality time with both my siblings, even if it was for just aboutfour to five days. Akash and me were scheduled to head back to Delhi on the 21stFeb, because I had to return to my Cricketing and Skipper Duties on the 22ndto get ready for Australia coming in to tour India for a series of 5ODI’sstarting the 28th of Feb until the 18th of March, postwhich we would all get busy with the IPL.And Post the IPL – our Entire Squadwas only going to get more gruellingly consumed within the Team in thepreparations for the ICC World Cup, 2019 which was to be hosted by England andWales this Summer.And well the cricketing fixtures and schedules are still kindoff hectic after that too, that is why I am so very glad that I have taken thisfour- five days off to just spend some quality time with both my siblings,because by the time I will be returning to the UK for the World Cup, Anjaliwill be heading back Home, for her MBA finishes by end May.She couldn’t comeright now , so Akash and me decided just two days ago – to just jump on theplane and go see Her for a couple of days. Akash was really concerned if itwould be ok for me to hop onto another plane to head out of India for we hadjust returned from a long hectic tour of Australia and NZ on the 10thFeb, which was not even a week ago,and I had only gotten to chill and relax athome with Dadi, Mom, and Dad for about five days, but I assured him that I was all in, because Ireally missed seeing Anjali all these months .The three of us , Raizadasiblings are very close in our bond. But I do get to know Akash’s and Anjali’spersonal secrets after they’v already revealed it to each other – you knowsince they are twins, their personal equation is a tad bit thicker.Nonetheless, I love both my Siblings to Bits. And I know so do They.
The two of them do get a tad bitIntimidated at times, because I am the older brother and I like to watch outfor them both as much as I can, without overwhelming them too much, giving themthe space to just be and grow as respective individuals in both their –personal and professional space.
So like I said before we arecurrently, en-route London. But that’s not our final Stop in this Personal Fourday break that we brother’s have taken to go see Anjali. We will be headingstraight down to Nottingham,for that’s where Anjali is currently studying andis in the process of completing her MBA.(as I hinted above).I have to statethis again that I am very excited to be able to spend some good quality timewith just both of them together.I haven’t seen Anjali in months for real, infront off me. The last I met Anjali in person was in September last year,before she left for her MBA at the University of Nottingham.Akash is currentlyin the process of completing his Post Graduate programme in Management forFamily Business – from Indian Business School, as he’s stepped into workingalongside Dad, in managing Raizada Group of Companies.I have always been veryclear on my stand that I don’t want to get into our family business at all, andjust focus on Cricket, always. Dad and Akash both keep requesting me to rethinkmy decision but I am adamant about this, because I want Akash to be the one totake over from dad, since he has the Intense Strategic Businessman gene. Idon’t think I do.That’s why I am most definitely sure, that when the time comesfor me to give up on cricket because of age factors, I will always find ways tocontinue being engaged with sport related avenues and activities. And on thatnote – both my siblings are also more educationally qualified than me, as innot that I’v been bad at studies or something,but iv always been just a averagestudent because my focus was always – Cricket. And after Grade 12, getting intothe Under 19 National Team almost immediately – I kind off only had time tocomplete my basic graduation degrees through good correspondence courses.
Why isn’t Akash back yet?
Is he still walking up and down theAisles of the Plane? Or Chatting up with some fellow passenger, around the Bararea in the middle of the Business Class Cabins?
I straighten up in my seat and get upas I want to freshen up.
I am on my way to the restroom, andall of a sudden I feel a instant tug on my sleeve around my wrist, which makesme turn around instantly, and I spot a young boy beaming up and grinning up atme, his father now getting off his seat from two rows behind ours, to comestand behind him as he states in an embarrassed tone to his little boy – “Varun, I told you not too…”,and he looks up at me and states with a apologeticsmile – “ I am sorry ASR, we don’t mean to intrude your privacy on the flight…”
I grin at them both and I say to thefather – “ don’t worry about it at all…”,and I kneel down on my one knee infront of this adorable kid and I ask patting his arm – “ hey you young boy, howold are you Varun, hmmm let me guess 10 ??”
Varun beams at me happily and he nods– “ I will be 10 years in a month…can I have a picture with you please ASR? Iplay cricket because of you, you are my favourite…..i want to tell my friendsthat I met you on the flight when I go back to India…they will go crazyyyyyy….”
I chuckle and nod at him and heinstantly turns around and gets to my side and he states to his father – “ cmondad, snap a picture of me fast…”
I chuckle and I see his father shootme another sheepish smile as he takes out his phone.I pose with Little Varunand his father snaps a picture of us, and once he is done, little Varun looksat me from the side and he states excitedly – “ thank you so much ASR, you knowI spotted you long ago when I was on my way back from the restroom, and wantedto come take a picture with you, but then I got nervous, and then when I gotback to my seat,I asked Daddy if he could help me get a picture with you, hedid say he would help me ask you for one, at the end of the flight, but then Isaw you getting up, so I ran to you excited myself…I want to play for India toowhen I grow up…I bat very well ASR, you can ask my Dad…”
I grin at the little boy, rufflinghis hair lovingly – “ oh really? You love to bat too?? That’s amazing Varun, Iam sure that you will be playing for India one day too…but you gotta believe inyourself and your dreams ok and follow it through if that’s what you stronglywant in your heart? I did..and look here I am, playing for India too…”
I look at his Dad and smile at himtoo as he comes up close and I get up on my feet now, and shake his hand and hestates sheepishly – “ he is a big fan ASR , well to be honest, so am i…I meanwho isn’t?? we love you as Skipper and not just that, we are crazy about yourgame…and I am absolutely thrilled to run into you so randomly…what an amazingTour of Australia and NZ that was, a big congratulations to you and the teamfor both the Major Test Series Win and the ODI Series win in Australia and thespectacular ODI series win in NZ too”. I thank him politely for his wishes, andhe asks if I’d be comfortable with another combined selfie, and I nod with anatural grin, as I pose with my hand around the adorable little Varun.
And once we are done, they both thankme again, and I give little Varun a thumbs up, asking him to continue battingalways, and I make my way to freshen up, and a couple of minutes later once I am done ,I make my way back to my seatand I spot little Varun leaning sideways from his seat as he continues to giveme excited Happy Grins and I grin back at him, giving him another thumbs up,before sitting back in my seat.
I resume to watch my Documentary.
Minutes later, I spot Akash walk backto his seat next to me and he gestures me to take off my headphones and I do,and he winks at me as he comes to stand in front off me, as he states – “ ok,so I was just walking around when I decided to get myself a little drink aroundthe bar area, you know since theres still a couple of hours to landing and wewill only land by 4pm, London time, and then I thought, I want to toast withyou bhai..so iv asked the crew to help us with some wine, cmon then? Its notcrowded, itl just be us…”
I grin at him as I get up instantlyfrom my seat – “ sure why not, now that you put it that way, its been ages thatwe’v travelled together, hasn’t it Akash?”
Akash nods excited.
We make our way to the bar now ,where the crews already got our wines served and we take our seats on the two seater lounging space, and Akash raises atoast to me and I raise a toast back to him and we share a warm laugh. And justas I finish taking a sip of my wine, and Akash finishes a sip of his too, heclears his throat and he asks with a side smile – “ ok…so just checkingbhai…moods good right??
I shoot him a puzzled look as I state– “ ofcourse Akash, you know I am really relaxed right now…”
Akash takes a deep breathe and I say,narrowing my eyes at him – “ whats cooking in your head? Why are you nervous? Iknow this look on your face brother…you’v been keeping a secret from me…what isit??out with it…now..”
Akash shoots me a sheepish smile – “so please know that, our plan was to not keep this from you , we were waitingfor you to come back from this hectic Australia and NZ tour…”
Hmmmmm.The Look on his face tells me,the We in there means, Anjali and Him. I ask, sipping my wine – “ we as inAnjali and you..and I know you wouldn’t be this nervous if this was anythingabout you, so I reckon something about Anjali in context here??”
Akash nods as he smiles – “well..yes….and I think the time is right for me to tell you this…you know sincewe are headed to Nottingham…actually ill just get out with it, Anjali asked meto update you on this in transit here…she was very nervous to talk to youherself…”
My brotherly worry for my littlesister is rising up.
I remind myself she is not littleanymore.
She is 25.
I ask, worried – “ did somethinghappen ??? as in did Anjali get into some mess ???”
Akash rolls his eyes – “ oh nobhai…look theres nothing to worry…It’s a thing to be happy aboutactually….”,and he pauses and takes on a deep breathe – “ ok , so ill just sayit…Anjali’s met someone, he’s on this MBA course with her, and they are inlove..and the reason why Anjali wants us both in Nottingham right now isbecause, she wants us to also get to know him a little bit, before this goesupto Mom and Dad….”
I ask on reflex, my eyes widened – “so if this is reaching a stage that its about to go upto Mom and Dad, then Ireckon its very serious.Whats the name of this guy?and how long has this beenon??and wheres he from? Is he an Indian?his family?is Anjali sure???? I mean isshe sure that its Love??and that he is the One??”
Akash takes a deep breathe and givesme a side smile – “ ok…so the start was good, you aren’t like crazy mad at usfor keeping this from you…you aren’t right??”
I admit honestly – “ no…I am not mad,you know I cant be mad at you two, but yes I am hell worried, because mysisters been seeing someone, and I get to know about it when I am hours awayfrom meeting him probably…so you better talk talking Akash, and tell me allthat you know about him…I am worried because I don’t want her to be hurt in thematters of the heart Akash, what if he isn’t the one? But I know that’s forAnjali to decide, but the least I can do as a brother is to atleast observe andjudge this man’s intentions…”
Akash nods – “ I know bhai..andthat’s precisely the reason why I suggested we get onto the plane ourselves togo meet Anjali, because although iv heard about him, I think itll be better forthe two of us to meet him in person before this goes to the elders, and Anjalidid tell me that he is also freaking out at the thought off meeting you,because he thinks he’s going to get absolutely tongue tied around you in acrazy fan zone moment, because he’s always been a huge fan off you, so Anjali’sasked me to convey to you to not misunderstand his stunned silence and dazearound you for any sort of a disrespect…”,finishes Akash with a chuckle.
I chuckle on reflex now as I ask – “really?? She’s defending him and covering up for him already???
Akash nods with a grin – “ ohyes…they are really into each other Bhai…and to be honest I don’t blame him,falling in love with Captain Arnav Singh Raizada’s younger sister..canobviously be intimidating, he knows you are the scary brother, I am the koolone…”
I chuckle as I sip my wine – “ okok…I am the scary brother…I know that. I get that…so name…whats his name??”
Akash smiles – “ Rahul Gupta..”
Akash – “coincidentally the familystechnically from lucknow too, just like ours, shifted to Delhi decades ago forbusiness expansion purposes, infact their farmhouse is just what about 5kmsaway from ours in Chattarpur, just the other side of the DLF enclave…”
I ask – “ hmmm and he’s doing his MBAtoo?? A business family??what business??”
Akash – “pharmaceutical and real estate mainly, and he is the only son, he’s gottalittle sister though…”, and he continues to fill me in on all that he knows andhas heard about Rahul Gupta from Anjali.
I continue to sip on wine as I listenin a perceptive silence as I make a mental note to not get too harsh in myjudgements as I meet the man, who kind off plans to whisk my sister away fromme.
Sounds Good as in whatever I canassume and preassume from what Akash is telling me about how much he cares forAnjali.
Maybe, id just have to see him toobserve and perceive for myself.
Once Akash is done telling me I smileon reflex as I look at him – “ well it’s a good thing hes meeting the two of usfirst, we both know how insanely scary dad’s reaction will be too this, hes waytoo protective about Anj…”
Akash grins – “ exactly the reasonwhy our sister needs us to have her back on this…”
I nod and I smile – “ Iunderstand…ok…lets meet this Rahul Gupta..”,and I pause as I ask with a grin –“ hows everything with payal going??”
Akash grins – “ alls great bhai…neverbeen better actually…its good to have Rohans support on this obviously…”.Rohanis our star opener, our currect Vice Captain.He is Payals elder brother.Istated earlier, but just bringing it into context again.
I nod and I admit with a grin – “ofcourse, having the brother on your side always helps…now I know where Anjaligot the hints from..”
Akash and me share a warm laugh andAkash sombers up seconds later as he states sourly – “ I swear to God, I amnever watching any of Pia’s movies ever again…how could she be unfaithful toyou bhai..Anjali and me hate her…period…”
I pat his arm lovingly as I admithonestly – “ theres no need to hold onto a grudge or hate Akash, only make youfeel bitter…let it go…im over it…”
Akash sighs, rolling his eyes – “yeah right as if..the media will ever let it go, I mean they were on and onabout it earlier today too, when we were getting into the aiport…I mean talkabout the kickass NZ and Australia tour no…but no…Pia Chopra..Pia Chopra…”
I chuckle on reflex as I admit – “well, don’t worry about me, I am ok…I am over it for real, and I just want tofocus on the games for now Akash , you know this year is so so crucial…and withthe World Cup in line, the pressure’s really mounting up insane…”
Akash nods – “ I know bhai..iknow…and I am so proud of you…I still don’t know how you cope up with those runmaking expectations and pressures for the wins etc, its insane…”
I nod as I sip my wine – “ insaneyes…but part and parcel of the game I love…”,and I wink at him as I admit witha chuckle – “ well im just glad that atleast my bat is loyal to me…it fireswhen I want it too…that’s why I say cricket shall always be the first love ofmy life…”
We share a warm chuckle and continuetalking and catching up in this brotherly time in between of us – that’s comeafter a long time anyway.
And to be honest guys, in my heart –I really was happy for Akash on the development on his personal front.Payal isa good girl and I think Akash is kind off in love with her, he just doesn’tknow it yet….and now if Anjali had found the one her heart wanted too and thisman loved her too – then I truly was going to feel a very happy brother in myheart if I discovered that this Rahul Gupta’s intentions were True.
I was happy that my siblings hadfound the one’s their heart’s beat for!!!!!
I feel a natural longing tug into thedeep hidden strings of my being on reflex and I Wonder now if I’d ever meet theone, who was Destined for Me?? I mean they do say that there’s someone outthere for everyone right? The one’s who is Destined Just for You?
I mean – was there someone out there,who was Destined just for me tooo???The one who’d understand me and see me forwho I am in my being?? And look past allthe glitz and glamour around me????
I don’t know.
Because I am kind off going to be 28 soon,and I yet haven’t come across – whoever she Is !
Pia , most definitely wasn’t the One!
And…If Pia Isnt…then Who Is???
Gotta just Wait and Watch I guess.
I wasn’t in a Hurry anyway – Ialready had my first love,Cricket to focus on, in the Meanwhile.
Let me know what you all think of theFirst Chapter off Arnav’s Intro.
Next Chapter will come up TomorrowNight mostly – Introducing Khushi’s POV and her Basic Pitch of Her Life!!
And just incase if some of youhaven’t already Guessed.Rahul Gupta is Khushi’s elder brother.**wink wink**
Thanks guys for all the Support.
Apologies for the One day delay inthe Updatee.
So so excited as I am postingthis..and will be eagerly waiting to know what you all think of the Update asalways.
Please ignore editing/ repetition ofcommon words errors..as I have not Proofread.
And i shall now let you all Dive inwithout Further Delay.
*** happyyyyy dance*****
CHAPTER 2 – “22” YARDS, MY LOVE.
@ HOLIDAY INN - NOTTINGHAM, UNITEDKINGDOM
SAME DAY – 16TH Feb,2019
I amp up the speed on my treadmillgiving Jess a wink, gesturing her to amp up her speed too, so that we can havea little race on the Man Made Running Machine – in the gym of our Hotel.Shewinks back at me in a challenge, and amps up her speed to match mine, and we beginto pretend as if we’v been consumed by the sporting avatars off – Dutee Chandand Hima Das.(These exceptional women are our countries famous Runningathletes, who represent India on a Global International Level). I don’t knowwhich one of us, is pretending to be whom though?
Actually,I don’t mind channelizingeither of the Running Avatars – right now, for I admire them both equally, aslong as I can manage to give, Jess a run for her breathe right now?
Why? You must wonder?
Well – because , last night, sheliterally made me run for my life in between the wickets, for that extra fourthrun in the over, even though we were comfortably cruising our way towards theWin.And I was all like in my Head – Jess ya…you could have just hit a FreakingFour instead off Having me Run this Way!!
Jess – is short for Jessica.
She’s my BFF.
We’ve known each other for yearsnow.We still play together for our Domestic team too, ( when we are not playingInternational) and,I would like to state that we were both very exhilaratedwhen we got to know thar we both got selected in the National Squad at the sametime,about a little over six months ago. We are also the youngest in our NationalSquad right now. And its an absolute honour for us both to play alongside ourcurrent members of the Team.
We have so many amazing nationalwomen cricketing sensations alongside us in both the ODI and the T20 Squadright now. There’s Sheena Mathur(Sheena Di is around 24 right now and is alegend in the making), theres the awe inspiring Mira Raj...(Mira di is also ourODI Captain and is touted as the Sachin Tendulkar in Womens Cricket in ourcountry, for she’s got the highest runs on the board), theres HarpreetKaur(whose our Vice Captain ODI and Captain in T20, and has been the one toplay an exceptional knock off 177 not out in the ICC Womens World Cup semifinal, 2017 leading our team into the finals and has an exceptional recordotherwise too),theres a young Deepti who I really look up too for shes abatting all rounder and is the one who has the highest run record in a game bya Indian women, uptil this point – 186*), then there’s Jharna Di(who is likeIndia Womens former captain, shes an amazing all arounder and an epic acebowler.Do You know in 2017 she became the leading International Wicket Taker inthe entire ICC Women’s ODI History.I mean Just Imagine how amazing that is forus???? And that’s just one of her accolades iv mentioned, she’s also receivedthe Arjuna Award , the Padmashree.Its an absolute honour to have my name listedin a Squad alongside her.).And then we have our amazingly talented Wicketkeeper/batswomen Tanu who is so supercool in her stumpings that its insane. Amongstus batters we also have Vedika and Harleen who are exceptional in their gamestoo and they sometimes switch in between our ODI squad and our T20 Squad.Thenthere’s Shreya who is a bowling all rounder, Manvi, ekta, Priya – allexceptional bowlers with amazing speed and spin too.
So all in all – we have this amazingclose knit Unit right now, and me and Jess thank our stars everyday, that wehave been given an opportunity to play for India. Jess is also a very strongBatswoman...she's been playing on No 4 and sometimes 5 and her presence in themiddle order really strengthens our Batting Line Up.
So In my personal equation with thecurrent Squad – I am obviously very close to Jess, because we have known eachother forever.But apart from her I also share a great rapport with Sheena diand Harpreet di( we also loveee to play PS together).And For obvious reasons –I really look up to Mira Di and Jharna Di , and they are so very humble andkind and more like a guiding force for us all, they keep it all stiched together.My personal equations also good with Vedika and Tanu, Deepika – actually to behonest, I do kind off get along with everyone on the squad.
I pause on my thought as Jess pantsand winks at me amidst her run as she asks – “ are you done making me run formy breathe now?? Or some more??”
I take on a deep breathe as i winkback at her, amping up on my speed a little more – “ run Jess run…I dareyou…cmon…this is me getting back at you right now you know that don’t you??”
Jess grins – “ oh yes…I know that…”.Andwe give each other a thumbs up and continue running.
Haha.So In my cricketing defense, whyI am I getting back at her for making me run that way insanely for Fourruns??Because -this really was towards the end of Our ODI innings you all –like in the 48th over, and I had been batting for around ThreeHours, and we were kind off just 6 runs away from the Win when she outted us torun for these Four runs – in between the Wickets. We also had Seven wickets inhand with 11 balls yet to be bowled!!
So now you know why I want to Chaseher for her Breathe Right now!
We are in Nottingham, United Kingdom– right now.
I am sure you all have guessed itoutright, but I shall state it anyway. We are here because, we the Indian WomenCricket Team or as we are also called, the Women in Blue are in England for aTour off – 3 ODI’s + 3 T20’s.
The 3 ODI match was held last nightat the iconic Trent Bridge Cricket Stadium, here in Nottingham – and we won theMatch, clinching the ODI series with England by 2-1. England one the firstmatch. We won the respective two that followed , in comfortable Wins.
Can I dance on the Treadmill –without inviting a Injury right now??
As in, I most definetly cannot dance on theTreadmill right now, for I am kind off running at the speed of light and if Ibreak my rhythym to get into a Dance, I will definetly injure myself. Iobviously can’t even afford a minor injury to myself at this Stage because I dostill have to play the remaining – three Upcoming T20 matches, five days fromnow – starting on the 21st of Feb.The first T20 match is alsoscheduled to happen at the Trent Bridge Cricket Stadium, here in Nottingham,before we proceed to Old Trafford and Edgbaston, cricket stadiums for the last two T20 matches respectively.
So, we are kind off going be aroundhere in Nottingham until the 22nd Feb. And we are all planning totrain and work really hard to get ourselves ready for the T20 series, becauseearlier on in the year as in January, while we were playing at Home grounds inIndia and NZ had come to tour for ODI and T20 series – we kind off clinched theODI series comfortably too, but lost out in the T20 series to NZ, so we arekind of aiming to give it our all for the Upcoming T20 Series, also becauseafter these T20 international games, we kind off don’t have a Internationalmatch until the end off September, where in we tour South Africa.
You read that right.
We are in Mid Feb right now and ournext International Game after these games with England is scheduled in aFixture – which is Six Months Away.
**a Sigh on That**
That’s why we want to give it ourall, because after this we shall go back to focusing on our domestictournaments, for our respective state and Zones teams until we regroup beforethe SA tour.
Guys know what?
Even though it’s the Same Game and weare governed by the same body which is the BCCI, but I have to be Transparentin admitting the fact that – our Womens teams international fixtures, bilateraltours, are kind off Literally just Half in number to what is Scheduled for ourMale Counterparts. (like for example, this year we are scheduled to play only12 international ODI’s and about 17 International T20’s)
Hmmmmm on that.
We also play only the ODI and T20formats now.We don’t play the Test Format anymore, because our governing bodydecided to step out off competing in the longest format of the Game a couple ofyears ago.Well on that note, its not just India who has opted out fromInternational Women tests, its also most of the other nations too.OnlyAustralia Women and England Women play International tests Now...that too onvery rare fixtures.
Hmmmmmm on that.Again.
We also don’t have an IPL league orsomething exclusively for us women…however, our domestic season otherwise kindoff makes up for that schedule.( Game wise but not Coverage or Visibility wisebecause Domestic Women tournaments are yet to get Live Coverage on TVnetworks..so it’s like from the Visibility angle ...the Games are Happening butthe Public isnt aware.. that there are a lot of quality woman cricketing playersplaying on the 22 yards! Theres literally such a huge talent pool that getshidden,because there isnt a Visible platform...)
You all Know what??
What’s one of my secret Dreams?? Ormaybe this is like a Common secret dream of us all Women Cricket players…?
The Dream – to just Play in front offa Jamm Packed Stadium in a Home Game, back in India and have our Nation cheerfor us too, as fanatically and crazily as they do for our Men in Blue. I dreamto play in a Stadium so jam packed that theres not even room for a single moreperson in the stands.....
Right now back in India...we kind offjust play to Empty Stands...or just very few Audience comprising off our veryown friends or family, or selectors observing our games, or precious seniorplayers,the commentators, officialsupport staffs etc..
Hmmmmmm.On that Again.
I will be lying if I say that theDominant love for patriarchy when it comes to Cricket in our country isn’toverwhelming.It most definetly is overwhelming and sometimes it makes us allfeel low and demotivated too.But we all try to keep our focus on our love forthe game despite the disparity, as much as we can and continue playing with thesame grit and dtermintaion that we do, because whatever said and done, thingshave improved around the Women cricket scene in India ever since our ODI teammade it to the Semi finals of the ICC Womens World Cup in 2017 and we all dofeel that it will only get better from here on, as long as we continue toperform. Performance is obviously the Key. But we do wish that we had moreopportunities to get exposed to playing against more International women cricketingteams...because that will only help us grow and learn more as sportsperson. Forin Sports...learning never stops.It Goes on every hour...every day!
You know what guys? All of us in theteam keep discussing this fact – that One World Cup win is all we need to makeeveryone in the nation turn their heads towards the fact that Our Women’s teamhas got a lot off talent and Grit too. I mean, we have reached the semi finalsin both the ODI and T20 ICC Womens World Cups in 2017, and 2018 respectively,so its like we know we can do this.We can win a World Cup Too...we do definetlyhave the Talent...!!
And we all have faith and belief thatone day – we Surely Will! The Woman in Blue...shall surely Bring back a WORLDCup back..One Day!( and Hopefully that one day should be Soon for we have anOpportunity coming up next year..)
We all give this belief and faith andour love for the game priority over the dominant love for patriarchy in theworld of cricket,because that’s the only way we can go on – Positively. Personally,its my Love for the game that is still very much a driving force for my commitmentand passion.And just like everyone else in the team, we try to embrace thingspositively and observe the game of Our Men’s in Blue very closely in order tolearn from them.We’v all got our Inspirations that we look up too in the Men’steam, be it current or the previous senior legends of the game, because wellfor us like I say – it’s the same Game. On a personal note, I look up to manyprevious senior legends from the Men in Blue, but out of the current team itslike I really look up ex- Skipper Dev and present Skipper- ASR. Well if I wereto rank my inspirational heroes from the current Men in Blue Squad – from Oneto Five...it would be Like...
1.Skipper ASR.(for I have always beena big fan of his game, ever since I started playing Cricket and his journeyfrom Domestic, to Under 19 Captaincy and world Cup Win, to being part of theICC world Cup 2011 Win, to Vice Captaincy post that and eventually taking overas test Skipper and then Skipper in all formats of the game Is kind of Awe –Inspiring to Me. He is currently ranked the No 1 batsmen in the world in ICCODI players Ranking and 2 in Test and in top ten In ICC t20 players rankingstoo and thats really a remarkable feat for Real.I have never had the chance tomeet him actually....some of our senior players from our Women’s National teamhave obviously had opportunities to meet and interact with him and the Men inBlue like Mira Di, Harpreet Di..Sheena Di...Jharna Di, and some more. But meand Jess along with a couple of others who are relatively new to the NATIONALsquad havent got the Opportunity Yet.Hopefully One Day....for I am a BigggggFannnn of this Man..and to be honest its not just me, my brother is Crazyyyabout him too....so is my Dad.)
2. Ex- Golden Skipper Dev(I mean, I amsure I don’t have to even say anything in here.We all know he is an EpicLegend)
3. Star Opener – Rohan or as theycall him the HitMan.( I aim to hit Double centuries for India one day too..justlike Him. I really do wish to have an opportunity to meet him and just be ableto tell him that I do relate with him on one fact. The fact that I absolutely lovemy Sixes tooo!!! Infact I hit four massive sixes in last nights gametoo..literally in all four different directions out off the Stadium!!Haha..loved it.Guys know what...off late even in the National dressingroom...everyones started calling me their Little HitGirl..becuase of my lovefor Sixes..its been a nickname given to me by my domestic teammates...and Jesssomewhat just shared that with the team when we came in...and after a couple ofmy initial games and me hoisting up Sixes into the Air...everyone startedcalling me the Little HitGirl in here too)
Where was I?
4. In terms off my Inspiration fromthe current Men in blue would be – the ace bowler Ravi.( because I really lovethe way he reads the pitch and swings the ball accordingly..so basically I bowltoo guys...as in I am like in the batting all rounder category in the team)
5. The middle order All rounder –Veer.( because hes like an amazing batsman and also a brilliant fielder...hehas very quick fielding reflexes on field)
That was My Current Inspirational – Men in Blue List.
Hopefully One day...I shall get toMeet the Team too.
I really do want to State one thingin here Now.
I am soooooo very glad that we aregoing to be staying in Nottingham for a bit because off a personal reasontoo.The reason being the fact – that I am going to get some time to also catchup with my loving brother, Rahul. He is in the process of completing his MBAright now at the University of Nottingham. And I haven’t seen him in Months –properly, as in like I spent some good time with him before he left Home, inSeptember last year and came to Nottingham, and I got completely consumed withmy bat duties thereafter, for that was also when I got selected to play in theIndian Women’s Cricketing National Squad as well. And even though we reachedNottingham day before yesterday, late evening – I couldn’t take out time tomeet Bhai because we all got super consumed in team strategy meetings etc, somephysio sessions, pep talks with the coach – in prepration for the 3rdand final ODI, because it was crucial for us at that point – England had wonthe first match, we won the second , hence the result of the ODI series mostdefinitely depended on the Final match.
I am very excited to be able to spendsome time with him now also for another reason. The reason that he is in Love.He's dating someone...he met her, here on his MBA course...and hes reallyserious about her. All I know is that her Name is Anjali and that she is awonderful girl whose captured my brothers heart, he wouldnt even show me apicture because he would always be like...oh no...I want you to meet her inperson Junior. He calls me Junior lovingly.So I am very excited to also meet hisMysterious Anjali now.
WELL..obviouslymy crazy loving protective brother was present in the cricketing standsyesterday with some of his friend circle – cheering us ON, ( I obviouslycouldnt spot him in the crowd...he did tell me he was there with his friendsand Anjali too,becuase the stadium was decently crowded yesterday.Here inEngland..Womens Cricket is really coming up and the Support is equally greatfor them too...). Anyways..so I couldn’t really see them yesterday after thematch, because again we had a lot ofteam stuff happening because the ODi got over late anyway because there was alittle pause with the rain amidst innings too, but it all resumed back smoothlysoon with the match being played a full 50 overs..and by the time we got to theHotel post it all...I just fell on my bed and sleep took over almostimmediately.
But even though I couldn’t meet them after,my brother did send me a video off himself – Hooting and jumping in Happiness bythe end of the match and the post match presentations, taking a promise that Iwould most definetly take out time to just chill with Him and Anjali, todaypost lunch.
ALSO...He was totally coming acrossas a Crazy Over Hyper Child in that Video – for Two Reasons. One obviouslybeing because we won the match, and clinched the series, and second being –that yours truly Charlie Chaplin .a.k.a Me – was awarded the Player of the Matchfor my steady 80 runs not out and a wicket. I was beyond thrilled andexhilarated myself actually, because it was kind off my first Player of thematch award in an International Series.
And it thrills me even more to add,that the Player of the ODI Series was also from our team. Our beloved – SheenaMathur, who is our star opener was awarded the Player of the Series.
So I think I havnet mentioned thisyet..I open the innings alongside Sheena Di – in both ODI and T20 formats, eversince I joined in the National team.
Againnnnn – Superrrrr Yippeee tothat, for Two reasons. One -because I absolutely love and adore Sheena di tobits because she’s brilliant in her game and has been a star opener for IndiaWomen for a couple of years now, and getting the opportunity to open theinnings with her in our National squad, has been a huge learning curve for me,indeed. I have learnt a lot from her. And second reason being the fact that –I’v always played in the top batting order of my domestic teams, opening up thematches for the team, so now that I am given the opportunity to play at no 2and open for India Women along side legendary Sheena di – it kind off really is like a big Deal for me.
OH WAIT guys.
I have been On and On for Quite aWhile but I haven’t Introduced myself – Have I yet? Like with the Name and theworks?
I don’t think so.
I mean I did refer to myself asCharlie Chaplin in some of the lines above – but that’s not really my name ,you all – ofcourse!!
That’s just another one of the names whicheveryone in the team addresses me with Lovingly. Why?. Because – I am prettymuch always setting up a Comic Scene in the Dressing room before thematches.(because it just brings a smile on the face, and relaxes everyone andworks up as a last minute Stress Buster for us All, for Real)
So – lets get on with a briefIntroductions? Jess and Me are still going to continue with our Crazy Run for about ten more minutes.
NAME – Khushi Gupta.
Age – 20 years 6 months.
From & Family– Technically, my Family is from Lucknow.But everyone shifted base to Delhi ages ago.I was born and brought up in Delhiand Our Home’s in Delhi. I love my Family-Insane.And before I get to giving youall a brief glimpse about them, I want to state that I absolutely have beenable to Reach the point where I am today because of the constant motivation andsupport from all of my immediate family members.
My Dad, Sagar Gupta - is my Hero+Rockstar.Tothe World – he’s this serious intense Businessman with a Successful hold inboth Pharmaceutical and Real Estate Industries, but to us all at home, he’s themost chilled out, relaxed, Daddy ever. He’s crazy about cricket too, and to behonest,It did really help that both Daddy and my brother Rahul have always beenso crazy about Cricket themselves, that the minute they spotted the fact thattheir little girl does have an ability with the bat – they went all in withtheir enthusiastic support for the love that I had for my game, right from mynascent years.
My Mother, Nisha Gupta - is myconfidante+ my Hero+My Rockstar.She used to be an international level Swimming athletefor our country in her younger days. So now you know how sports is kind off inmy genes. I think I inherited it from Mommy dearest right when I was in thewomb and infact in my younger years I used to Swim a lot too, but eventuallyaround 10, I realised that if theres a sport that I want to focus more on – itwas Cricket. Mom has also always been a big supporter off my Dream to become a Sportsperson.Currently, she runs and manages a Successful Swimming Academy for children andhas tie up with mostly all the big schools in Delhi.
Next in line comes my Genius Superstar – my brother Rahul( I have already talkedabout him a little..just putting in some more context... He is almost a littleover 5 years older to me, and has always doted on me insanely ever since I wasborn.We do have a really great bond.Why I called him my Genius Superstar?Because,He’s also a Super Genius Chemical Engineer and he’s got some more mastersdegrees in pharmaceutical studies after which he paused his education to workwith Dad in our Pharmaceutical line of business for a while to just soak it allin for about 18 months and then eventually came here to Nottingham for his MBA.Dad intends to hand him the complete rein of our Pharma vertical the minute heis done with his MBA and returns Home
So basically in my close intimatefamily circle, it’s the four of us@Home – but obviously there are some closerelatives in both my mom and dad’s side of the family, and for now instead ofgiving you all the complete Gupta extended family tree details – ill just sumit all up and say that overall – we are a very Happy Family circle with all ourclose relatives too.
Personally on a educational front – Ihave always been just an average student.I have completed my schooling withaverage scores and I am also pursuing a graduation degree throughcorrespondence now. I study as much as I can when I am not training or playingcricket.
I was very clear that my focus hasalways been Sports and Cricket and I was very lucky that my family understoodthat. Not just my parents or my brother, but our close knit extended familiestoo. Everyone would always ask me – how much off sweat and blood are youputting in practicing and improving your skills in the game you love? and sayencouraging things like – we have faith that you will play for India one day Khushibeta etc etc rather than focus on asking just about how much I am scoring interms of Marks.And well, I have to be transparent in admitting this straightout – that this encouraging mental support that I received from everyone aroundme – did wonders for me, for it always encouraged me to keep moving ahead withmy grit and determination.I started playing Domestic cricket, officially forDelhi and North Zone in under 19 domestic tournaments around 16, and ever sincethen – there’s been no looking back for me, Cricket Wise in terms off my Focus.
My Focus is Very Clear.
I want to Play Cricket.
It’s what I want in MY Heart.
And I want to play as much as I can,ceasing the opportunities that come my way through both – Domestic andInternational Cricket.
For...as I said Earlier that for me..Eventually....Itsall About the Game.
It’s the Game that I Love.The feelingthat I get within, when I swing a bat at a speeding ball/or bowl a ballmyself/be aggressive in fielding – kind off means the World to me.
Hence it’s always been very easy andstraight for me to Conclude to a fact that - Cricket was/is/and always will bethe Love of my Life.
I am Destined to be Eternally, Truly,madly Deeply in love with My 22 Yards.On that Note – that’s also my JerseyNumber. 22.Why? Two Reasons.One being its correlation with the terms 22 Yardsand second being the reason that it’s the date, I was born.22ndAugust.
Oh and just incase you are wonderingwhy I keep saying 22 yards – its basically because - its a term that depictsthe length of a Cricket Pitch, which is where we play the game of Cricketright?
Guys I have to pause in Chatter of myThoughts - a little Bit Now.
Because Jess just gestured me thatshes going to stop in the Run now and I wink back at her in a cheeky momentary grinand slow down the speed of my run a little bit and Jess states with picking upher hands up to her sides – “ ok ok I admit...you gave me a run for my breatheindeed...khushi seriously if I ran a little bit more..I’d give Hima Das a runfor her career..”
I chuckle on reflex now as I admit toher as we both slow down in our pace to come to a comfortable slow walking pace– “ I so have to tell you that, that’s exactly the sporty runner avatar I wasimagining us to channelise at the beginning of our run...her and DuteeChand...”
We both share a hearty laugh now and westop our respective treadmills...pick up our towels to help ourselves with thecrazy beads of sweat we were drowning in and get off it, both of us very happywith the cardio session we just pulled off and I grin at Jess – “are you sureyou dont want to join me in for lunch with Bhai and his mysterious Anajli...??”
Jess and Bhai also get alongwell.They have a brother- sisterly kind off equation.
Jess grins and nods – “ well I amvery curious to see who she is for sure..since he wont even share a picture...Imean even in the video he shared with you last night...we could only spot hisfriends in the background..even through we knew Anjali was with him...he mostsurely skipped her face out in the video...”
I grin and nod – “ exactly because hekeeps saying..I want you to meet her in person ya...what to do...so come onjoin me na...”
Jess winks – “ I surely would haveKhushi..if I didnt have that session with the physio for my shoulder scheduledthis afternoon..and I also plan to catch up on sleep a lot post that...technicallytoday is the only day we have all free..from tomorrow we have intense practice/nets and stuff lined up...so I will skip on this little outing...I know youwill tell me all about it anyway...tell bhai I’m going to meet her soonthough...”
I nod at her with a natural grin – “okkkk alright...no worries...I’ll tell him...cmon then...no weights for youtoday until the physio gives a go ahead...I do not want you to risk a strainresulting in an injury...let’s head to the room then??”
Jess nods and on our way out we alsobump into Sheena Di,Harpreet di,Vedika,Deepika – for they were coming in fortheir gym sessions right now...we chat up with them for a while and ten minuteslater we make our way up to our Room.
Jess is also my Room Mate.
Everyone on the team shares Rooms too.Officially only Captain and Vice Captain, and a couple of our seasoned seniorplayers get single rooms and to be honest, they all kind off end up chillingwith us all all the time only going up to their rooms to sleep/ or to catch upon some privacy. And the rest of us love it this way anyway...because it’s morefun that way...otherwise it would be too boring to be by yourself in a room allthe time!
Jess and Me are also like perpetualpermanent roomies on our every Tour – be it international or when we aretravelling domestically within India for matches and staying in Hostelsallotted to Us.
And just as we enter our room, Jessplonks on her twin bed and she states stretching herself,giving me a wink- “okkk since I have nowhere else to go right now...I’ll let you shower and getready first...”
I chuckle and thank her dramaticallyin a gesture of raising my bat to her and she winks back at me happily and Iquickly gather up my clothes and change and step into the bath...sliding thedoor shut.
Jesse’s Music blasts through my earsand I grin as i tap my feet to the peppy number shes got on and just as I amabout to step into the shower my phone beeps.
It’s my brother.
I open whatsapp and I spot hismessage : junior..what’s up?you will be there on time right??? I cant wait tomeet you.Nor can Anajli actually...we both cant stop gushing over how great theGame was last night. Shes totally your fan Now! So so very proud of You. OKTHIS IS JUST A REMINDER FOR YOU TO BE TJERE ON TIME.DONT BE LATE.PLEASE?
I grin to myself as I quickly reply :yes superbro..I will be there bang on time..provided you let me get ready now!Its 1pm already...I’ll see you in 30 mins. And that’s so sweet of Anjali...Ijust csnt wait to meet her now!! Ok bye...dont text back.See you super soon..my superbro.
I tap send.
I start my shower, tapping my feet to feeblesounds of Jess's music that was still falling in my ears and I feel a veryhappy peaceful feeling, take over my heart right now.
Because I am so very Happy for myBrother right now.I think hes found the one whom he wants to spend the rest ofhis life with ,which makes me a very happyyy sibling indeed.
On that note ..I forgot to mentionanother Personal Introductory Detail earlier.
My Relationship Status – Currently Single.Ok to be fair enough..let mescratch out that Currently and admit to you all straight away that it’s alwaysbeen that way. AS IN....I have always been Single.No relationship as ofnow...like literally No boyfriends Ever.Why? You may ask? Well to behonest...its Out of PERSONAL choice. For I have never had the time to look atanything beyond Cricket ever since my early teenage years...my personal liferoutine being very simple – Eat..Drink.Train..Exercise..practice and playcricket..spend the remaining time with friends and family a much as I can andthen Sleep...get up the next day and get ready to play more Cricket.Period. Andthen Just Repeat it all in the Same Pattern.
Being in a relationship was kind off never inmy Priority list, until now and it still isnt...Because I am too occupied andemotionally invested with the first love of my Life – which is Cricket.Well tobe fair enough...I also haven’t met anyone yet for whom I kind off want to feellike giving it a Shot...and invest my emotional energies Into anything apartfrom my Game.
Technically..I am born a girl...andthanks to my genetics...i am blessed with a feminine face...but apart fromthat..I am literally a SPORTY tomboy within...I absolutely have no clue as tohow to be in a relationship...and my apprehensions about the same, kind offalso stem from the fact that I also dont know if any boy will be able tounderstand and see me for who I am in my being...and be comfortable to have agirlfriend whose day and night is dedicated to breathing and Thinking Cricket, andis someone who plans to keep herself dedicated towards dawning sweaty sportyjerseys and helmets...half her life. AND I AM VERY CLEAR ON MY STAND THAT I AMNOT GOING TO CHANGE EVEN A TAD BIT OFF WHO I AM WITHIN.IF SOMEONE HAS TO LIKEME...THEY HAVE TO LIKE ME FOR WHO I AM.
So yeah for Now – I am just in a verycommitted relationship with 22 Yards, My Love.
And I also dont think I will meet aSpecial Someone anytime though..and just incase I do...I’ll see how it goes..Then.Notgoing to invest too much energy thinking about it Now.
I quickly close up the showernow...and start to dry myself and minutes later, I put on my Denims and my warmSweatshirt over myself..( since it’s still a little chilly here in Englandbecause its Mid Feb) and I quickly tie up my shoulder length hair into a highponytail, and step out all ready,grinning and relaxed – to meet my Superbro andhis mysterious Anjali.
I chat up with Jess for a couple ofminutes, as she collects her stuff to get into shower and freshen up – beforemaking my way out the Door of my room, very very excited.
It was going to be a GoooddddddDayyyyyy – Indeed!!
Two Hours Later - @ Wagamama,CornerHouse -City Center Nottingham
Khushi POV continues
Hey to You All Again.
I apologise in advance ...you knowjust incase I come across as a Hazed/ Dazed person right now. I MEAN...I AMLITERALLY IN A HAZE/DAZED STUPEOUR THAT I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO COVER UP FROMREFLECTING ON MY FACE TRANSPARENTLY. I have been a State of Shock/ PerpetualDaze ever since I stepped Into this restaurant to meet up my brother and thelove of his Life – Anjali.
In my defence – THIS IS NOT MY FAULT.
ITS MY BROTHERS.
AND WHY THE HAZE /daze..in case youwonder?
Wait..I’ll just tell you all aboutit.
Just hold on A Second.
I smile at Anjali warmly as sheexcuses herself to use the washroom,kissing my brother lovingly on the cheekwith a grin.We are all done with our lunch now..and it’s been Awesome to meetAnjali for real...for she is very sweet and humble and amazing and just seeingher with my brother in one frame for a couple of hours assures me in my gutthat they are meant for Each other. The minute Anjali is now out off sight, Ikick my brother under the table and I gape at him in shock as I state with myhands up to my sides in disbelief – “ how could you not tell me ..that yourAnjali is Anjali singh Raizada...Skipper ASR's younger sister...you could younot???? Yov literally been seeing her for months...and you both are deeply inlove and you tell me about this now????????”
My brother grins at me as he states –“ well I didnt tell you about this until now...because I didnt want to miss theepic expression on your face, that’s why I didnt ever share her picture toowith you because the minute you would spot her..you would know...”
I roll my eyes at him and narrow themat him in disbelief- “ ofcourse I would know...I obviously recognised her theminute I saw her...shes often their in the stands along with her twin brotherAkash supporting ASR in crucial matches.. they always blow up the family onscreen...”
He grins – “ yup...so I obviouslydidnt want to miss the expression on your face Junior..I hope you understandwhy I kept this from you until now...” and his grin turns into a heartfeltsmile as he admits – “ to he honest...I didnt know wed fall for each other thisdeeply...I mean in the beginning when I spotted her in my course...I kind offalways kept a little distance you know because it’s obviouslyoverwhelming..because shes Skippers ASR's sister...and you know we have a lotof Indians on our course and everyone would always just bombard her withquestions and queries about ASR and I most definetly didnt want to be anaddition to that overwhelming list no matter how big a fan I was too because Icould observe from afar that it was like she was always in this awkwardoverwhelming spot...and then one fine day..we got grouped together by ourprofessor for a group assignment...which led us to get talking.. and weconnected instantly Junior...and the more I got to know her for the awesome andamazing person she is..I found myself falling for her..and i was lucky that itwas the same for her..whose sister she is or whose son I am..doesnt matter..ourconnection is amazing Junior...and I think that’s kind of destined to top itall...”
I smile a little as I ask with anatural grin – “ you really love her dont you???”
He grins – “ yes I do...i want totake this up to mom and dad soon...but before it went to then..I obviously wantedmy favourite junior to meet her...tell me what do you think??”
I grin giving him a thumbs up – “shes amazing bhai..and to be honest...as long as you are happy that’s all thatMatters...”
He nods and he says – “ ok sinceAnjali isnt back yet..I have to tell you something...she knows this already butI just want to say it to you...I am kind of freaking out within a lot rightnow...”
I sip on my soothing Japanese greentea as I ask puzzled – “ why??? Why are you FREAKING out???”
He says taking a deep breathe – “because junior..I am kind off like just a day away from meeting herbrothers....both her brothers....ASR and Akash both....”
I literally choke on the sip of mygreen tea now as I ask shocked the hell out of my head – “ what did yousay??????”
JUST A DAY AWAY FROM MEETING SKIPPERASR????
THE ONLY REASON WHY MY INSIDES WERE CALMLYand Dazedly PROCESSING THE INFORMATION THAT BROTHER IS IN LOVE WITH SKIPPERASR'S SISTER WAS BECAUSE – I THOUGHT ANJALI MAYBE HADNT SPOKEN ABOUT IT TO HERFAMILY YET.
Rahul nods nervously as he states- “Itold you Junior...we are very serious about each other... she's obviously toldAkash first about us....and she did say she asked Akash to sum ASR up onit...in transit here...they are coming here Junior to Nottingham...currently theyare on the flight right now..will land at Heathrow at 4pm and will reach Nottsaround 7ish maybe..anjali plans to meet them both alone first today..and shesays that shes going to take care of introducing us tomorrow...I am so veryintimidated by just the thought off actually being just a while away frommeeting ASR...not just because I am a crazy fan...but also because hes thescary brother...Akash is the kool one...god...my nerves are wrecked...”
My insides are back to being Nervoustoo as i process everything and I ask – “ but wait how is he cominghere...didnt they just return from that gruelling NZ and Australia tour...and Ithink australia is coming to tour India soon too right???”
He nods – “ yes...but he hasn’t seenAnjali in a long time so hes kind off squeezed it in for a couple ofdays...”,and I hewr my brother fill me in over how Akash planned it allsmoothly on the other end.
Once he finishes it all to me hestates with a brotherly smile – “ help me on this no Junior...I know you willbe busy training all day tomorrow but in the evening...please be with me when Iam with them no?? I think it’s going to be an additional ice breaker forme...once I introduce him to you...telling him proudly that my sister now playscricket for the national women team too..I obviously asked Anjali to keep thatdetail from Akash too..becuase I wanted to be the one to talk about it becauselike I said..I saved that bit for a ice breaker from my end...so you will bewith me right???.”
I gape at him as I state immediately– “ no no no...bhai no....please....”
He narrows his eyes at me – “ whyKhushi?? I know hes like your inspirational hero too right??? You grew up withthe Teams posters in your room...and he was very much a part of it all..and nowwhen I’m telling you to be with me when i meet him...why won’t you agree??itsbeen your dream to meet him remember???”
I admit honestly and nervously – “yes yes it’s been my dream...but it’s like I always thought I’ll meet him likein a professional setting...like on the pitch/grounds in india..or et theBcCI.. when I am standing alongside our full unit...and this just is like this crazypersonal twist in the picture...”
He nods as he states – “ I know junior...butit’s going to happen sooner or later right...I told you Anjali and me are veryserious...we love each other...please help me on this no???”
I take a deep breathe as I look at mybrothers nervous face and I state after a deep thought – “ fine...bhai....butI’ll only be able to join in much later in the evening once i am free after allour intense training and practice lined up...and please know this..I am onlygoing to tell Jess about this..and we are going to keep this a secret fornow...I dont want everyone in the team to think I am gloating about having apersonal family connect coming in the picture with SKIPPER ASR...ok??”
He nods excited – “ ofcourse ...thankyou Junior...I love you...”
“ I love you too bhai...”.And rightthen i spot Anjali returning to the table and I give her a warm smile and myheart warms even more as i spot my brother lace his arm around her shoulderlovingly and she asks me with a grin now, – “ khushi you are free to spend therest of the day with us right??? I mean i have been dying to meet you for agesnow...and I most definetly am not going to let you go off after just a coupleof hours...Rahul did tell me you have this day off for a little break..which Imust admit is a well deserved break...for that brilliant innings last night wasoutstanding from your bat indeed...I loved those Sixes off your arm...I know Itold you before already but i just have to say it again...”
I smile at her and thank her warmly and assure her that Iwas going to be with them for the rest of the day until about 7pm.
And we resume our chatter as we getup to leave the restaurant and hang out as per what Anjali and bhai haveplanned for a couple of hours after...and I feel my nervousness return to gnawmy insides.
I MEAN JUST THIS MORNING I WASWONDERING ABOUT WHEN WILL I GET THE CHANCE TO MEET SKIPPER ASR AND THE MEN INBLUE...!
AND HOURS LATER I DISCOVER THAT I AMJUST HOURS AWAY FROM MEETING ONE OF BIGGEST CRICKETING INSPIRATIONS FORREAL!!!!!!
And too because His sister and myBrother are in Love!!!!!
I mean...Who would have thought offthat??????
What were the Odds.
Funny how it works.
I look at Anjali and Rahul as they walk hand in handbesides me laughing and all happy together and I find a funny thought come tomy head almost immediately.
Funny thought what?
Funny thought as to How these twoalso shared another thing in Common other than – Love.
The Fascination and Deep Love for Cricket and Its22 Yards...ofcourseee!!
I think I can handle this...now thatI have a couple of hours to process it all again...I mean I am only supposed tomeet him later tomorrow evening right?
I got Time on my hands!
Maybe I’ll just go around runningaround the Trent Bridge later on after dinner...for Running always eases out myJumpy Nervous...Nerves!!!
And my Nerves are obviously a tad bitJumpy right now..!
I mean ..its Natural right?????
For I have kind off been Stumped by aChanced roll of a Dice in here for real.
I mean really guys...out off all theScanerios I had ever imagined in my head ...of Meeting Skipper ASR..thisscenario was never one if them....indeed.
But then...I guess...Sometimes...Itis....how it is Right.
You Cant help It...sometimes Lifejust deals you a pack off Cards...and you just gotta Handle it Through,acceptingthe Fact..that we arent supposed to figure out how Life works Anyway.
FOR THATS FOR LIFE TO KNOW...
FOR LIFE TO FIGURE OUT!!!
Let me know what you all think asAlways...will be eager to read all of yours Feedback over Our Little HitGirl'sIntro!
Thanks guys for all the Love andSupport.
Next Update : TUESDAY evening Mostly.
I am back with a long 11k word Update - yes yes...its the First Meet Updateee Guys.
Absolutely Loved writing it Out.
I shall now let you all Dive in Without Further delay.
Please ignore editing/ repetition of common words errors as I have not Proofread.
CHAPTER 3 – UNDER THE "TRENT" BRIDGE....BY CHANCE.
@TRENT BRIDGE, NOTTINGHAM
SAME DAY - 16TH FEB, 9:35 PM
It's a Good thing that my Direction sense in terms of roads, ways, routes has always been Awesome, and even though Its been a little more than a year, since I last came here, I am very happy to discover that my head's kind off still able to re-route all the directions that are like my priority /most often visited areas – in Nottingham, and I do not need to turn to Google Maps/or my phone GPS for assistance, as I, continue to Run at a Comfortable pace, taking in the fresh air and the Vibe of being back in the city that's kind off got a very special place in my Heart.
Its still a little chilly around since its mid Feb – so I am also glad that I have my warm sweatshirt on over my comfortable tracks – amidst my Running Spree right now. Also my face is half covered from my sides – with the Brooding Hoodie of my Sweatshirt (for privacy reasons),and I'v got my phone strapped to my arm in a arm band, for that's where I like to keep my phone safely tucked in when I am running , so that my hands are free to alternate between holding onto my water bottle, and my music is flowing through my headphones, falling into my ears in a rhythmic beat which kind off matches the rhythmic pace of my feet right now.
I love the vibe off Nottinghamshire.(Technically that's the Vintage English name of this City, which is about a 2 hours 30 minutes drive distance from London – but then the shire got knocked off from the regular syllable and everyone came around to calling it just Nottingham, over the Years)
How do I know my routes around here so well?(because Anjali just started studying here in September last year, and I haven't visited since).
Well, I know my ways around here, so very well – because we the Men in Blue kind off come here, very often anyway, sometimes Twice/thrice/four times too in a year – because everytime we are in for a tour to England for a bilateral series, tri-nation tournaments, or ICC Tournaments, we most definitely always have a match scheduled at the Iconic Trent Bridge Cricket Stadium, here in Nottingham. Its like this common venue – for International cricketing fixtures. Infact in the upcoming World Cup, this Summer – a lot of matches in the group stages are scheduled at the Trent Bridge Cricket Stadium. And this Iconic stadium is also the Home ground for Nottingham County Cricket Club. County Cricket (or as we call it in India, domestic cricket), is a really big scene in England. And Why Not?. England's kind off like the birthplace of the game off Cricket.
So I just mentioned in a thought above, how this city's kind off got a very special in my heart. Why? Wana take a Guess?.Ok Hint.Its not just because my sister is studying here in its University's excellently ranked Business School,or that its anyway a gorgeous vintage Englishtown, but its for a reason quite personal in my emotions. Ok – more like in my Cricketing emotions.
Did any one of you Guess it Already?
I will tell you all about it anyway.
The central reason why I have a special place in my heart for this City – is because, I played my first ever International Test Match, right here at the Trent Bridge Cricket Stadium, back in the day in the summer of 2011. Its amazing pitch and ground is where – I made my International Test Debut, and it was a monumental moment in time for me back then to be named in the Test Squad as well, along with my legendary seniors for a Bilateral Test Series with England. I still remember, feeling all jittery and nervous on the night before my first test match, because until then I had been able to showcase my talent with the bat in the National ODI and T20 Squads, but that was going to be like my first International Test Debut. It was a big deal for me. And it surely still is like that fond moment of time that I look back at in my cricketing career, because starting from that very point at feeling all nervous and jittery before the first ever International test to the Point of then being handed over the Test Captaincy first – years later to now earning that spot at No 2 in the ICC Test Players Ranking, is a memorable journey for me personally that I have made as a international cricketer in the longest , traditional , format of the Game.
Know what Guys?
Back then in the Summer of 2011, right before my Test Debut – I remember taking this long run starting from our Hotel to the areas, around and Under the Trent Bridge, in order to ease up my jumpy nerves.(Because the Stadium is like right there – in the background vicinity of the Trent Bridge, and I remember jogging around there until Midnight, all by myself because it gets completely deserted around there after 9ish, and I was continuously gazing at the vicinity of the Cricket Stadium amidst my run – listening to just One of my all time Favourite Song in my Playlist on Repeat for multiple times that night,(almost a little over 50 times) - telling myself that I could do this, that I could mentally condition myself to perform in an international series in the longest format of the game as well and by the time we finished playing the 5day test match in the days that followed, I was awarded the Player of the Match for that first ever Test Match, I ever played Internationally. It was a precious moment in Time, indeed.).
So, now, everytime I am in Nottingham, ever after since , I most definitely try to go around the areas under the Trent Bridge, for a run into the Night, all by myself to just relive a little bit of my very own precious nostalgic moments from the cricketing journey I have made to this point.
And I am sure you all have Guessed it but I shall state it anyway that – that's precisely where I am going now too to just relive that little personal nostalgic moment from back then in time and to also just sit by myself on that soothing grass around, and gaze into the waters of the Trent River flowing under the bridge, as I process the fact for Real that maybe I am really heading close towards the time of letting my sister Anjali go, as in – in terms of marriage.
So we had reached Nottingham about a little before 7pm, and Anjali was obviously there waiting for us at our hotel, Hilton in time for our Arrival. The three of us siblings went up to the Suite immediately and we spent some really good time catching up and talking to each other, and as she filled me and Akash in more over about her beau Rahul – it was like I most definitely could spot the happiness on her face and the twinkle in her eye, as she talked about him to Us. She looked so happy, that it really did warm my heart a thousand times more as I realised that she truly is in love with this man. We called in room service for Dinner, and we continued to just talk and be with each other , catch up with Mom Dad and Dadi back at home on video calls respectively until about 920ish, when Anjali started to get nervous text messages and calls from Rahul asking her how was it going with us etc, which led Anjali to feel a sudden gush of love for Rahul and she was all like – " bhai, Akash...ill just get going now and go back to my student accommodation to see him and calm him down, because he really has been fretting about seeing you both for real, specially you bhai, because he is such a big fan of you and is currently also totally intimidated by that and also the image off your scary brother personna...".
I had chuckled at that ofcourse, and then Anjali had also requested me to be a little more gentle in my brotherly interrogations with him tomorrow and I had rest assured her that I will try my best on that for sure, and Akash had assured her that he was going to be all cool and easy as much as he could be too – which made our sister very very happy and both us brothers earned a very warm and beaming relaxed hug from her, before she left. Akash had wanted to catch up on some rest and also get on calls back at home with Payal – so he retired to his room thereafter wishing me good night and I decided to get out and feel in the air of the city and get on with my run to the Trent Bridge.
I look at the time in the Fitness band on my hand – 9:42 PM, I think I should be there in another 7 to 8 minutes. I am loving the vibe off just being on the Run on this route after such a long time.So Even though we had travelled I wasn't tired at all, because my body is used to such hectic travel schedule already, so it kind off has gained the ability to just adapt to it all smoothly.
A couple of minutes later as I am just a couple of minutes away from the vintage arches under the sides off the Trent Bridge and its lush garden and walkway, I realise that this run is really helping me ease my nerves. For my Nerves are obviously jumpy and a little brotherly worry does continue to eat a part of my head – as I hope desperately in my Heart that tomorrow when I meet Rahul, I am able to spot the same intensity of Love shining in his eyes for my sister as I see in her eyes for Him. I am hoping quite hard that he is as sure about her, just as she is about Him.
"bhai..i love him so very much...I knew it in my heart from kind off like the very first time I spoke to him, that theres something special in between of us , in the ways we connected almost instantly. You wont believe this bhai, he was kind off the only Indian or even a general cricket fan on our entire course, who never spoke or pried or asked me overwhelming questions about you – ever. Infact he always kept distance from me, until we got grouped together for a project, and as we got talking and when I got to know how crazy a fan he is about cricket or you...I asked him, how come he never asked me anything about you, because he most surely knew who I was, but he was all like, because I understood from afar by just observing that you were in this awkward overwhelming spot all the time Anjali, and I most definitely didn't want to overwhelm You, and he's never done anything overwhelming to make me feel that he is talking or being around me or being with me, just because I am your sister...he sees me for who I am bhai, he loves me for who I am...and that means the world to me, He really is the one. I just know it in my heart".
Hmmmm.So I am obviously aware that me,being Who I am..does kind of inevitably ends up putting both my siblings into awkward overwhelming spots - at times, when they go about living their lives.And to be honest, her above said words to me with context to Rahul, kind off did make him earn a brownie point in my Head.
A image of Anjali's happy in Love face flashes through my head instantly and I feel my jumpy nerves ease down a little more. Ok so now - all I got to do is be fair and gentle and unbiased in my observations off Rahul tomorrow.
But you know what? Now all of a sudden a thought comes to my mind.A thought that's kind off been triggered by the deep hidden corners of my Heart maybe?.Nonetheless it's a thought that makes me think – how can one be so sure in their hearts when they know that -this person is the One?
I mean does one feel one's Heart ring a Bell in their Head all off a Sudden?
Or does Life send a Sign or a indication in your gut which is supposed to be like a placard directing you into that someones's direction.You know like how the distance boards say.
Distance to Notitngham – 200 Kms.
Does Life flash around a placard in your Gut when you are around the One – giving like a signal alerting you – Beep Beep – Distance to the One Meant for You – 500 Meters???
Crazy off me to just ask that - I know. But I can't help but Wonder. See as a sportsperson, I do rely on my gut instinct a lot when I am playing – taking on some shots and decisions which are also backed by a feeling in the gut along with the rational thoughts of the Mind. But I most definitely haven't experienced any emotional intuition in terms off Romance yet ever. I mean with Pia – it was the attraction that sparked off first which led me to eventually think as a basic liking developed along the way too that maybe this could lead to something concrete.But what I mean to say is – that it was all always rationalised and thought out in my head, which could be perhaps a reason why I never fell in love with her? And well eventually I did thank my heart to be its very own saviour in the nick off time, when I had discovered the cheating.
Who knows how it all works Anyway?
And I also don't think we are supposed to know it too,since that's kind off Like - Life's job description and not Ours.
( **Authors note - i am trying to attach the location spot pictures..in here too but it's not happening..will try again...but I have inserted the same location Picture in the cover page Media of this Chapter already..please see that.. the pic as you can spot a branch of a huge tree in the side vicinity that's the tree Arnav is around and Khushi is in the front...please imagine a night setting**
I am also trying to add some night pictures of the trent bridge below but that's the picture is of the bridge and the lights affect not the exact spot location where the meeting is going to happen..that location is in the Media cover page picture above the chapter title as it Begins..please see surely and also..just incase the picture of the nightbaffect doesnt get added in here..please google Trent Bride Nottingham at night to just see the light affect around the space before you proceed further.Apologies for the little inconvnience but the pictures are just not getting added )
** Sorryyyy About That**
ARNAV POV continues
I pause in my chain of thoughts for I am nearing My Spot which is right ahead in front off the big Tree I am about to walk past in just a second –to reach near the grassy area off the infamous arches of the Trent Bridge. I am pretty much sure that its going to be completely deserted again for its about 950 Pm now.I am also very excited to just sit by myself and relax and bask in the happiness that I feel in my heart when I look back at my Journey.
But I halt in my tracks almost Immediately now, even before I could walk past the Huge Tree – because I realise that I was Wrong.
Because this place is Not Deserted. I mean one would still call it Deserted, but what I mean to say is that it is not completely deserted.For theres one someone right there in front off me, with their back to me – standing exactly in the area which I refer to as My Spot.
I pause my music immediately and I take off my headphone and my Hoodie off my head as I lean sideways into the tree trunk, and fold my arms around my chest as I take a couple of minutes to just observe – the person, who coincidentally happens to be the only person apart from me here – standing right in MY SPOT.(as in the Spot where I spend time sitting by myself – after I finish up on my jogging time around here).And as I narrow my eyes to look closer I realise that this person is a She.( Her figure gives her away obviously)
Why is there a woman in My Spot right now? Why would a woman be here all alone by herself right now??????? As in – why is a Woman here – right when I was thinking a couple of minutes ago – that does life has a way off sending out Signs when you are Near and around The One Meant For You????????????
RAIZADA – HOLD THE HORSES OFF YOUR THOUGHTS.
That Last Thought is most definetly a thought that's resulted because off – Anjalis happy in love energy has transferred its sparkle dust on my head. Maybe?
I sip on some water from my bottle to Distract myself from the Crazy Thought.
So my presence is obviously concealed because of the help I have with this tree around me and this mysterious Her in front off me is still kind off oblivious to my presence around her. I narrow my eyes even more now as I feel my gut ask me to just silently observe some more and so I decide to follow it through.I narrow my eyes even more to get in the vision , because its kind off Dark around here, with just apart from a couple of street lamps around and the lights from the Trent Bridge falling on the Water below, and the lights from the traffic in transit over the Bridge.
She's starting to stretch her legs behind one by one by pulling it with her hand and holding onto her feet and ankle for a couple of seconds. Just like how we athletes usually stretch after a Long Run.
How Freaky a Coincidence is This?
A Coincidence What?
This Woman is literally dressed in the Same Attire As Me right now.
Deep Navy Blue Hoodie Sweatshirt – and the Hoodie is Up her Head Too.
She's even got a Arm band like mine on her right arm and I spot a wire running through which means shes got some Music Playing in her ears – a reason why she's still probably all lost in her Moment by herself and is oblivious to my Presence.
And I watch in sheer surprise now, and I feel a smile curve up my lips on its own as I see her now complete her stretching schedule and after a couple of minutes – she hops to the side around completely and starts humming to a Tune she's probably listening too in her music and she starts to stride up her feet in a movement like marking her Steps as she goes along and as I am watching and observing closely I can roughly estimate in my head that shes probably marked up her steps in a stride upto a distance of around 22 Yards, before she finally turns around again and Starts to Stride in a Single Leg Hopscotch pattern, hopping her way back to the 22 Yards steps she's marked through her feet, and I watch in sheer amusement as she repeats this pattern about five times to and fro and once she is done with the single leg Hopping Hopscotch pattern – she starts to hop and jump with both her feet in to the invisible marked up steps pausing at every step – and jogging on the spot in a vigorous manner for a couple of minutes.
She's literally Jogging on the Spot at every step she Hops Too - in a Speed as if she's Running a Olympic Marathon. And Once again – she turns around in her Pattern the minute she reaches that 22 Yards Distance Mark.
IS THIS THE DAWN OF SERENDIPIDITY OR WHAT?
SURELY FEELS LIKE IT – AS A THOUGHT CONSUMES MY HEAD.
22 Yards – is the Distance of Our Cricket Pitch too.Like the Distance from Stump to Stump!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Why is she marking her Distance to 22 Yards???????????
Theres something surely Crazy about this Moment, for I feel like I am drawn to this Stranger in a way I cannot explain.
I haven't even seen her Face Yet. Only a little bit off her Side Profile.Because her face is all Hidden by the Brooding Sides of Her Hoodie as she is Proceeding around Her Hopping and Jogging.
And now all of sudden I see her pause in her Pattern Exercise and she sits down in My Spot now , folding her legs in front off her (She's still got her back to me),and she finally flips her Hoodie off her head now, and opens up her hair and Brushes her hand through them, and she turns her head side to side as if she's looking to check and reconfirm that she is the only one around here, which makes me chuckle on reflex in my spot from behind her. I see her flip out her earphones now and I hear her state pretty much to herself – " okk then...since we are still alone here dear music, how about if I indulge in some sing along with you as I gaze into the calming waters of the Trent River right now?? Ok wait...lets not sit and do this...lets sway along the invisible 22 yards...."
I was right in my Estimation.
She did mark up her Steps into 22 Yards.
I still can't see her face clearly from afar and now I really am feeling drawn to both her and the Moment. I need to see her Face – maybe strike up a conversation?
And just as I am about to walk up to her from my spot now, I pause in my tracks again immediately as I hear a very familiar tune flow through my ears now and I stay rooted in my spot because I am shocked and surprised to the core as I watch her starting to Sway from side to side walking up on her very own marked up steps again – and she starts to sing the Song Along too.Which Song? The same very song that I heard on repeat a little over 50 times – back in the Summer of 2011, the night before my first International Test Debut.
THIS IS THE DAWN OF SERENDIPITY INDEED.
HOW FREAKY IS THIS?
HOW IS THIS EVEN POSSIBLE?????
I AM SHOCKED THE HELL OUT OF MY MIND RIGHT NOW.
Her Voice though.Theres Something Soothing About it.And just the way she is Singing one of my Favourite songs of all time- with so much passion in her Voice – kind off makes me feel more Drawn to Her, a thousand times more. She's done singing it one Time Over – as I stand Dazed and Shocked and Rooted to my Spot due to the Craziness of the Moment.
Once she's done , I hear her state to Herself again – "Okkkk thennnnn...lets Repeat singing this beauty out once more...before I go back to listening it all night..."
SHE'S GOING TO LISTEN TO THIS SONG ON REPEAT ALL NIGHT?
Oh which song it is – you wonder?
Go the Distance – by Michael Bolton.
A Mix of her Voice along with a mix off Michael Boltons in the background continues to fall in my ears AGAIN , as she continues to sway along her steps–
I have often dreamed of a far off place
Where a hero's welcome would be waiting for me
Where the crowds would cheer, when they see my face
And a voice keeps saying this is where I'm meant to be
I'll be there someday, I can go the distance
I will find my way..... if I can be strong
I know every mile.... would be worth my while
When I go the distance.... I'll be right where I belong...
Down an unknown road to embrace my fate
Though that road may wander, it will lead me to you
And a thousand years would be worth the wait
It might take a lifetime but somehow I'll see it through
And I won't look back, I can go the distance
And I'll stay on track, no I won't accept defeat
It's an uphill slope
But I won't loose hope, 'till I go the distance
And my journey is complete, oh yeah
But to look beyond the glory is the hardest part
For a hero's strength is measured by his heart, oh
Like a shooting star, I will go the distance
I will search the world, I will face its harms
I don't care how far, I can go the distance
'Till I find my hero's welcome waiting in your arms
I will search the world, I will face its harms
'Till I find my hero's welcome waiting in your arms
( authors note - attaching the Songtrack incase any of you want to listen..its a beautiful no..was a part off movie Hercules.)
ARNAV POV Continues
Once she is done with the Sing Along a Second Time Over – she literally plonks herself back into My Spot, crossing her legs in front off her and she raises her arms up in relaxation stretching it backwards side to side and she states pretty much to herself again – " well...now that feels great isn't it..i am all relaxed now...no need to worry about the crazy day in store for me tomorrow.....oh shoot...its getting late now...",and she pauses in her self talk as her phone rings and she puts it on speaker instantly and I hear a girls peppy voice through the speaker – " khushi...where the hell are you??? why aren't you back yet??? We are all chilling and relaxing playing PS...cmon then...come soon..."
She's an Indian.
I mean – its safe to conclude that Khushi is an Indian name.
Is she a Student or Something????
I hear her chuckle as she says into the phone – " yes Jess...ill be there in a bit...you know I did plan to chill here for a little more...but then...now that you mentioned PS,my love...I most definitely am going to head back soon...the hotels just a 10- 15 minute walk back anyway, and if I jog back..ill be there quicker...see you soonnnn...okk byeee now...",and she hangs up.
THE DAWN OF SERENDIPIDITY CONTINUES.
I LOVE TO PLAY PS TOO.
GUYS THIS IS GETTING WAY TOO INSANE.
I rake my head mentally for the route knowledge I have of Nottingham – there are only two Hotels which are just a ten- 15 minute walk away from here.One Is Hilton which is where I am staying and second is Holiday Inn – on the other side. Like two different paths from these two hotels lead to this location under the Trent Bridge.
She's staying in a Hotel.
So most definitely not a Student.
Who is she then?
Is she a Singer? Her voice is really Good?
Or wait – is she like a Runner Athelete?
I see her get up on her feet now and she states to herself again in a loud scolding voice to herself – " khushi ya...such a fool you are...you come for a run out here, without a bottle of water...shit ya...im getting thirsty now...ok...five minutes run back to the hotel...no worries..."
I have Water on Me.
Perfect Excuse to Go Up and Strike up a Conversation with Ms.Serendipity.
I just have to see Her Face- Now.
I cant let her leave right now.
I see her starting to walk away as she turns around, adjusting her Hoodie back up her head and I walk up from my spot near tree now as I pace up to her and say , knowing she will hear me because her earphones aren't plugged in her ears yet – " well...you most definitely can have some water off my bottle you know since you are so thirsty..."
I see her halt in her Tracks almost immediately as she registers in my voice and she asks in surprise,not turning around to face me – " holy hell....i wasn't alone around here????????i thought I was...godammit me...".Embarrassment is evident in her voice as she finishes up her sentence.
I chuckle on reflex now as I say offering my water to her from the side – " yes...I know that...I mean I kind off figured that you thought you were alone... well...hey..why don't you sip on some water first...you did do some crazy pattern exercising out there before you got on that singing and swaying spree..."
She asks embarrassment evident in her voice again – " oh hell...you saw all of that too...like all of that....????"
I chuckle as I admit – " yes I did..."
She asks – " ok...but before I go about to sip on water from a strangers bottle...I want to ask you something and I am going to take your word for it...you aren't a crazy creepy Crawly burglar lurking around the background observing on its target of robbery..or something right???? Who plans to rob me right now off my phone or my fitness band..dude I am telling you..I have just five pounds on me anyway...so theres not much you can get I terms of cash...but if you want my phone or fitness band...I'll just hand it to you and run away...if that's what you want...sooo....this is like a offer of truce to you straight away...theres no need for hustle bustle..I'll give you what you want and run away along my way with a lesson learnt that I shouldn't come here when it's going to be deserted from here on.....and I mean...I do have a lot of physical strength..and could most definetly turn around in a second and hit you where it hurts the most...but then like I said...I dont want to get into any hustle bustle becuase I dont want to injure myself..."
Crazy Creepy Crawly Burgular lurking Around in the Background observing on his target off Robbery??????
How amusing is this???? I have never been referred to something so creepy in all of my life ever..but then it's highly amusing for me because I realise that yes...the whole context around the Situation with us..could definetly be coming across as Creepy to Her.
I admit taking a deep breathe,sure the amusement was evident in my voice - " well no...I most definetly can assure you that this is your encounter with a through gentleman and not some crazy creepy crawly burgular for sure..I mean cmon..If I wanted to rob you off your phone and fitness band I could have most definetly taken it off you when I had the opportunity to catch you off guard while you were lost in your moments..why would I wait to make my presence obvious?? Creeply crawly Burgulars dont do that Missy..so yes..this is just me being a gentleman and offering you on some help with the water,becuase you are thirsty..."
She states immediately in her next breathe letting out a sigh of relief- " oopppps...I'm sorry.. I didnt think off that..yes you are right...yiu could have caught me off guard if you wanted too....but you understand that I dont mean to offend you or something...just watching out for my very own safety..."
Ok..this scene from My Life is surely going to go down as an Epic Crazy One Indeed.
I state - " yes yes..ofcourse...I understand..safety is priority offcourse..please be rest assured..you are more than just safe here, in my presence.."
She states with a sigh of relief- " okk then...even though iv already embarrassed the hell out off myself in front of you now...I mean...you did end up witnessing my crazy charade and then Iv also called you as a potential crazy creepy crawly burgular ....when you probably are a helpful gentleman instead...you wouldn't mind if the crazy me drinks up some water off your bottle first, for I most surely am very thirsty..."
I am enjoying the fact that she's still frozen to her spot in sheer...embarrasement right now. I admit amused – " why would I mind Missy...its what i wanted to help you with anyway...i mean..why do you think I offered it to you in the first place...??"
" ok then..I'll help myself with your water then..thank you so very muchhhh....".She doesn't turn around to look up at me yet and just takes the bottle from my hand and I watch from behind as she gulps down on sips of water .My need to see her face now..is kind off reaching its Peak.Once she is done gulping down on my entire water bottle she states ,asking embarrassed again – " oops..sorry...you weren't thirsty were you?? I kinda just gulped it all down..."
I say immediately – " no I wasnt dont worry about it at all...but you know what I am kind off amused as to how you still wont turn around to look at my face right now...i mean now that you know I am the helpful gentleman...are you going to have a conversation with your back to me right now????"
She states immediately with a embarrassed chuckle – "yes yes..most definetly yes.. well that's because I am embarrassed ofcourse ya...thanks for the water though...Mr.Stranger....."
I say immediately – " trust me...I understand...ok...so I do want to let you in on the reason why I was just observing you from afar... you know what that's one of my favourite songs you were singing to yourself out there??"
Her reply comes in a soft surprised voice – "what????? really??its one of your favourite numbers too?????"
Why can't she just turn around to look at me???
I mean I understand she is embarrassed and stuff but I really need to look at her.Will it be too Rude if I hold onto her arm and make her turn around to come face to face to me – myself? Or Jump up from the Side in front off her knowing she is embarrassed to look at me in the face right now...I mean would both the scenarios be like really Rude or Something????
I admit ,still in conflict over that thought above – " well yes really....and not just that, the reason why I stood rooted to my spot just watching you from afar before that was...also because first thing out – I have never ever in all these years..ever spotted anyone in my spot ..like ever before...literally...like never before...and I was also too shocked and dazed becuase you are kind off also dressed like how I am dressed right now...black tracks..navy blue sweatshirt hoodie, same colour sports shoes..and you also have a arm band to tuck your phone into just like ,i have one on my arm too...infact the only difference between the two of ours outwardly appearance right now is the fact that you have your Hoodie on your head right now and mine is off my head....."
"Waiiiiittttttttt??????????? What?????????????really???? And what do you mean...your spot??" – she asks in a soft surprised tone again.
I admit – " as in, this space under the Trent bridge...on the grass by the river exactly where you were sitting after...it's a space I like to come often too, to just be myself whenever I am visiting Nottingham...and over the years I just refer to it in my head as my spot..."
"ohhhhh..ohkk...I get you...I am sorry I guess? I mean you came here to be by yourself maybe but had to witness my craziness, instead...", she says embarrassment dripping in her voice again.
I answer immediately – " hey no...please don't be sorry at all...and you know what? Another strange coincidence..hearing you sing that song was like a dejavu for me for real, because I once sat right here on my spot – listening to that very song on repeat atleast a fifty times over.. until about midnight,years ago...like back in the Summer of 2011...."
"What??? What?? What???reallllllllllyyyyyyyyyyyyy???", comes her shocked and dazed and surprised voice.
And I admit – " yup...really....."
She admits with a chuckle – " how strange is this whole crazy coincidental encounter..then??? I mean..for real...i am kind off sure that it couldn't get any more stranger than it already is right now...Mr.Stranger???do you agree??"
I am looming from behind her , leaning a little side ways so that I can see her face from the side a little atleast. But Nope I can't.The Crazy Hoodie off her Sweatshirt is covering up my Side View too now completely.– "yes I know..this is strange indeed...and I do think it cant get any stranger too....but hey.. listen..why won't you look at me now atleast...are you still embarrassed??? ..."
She admits with a chuckle – " yes...still very much embarrassed the hell out of my head..so nope...I am not looking at you Mr Stranger ..."
I ask on reflex– " ok ok fine..alrighty...I get it..but wait...can I ask you something??will you answer me???"
She nods– " yupp ok...I will...as long as you don't ask me to turn around and look at you...". I think she is smiling to herself embarrassed though...you know I can sense a smile in her voice right now.
I ask now instantly,wanting to know the answer to this – " why did you Mark up the distance in your steps to be roughly around 22 Yards?????"
She chuckles fondly as she asks – " you figured that out even?? And do you really want to know for real???"
I admit – " yes..yes..i really want to know..why 22 yards??"
She chuckle as she says – " ok this is getting really stranger now though...but amusing too you know since I have never had a conversation about this with a stranger, and that too a stranger I am too embarrassed to look into the face right now...but hey...you asked me a question about my 22 yards...I most definitely have to answer you...out of the respect and love...that I have for my 22 yards..."
WHAT DOES SHE MEAN?
I ask immediately – " what do you mean?? And why My 22 yards??"
She chuckles – " well that's because I often refer to it as - 22 yards, my love because that's what it is...the distance of 22 yards is kind off like the love of my life...and 22 is also the date I was born...22 august.."
MY HEADS IN A OVERDRIVE.
Did she just say the distance 22 yards is like the love of her Life????
I ask - "why ?? why would you say that 22 yards is the love of your life??"
She admits with a fond chuckle in her voice – " because 22 yards is the length of the cricket pitch no...that's where you play cricket... Mr Stranger...and you do realise we are kind off in the background off the iconic Trent Bridge Cricket Stadium too..."
WHAT DID SHE JUST SAY?
HOLY HELLL...THIS JUST GOT WAY TOOO STRANGER THAN IT EVER COULD BE.
She most definitely cannot be saying this because she's recognised me for who I am as Captain of the Indian Cricket Team .For she hasn't seen me at all yet and its impossible for her to recognise my voice too in real time right now too because on TV or on Mike..my voice has got a added hymm and weight to it.Everyone in my family and friends circle say so...my voice does have a different node to it in real time. And we are meeting for the first time otherwise in reality – I haven't seen her face yet and she hasn't seen mine. So I am kind off really in a ADDED DAZE right now as she says this to me.
THE DAWN OF SERENDIPITY CONTINUES TO CONSUME MY BEING.
I ask in a dazed voice – " so...you love cricket????"
She says immediately – " oh yes I do...and know what Mr Stranger..22 is also kind of my lucky number...since it matches 22 yards and is also my bday...and also that's why I chose 22 to be the number of my jersey too...I have always played with Jersey No 22..."
IF SHE SAYS CRICKET RIGHT NOW – ILL HAVE A HEART ATTACK BECAUSE OF THE CRAZINESS OF THE MOMENT IN TIME – INDEED.
I ask in daze again – " play what??what do you play???"
She chuckles now – " Mr Stranger..you really seem to be a little dim at connecting the dots ya....its so obvious in everything I just told you...but I think I need to be more specific to you maybe...so yes...you asked..play what? my love for 22 yards and the cricket pitch obviously means...I play Cricket offcourse.....like Duhhhhh...."
THIS IS GOING DOWN AS ONE OF THE MOST FREAKIEST COINCIDENTAL ENCOUNTER MOMENT OF MY LIFE RIGHT NOW.
I ask in a dazed voice so as to just reconfirm again – " what did you just sayyyyyy????????"
She says with a chuckle in her voice again – " I said..I play cricket Mr Stranger...and I do so officially..as in professionaly, I am a cricketer..i play for India Women..i mean I am relatively new in the national team..a little over just six months...we are currently on a tour of England right now...the 3rd ODi finished last night right here at the iconic cricket stadium behind us...and we still have t20 series to play...and I am here right now because I thought being here by myself for a while will calm my jittery nerves...and also a moment from yesterday's match will have its sparkling happy affect on me..."
OH MY GOD.
SHE IS A CRICKETER.
SHE PLAYSSSSSSSSSSSS PROFESSIONALY FOR INDIA????????????!!!!!!
A MEMROY CLICKS IN.Almost Immediately.
INDIA WOMEN – THEY WERE SCHEDULED TO BE TOURING ENGLAND IN FEBURARY.
MY BAck of My HEAD IS AWARE.How? Because I had a chat up with Mira Raj their Captain at the BCCI office before we left for the Australia NZ tour months ago, she did brief me up over the fixtures lined up for them.
But to be Honest I am kind off embarrassed to admit that – I wasn't aware of the complete details of their schedule with venue details, dates etc, because I have been so caught up with the NZ and Australia Tour for months and just taking some time off after – that I didn't follow up on developments/progress and results of their Game and Fixtures.
I should Have.
I ask now wanting to know more immediately – " and how did the ODI series go??and what happy moment from last nights match??"
She admits happiness evident in her voice – " well...we clinched the ODI series Mr Stranger, 2 – 1.England won the first match, we won the respective two that followed, and the moment from last night...well I did kind off did receive my first ever Player of the match award in an ODI last night sooo..yeah......"
HOW MUCH MORE FREAKIER IS THIS?
She got her First player of the Match in an International ODI right here?? I got my first ever player of the match in my International Test Debut right here tooooo.
OK NOW...THIS HAS SURELY CROSSED THE LIMITS OF DAWN OF SERENDIPITY.
THIS IS MORE LIKE THE TIDES OFF SERENDIPITY RIGHT NOW.
I admit now, sure that the admiration was evident in my voice – " wow....that's amazing indeed...many many congratulations to you...I am sure you must be thrilled indeed...the first ever player of the match awards are so very precious aren't they??"
She says , excitement and happiness is evident in her voice – " ohh yes...they are so very precious indeed...you know what.. the only reason I got sleep last night was because I kind off dozed off from exhaustion the minute I lied down on my bed...or else..i surely wouldn't have got any in the excitement....", she finishes with a chuckle.
I chuckle on reflex as I ask – " really?? That exhausted???"
She nods her head – " oh yes Mr Stranger...oh yes...lotta running in between the wickets...quite a bit off it...but in my cricketing defense I had been batting for a long time..."
I ask inquisitve – " really ?? how long??"
She says – " three hours Mr Stranger...kind of like through the innings....i play on No 2..so yeahhhh ...".
Which means she opens alongside Sheena Mathur.My head rakes up now as another memory clicks in. Wait Wait Wait..is she the player Mira was mentioning about to Rohan and Me at the BCCI office months ago during our chat up where in she spoke about the upcoming fixtures. I remember She did say something like - "ASR..Rohan..we have got an excellent young opener alongside Sheena now, you should just see her Hit her Sixes...we'v started calling her Our Little Hit Girl in the Dressing room"
Is she the Little HitGirl??
And I am just about to ask her the same, if she is the one with the Nickname the Little HitGirl, when I hear her chuckle as she states – " you know what I have to admit...as strange as this is...its still kind off continues to amuse me as I am...having a conversation with my back to a Stranger...I mean its been amusing from the very start ofcourse, but its getting even more funny now, because im starting to get amazed over how much at ease I am at now...in this weird scenario.....and well it's also strangely strange that I am able to talk to you so easily even though I haven't even seen your face yet...so see I anyway chatter and jabber a lot..but what I mean is if never had a conversation this long with my back to someone..for mostly I like to see the person in their face during my conversations..."
I admit sure she could sense the grin in my voice – "and well..you gotta beleive that iv never been in a conversation for these many minutes with someone with their backs to me for real..and its also likewise in the latter..as in...I feel very much at ease in this weird situation...and I do want to talk to you for a couple of minutes more if that's ok?and please also know that I most definetly want to see your face too...its you who won't turn around to look at me..Iv been kind off fighting the urge to just turn you around or jump up straight in front of you for a while now...but I'm not doing any of the above becuase I dont want to come across as rude..since I know you are consumed with embarrassment right now..."
Oh Man - she most surely will get the Shock off Her Life as she Turns around to Look at Meee.
I am biting back my grin, fighting the Urge to Jump up in front off Her - Again.
She states - " thats really very kind off you to be considerate over how embarrassed I am right now..thanks..and well yes..I am ok to talk for a couple of minutes more...but..", she pauses and immediately puts her one hand up to her side shaking her finger in a No – No gesture – " however it's still nope on that since..I'm still too embarrassed so...yes...not happeneing..I am telling you ya...I am not turning around..."
This One.She's really Captivating and Adorable.
I cant FREAKING beleive this.As in..I haven't even seen her face Yet and I am so Drawn to Her.
What is even Happening Right now? I have no THOUGHTFUL logic to Support it.
It's just Strangely Biazzare.
But Strangely Biazzare in a Very Good Way - Indeed.
In a Stangely Bizzarw but a Precious Bizzare kind off WAY - Too.
But Like really though?How is it Possible for me to feel so Drawn and Connected to both the Moment and Her, when I havent even seen her Yet. AND She also doesnt even know my Name Yet!!!
I admit now , hoping that this will make her turn around – " well SO..how about this...I am hoping that this will make you turn around...what if I tell you I love the 22 yards too...as in I love cricket too...its also kind off like the love of my life too....so see...i just told you that we have another thing in common then...wont you still turn around??cmon atleast now....just...look at me..."
She hasn't turned around but asks , curiosity evident in her voice – " really??? You love cricket too??you say it's the love of your life too??? So you watch the matches then surely too????but wait?? Do you watch our matches too? As in like the womens team??",and her shoulders droop a little as she states with a sigh – " well I am guessing you don't because then you would know the result of the ODI series we just played no??so..i guess..you are only interested in watching the men's games perhaps..well...its ok..i understand you know...I get it...i mean cmon,we are all aware about the dominant love of patriarchy in the world of cricket..."
I KNOW WHAT SHE MEANS BY THAT.
AS IN WHY SHE SAID THAT.
ITS SOMETHING THAT I FEEL IS VERY UNFAIR TOO – PERSONALLY.
I state on reflex in an apologetic tone – " I' m sorry...as in please know that personally I think its really unfair too...because it's the same game...and I do keep a tap on India Women's progress too...but I'v just been caught up in my hectic work profile...so I haven't been able to keep a tap off your fixtures and game developments off late.."
She states In a comforting tone as she shrugs her shoulders – " why are you saying sorry ya...please don't be sorry...I understand.."
I ask immediately – " it must be overwhelming right though?? the gender bias? how does everyone in the current team take this??"
She sighs but her voice Is relaxed as she shrugs – " well...to be honest...it does get overwhelming ya sometimes Mr Stranger but we don't let it deter our spirit trying to keep as much as focus on our game and performance which is the key, and honestly things are improving and getting better for us and we have full conviction that's its only going to improve from here on as long as we continue to perform with the bat....we have faith Mr Stranger....and on a personal level..its like I love the game..period...and in the end it all narrows down to that..hence we all go on determined and positively, observing our amazing Men in Blue and their game very closely so that we can learn and adapt from it as much as we can....why look at things sourly when you can twist your perception to look at it as a learning curve instead...because our Mens team do have so much experience and exposure too..so why not observe and learn instead??? You know sometimes injustice watch repeat telecast of our mens team matches and observe their shot taking techniques..depending on how the ball swings..you know like spin vs speed....and also we all have our list of inspirations from the men's team...and you know what...to be honest...personally i just want to play ya be it domestic or international..just give me a bat and ball and my 22 yards and I am sorted...", she finishes with a loving chuckle.
Everything she Just Said...Hits a Mark within my Head and Heart almost Immediately.Thats really an amazing way of going around embracing and working your way around the current Gender Disparity in Our Sport so that it doesnt pulls ones spirit down and helps one keep their focus on the love for the Game.
She clearly is a great sportsperson in the Making and very very passionate about Cricket - Indeed.
I also want to know all about her Inspiration List from the Men in Blue Team.
Kind off Curious...to know..If my name in it??
I hope It Is.
I am surprised to find myself already crazily Hoping that My Name is in her Inspirational List.
What's wrong with me?????
But before I get to asking her about that list..I need to tell her I admire her spirit of sportsmanship. I admit my admiration and respect for her rising manifolds and I am sure its evident in my voice too – "so everything you just said..really makes me respect and admire you a lot right now...it reflects the fact that you are a sporting person and have a great spirit for sportsmanship which is the mark off a integral sportsperson indeed....."and she says warmly ,her voice softening – " thank you for that Mr Stranger....you really are very very kind..." , and I ask immediately my inquisitiveness rising because I need to know – " for womens domestic in India...which state and zone do you play for???"
And please know - If she says Delhi and North Zone, then the TIDE OF SERENDIPIDITY WILL TURN INTO A MASSIVE WAVE -because I played for Delhi and North Zone respectively too, in my Domestic Days.
Something in MY Gut tells me that she is going to say Delhi and North Zone.
And right She says – " Delhi, and North Zone respectively..."
HOLY FREAKING HELL.
DO YOU SEE HOW INSANELY FREAKISHLY COINCIDENTAL THINGS OUR IN BETWEEN OF US ???
And How did I even have the Gur Hunch for her answer right before she said it?? And I was Right about it Too.
I ask NOW – " so remember how you mentioned you all have your inspirational list from the Men in Blue team...so..do you have one too?? Will you tell me about it???"
She chuckles immediately as she states – "ofcourse I have one ya...but why do you want to know?? Ok lemme guess.. You want to know if any of my inspirational cricketing heros from our mens team matches the players you are a fan off too??"
I bite back my grin - " oh yes..that's precisely why..I want to know..."
She states shrugging her shoulders in a relaxed way - " Ok fine I promise to tell you all about my list if you tell me simultaneously as I state their names ...if you are a fan of then too."
THIS IS GOING TO BE FUN.
OK SCRATCH THAT.
This is Already FUN.
Like Funner - or More like The Funnest. PERHAPS.
I Dont think that's an official word from the Oxford dictionary though.
I also...just cant wait to see the Look on her Face when she Sees Me.
Actually it's me who just cant wait to see Her too from a while now.But now it's like my itch to see her in the face its crossing the Peak to Pinnacle.
Oh wait.Hold On.Shes waiting for me to answer.
I bite back my grin as I say – " ok...fine..deal..i promise i will tell you if I am a fan of the players you mention from your list...too..tell me now..cmon...shoot...."
She asks amused - " pakka se ? Like you have to tell me simultaneously ok as I go along my list..I'll tell you all about my top 5 inspirational players from the current men in blue team.."
I grin to myself and answer - " yes pakka se...I promise..I will tell you simultaneously...."
I cant wait to Know her List.
She better get on with it Now.
"Ok then..we gotta deal happening here Mr Stranger..I'll just get on with my List then..."
" yes please...get on with it...".I answer,please know it's crazy that my insides are churning up in anticipation.I have never ever wanted to be on anyone's Inspirational List - This Bad.
She picks up her hand to her side as she says pointing out her Index finger in a Number 1 – " okkkk....soooo...at NO 1 on that List would be Skipper ASR or as to how I sometimes like to refer to him in my Head...Skipper Blue...you know duhhh since he leads the Men in Blue...and I'm pretty much sure you are a fan off him too...I mean who isnt?? His entire cricketing journey is so awe inspiring from domestic to under 19 to vice captaincy to then test Captaincy and to now leading the men in blue in all formats and also dude..look at his individual player rankings in the ICC table..no 1 in ODI..No 2 in Test and in top ten in t20 ranking too..what a remarkable feat ya...you know what..I watch and observe his game a lot..you know since he opens in the Test format too for India..I'm a big fan actually big would be an understatement more like a colossal fan....so cmon then tell me are you a fan off him too?? I am pretty much sure you are..and...also on that note...do you know Skipper Blue made his INTERNATIONAL Test Debut in this very stadium...right behind us...."
My Insides Grin and I am beyond just Elated to Dicover that I am on that No 1.Spot ...on her Inspirational List.
Feels REALLY Good.
Like Really really Good.
I am also biting back my Grin and holding onto my Laugh with great Difficulty.
I am just seconds away from bursting out into Giggles and Laughter.
FIRST THING OUT - I am really enjoying myself...over How Maximumly Bizzareeee this Situation has Gotten..she surely is going to get the Shock off her Life as she Sees me Now.
Also.NO ONES EVER CALLED ME SKIPPER BLUE.
I LIKE THE SOUND OF THAT.
And Now I just feel the Need to tell her that shes been talking to Skipper Blue all this while.
Just can't wait to see the Expression on her face now.
I say immediately biting back a chuckle with great difficulty again - " ofcourse yes...Skipper..ASR..or as you mentioned Skipper Blue....hes on my player fan list too...I'm such a big fan and I am obviously aware that he made his test debut right here too...but you know what..I also know a fun fact about him that i think you dont know...and I want to let you in on it right now..since you know he is no 1 on your inspiration list ,its only fair..."
She asks inquisitive - " really you know a fun fact that I dont know...??? What fun fact???please tell me..."
I say,knowing that these words will immediately give my identity away to her - " actually it's not a fun fact...its like a secret...do you know this place where we are standing right now is kind off like His Spot...why? Becuase he was so very nervous before his first ever international test debut and that's why the night before the match, he came right here to this very spot...and jogged around gazing up at the vicinity of the stadium mentally conditioning himself with self belief and motivation to gear himself to perform in the longest format of the game too...and guess what...he also listened to Michael Boltons - Go the Distance..on repeat a little over fifty times that night too...that night in the Summer of 2011..."
She says instantly puzzled- " wait what?????? This is like his spot too?? And wait...How do you know such a personal detail??? And didnt you say that this is your spot..and you heard Michael boltons Go the Distance right here on repeat a fifty times over too on a night back in the summer of 2011....how do you....ohhh hell...wait...wait..wait...." , and she pauses in her words immediately as I sense her shoulder and all of her Freeze now in front off me and she asks her voice in a daze shock - " wait wait wait...come again...as in...what did you just say???? ".
Ok that's it.
I cant hold on any longer.
I think I have been Patient - Enough.
I need to see her Face and the Expressions on it Right Now.
The dimmed lights from the Lamp posts around and the gazing fleeting lights from the Traffic over the Trent Bridge and the lights reflection off the Blue lights from the Bridge over the waters to our side - will be Like Enough Light Setting to atleast let her Recognise me For Real...and give me the Opportunity to see her Face.
Shes also Still Frozen and Rooted to Her Spot in front off me in a Pin DROP silence right now.
Literally in a Pin Drop Frozen Silence.
I chuckle to myself from behind her and I move up from behind her from the sides and standing in front off her now as I admit with a grin up my face - " well I know such a personal detail...because I am Him....Skipper ASR..or you know what..I like the Sound of Skipper Blue better....do you know no ones ever called me Skipper Blue..."
THE EXPRESSION OF DAZE..SHOCK...AND OVERHEELMING SUPRPRISE SWIMS THROUGH HER EYES ALMOST INSTANTLY AS SHE TAKES IN THE SIGHT OFF ME IN FRONT OF HER RIGHT NOW.
I know How?
Because I have literally never Seen - Eyes as Expressive as Hers..Ever.
Shes truly got the Most Expressive Eyes.
They Talk in a language off their Own and I am very Surprised to discover that I can comprehend the Language they talk In.
She's Freaking Freaked Out Right now as her Eyes continue to widen even more now...more like to the size of cups and saucers or rather to the size of the maroon cricketing ball we play matches with as she continues to Gape and Gaze at me in a Shocked state..Frozen to her Spot Like a Statue.
I am way beyond just Captivated as I take in the opportunity of the Silence shes Statued in and Gaze at her keeping my eyes locked with Hers.
Why? Because I cant beleive I am finally seeing her Face now.
You all know iv been wanting too see it For A While Now.
And instantly I know...that it's a Face...I'm never going to Forget not just because it's so FREAKING Innocently and strikingly Beautiful..but also because off the transparent play off expressions on every inch off her face right Now.
Her eyes are Talking.
So is her Face.
Her Face is Literally Talking to Me...too.
Its telling me that SHE's STILL Totally IN STATUE SHOCK/DAZED/HAZED.MODE - UNABLE TO PROCESS THE REALITY OFF ME BEING IN FRONT OF HER RIGHT NOW.
Her open hair are peeking out messily from the sides off that Brooding Hoodie that continues to Cover Up her Head. And Her cheeks are still a little flush red from all that Intense Pattern Exercising..and maybe add a flush of Mountains of Shock and Embarrasement to it Now - Too.
I cant seem to pull my eyes away from Hers.
I dont know why though.
So I continue looking into her Eyes in silence too...Hypnotised by the Crazyily Insane Moment.
A couple of minutes later...as shes still Statued /Dazed and Shocked...the only reaction she displays is a Blink of her Eye...which is followed by a flutter of many more adorable blinks as if shes re-checking up on the Vision off me being in front off her - for Real.
I chuckle on reflex now as I fold my arms across my chest amused and enchanted and I state - " you dont need to blink thousand times to reanalyse your vision...its me...for real...ok how about I introduce myself formally...hi...I am Arnav Singh Raizada...and I am a cricketer too...you play for India Womens..I play for India Men...", I finish with a chuckle.
And to my surprise I see many overwhelmed expressions flow through her eyes instantly as she still continues to stands in front of me in a dazed silence and just as i am about to comprehend her expressions...she just Blinks again and takes three steps backward and turns around on her heel and starts to walk away from me.
DID SHE JUST WALK AWAY FROM ME?????
WHY IS SHE WALKING AWAY FROM MEE??
I dont give it a second thought and I walk up or rather pace up behind her immediately and my hand reaches out on it's own accord and I catch hold of her hand by her wrist as I ask - " why are you walking away Khushi??? That's your name right?? I mean I heard you talking to your friend over the phone.."
She whispers softly - " yes..my name is Khushi...".Thank God she halted in her tracks becuase of my hold on her hand right now and is not trying to sprint away from me and I ask again - " why are you walking away Khushi..."
She Stammers softly - " I am sorry...as in...I..I.. ....as..in..i didnt anticipate running into you this way ever...ASR...I am sorry..i didnt mean to offend you...as being rude or something as in...oh hell...I called you..a potential crazy creepy crawly burgular too..holy shit ya...I am...so very...sorry Sir....."
I chuckle because her Nervousness is way too Adorable and enchanting right now, and I state instantly - " please..dont you ever call me Sir Again alright...I'm no Sir to you...we are both cricketers.."
She stammers - " I meant....it more like out of Respect..you are my senior...and a legend of indian cricket...Skipper Blue...."
I chuckle as I jump up from behind her to stand in front off her again as I say, looking into her nervous eyes again - " Skipper Blue...I told you..I like the sound of that.. from you...no ones ever called me that before...so you call me Skipper Blue if you want..dont put all that nonsensical Sir business in there please???"
She nods her head a ten times over in a Daze that's really camping up on the Adorable Meter and she takes in a deep breathe and her shoulders relax a little and she plonks out her hand out for a shake and I grin and shake it instantly and she states - " hello Skipper Blue...I think it'll be really rude if I dont introduce myself to you...I am Khushi..I play for India Women..at No 2...I'm a right handed batswomen...they categorise me as a batting all rounder...my jersey no is 22...and I am a big fan off your game indeed...your cricketing journey is so very inspirational to me...I.. I..." and she pauses in her adorable rant and she shoots me another nervous smile, taking her hand out of mine now - " ohh shoot...you already know all about what I just said.. dont you.. god..I'm just rambling in my nervousness now...before I make a bigger fool out of myself now in front of you...ill take your leave now...skipper blue..it was really nice to meet you...bye...I wish you have a good night...." and she turns around in her heel and starts to sprint away from me again.
I dont like the sight of her walking away from me.
I dont know.
I am trying to figure this out.
I think I dont like the fact that my Cricketing Identity has overwhelmed And Overpowered the Serendipity off the Moments in between of Us - before she knew who I was.
I call out on relfex pacing up behind her a little,my feet acting up on their own accord - " how about If we just chill and talk here on my spot...and maybe you can tell me all about your memorable moments from your match last night...and I'll tell you all about my iconic moments off the matches I have played here..surely starting from the match where in I made my Test Debut..and I am not talking about the moments/ milestones the score run figures/ the stats that are there for the public to look up online..how about we talk about the cricketing emotions we as players have gone through...during those matches???"
She halts in her tracks again and she turns around to look at me in a dazed surprise as she asks in disbelief- " you want to talk to me right now???"
I admit nodding my head - " yea...pretty much...I want too..I hope you want to..too...can we just talk more for a bit? If that's ok with you??"
She nods her head again in a surprised Daze, her eyes blinking again adorably and she gives me a nervous smile which does seem a little more relaxed right now as she states biting back a grin now,as our eyes lock - " I only have one match tale to tall about though...its you who has got tons to talk about no....and I think...I do want to know all about your iconic moments from your matches right here... ", she gestures with her thumb pointing back to the vicinity of the trent bridge cricketing stadium behind us.
And just like that I burst out Laughing into giggles...over the display off ray of transparent expressions on her Face.
My laughter has always been contagious - I know.
She starts to laugh now too - shes still very nervous and Embarraded though.
Oh I can most surely see through That.
Just Like I can see through the Thought - that's just consumed my head right now.
I dont think I'll be able to get the Image off her Innocent Precious Laughter and Sparkling Strikingly expressive Eyes - out of my Mind.
Is this My Life Sending me a CLEAR Cut Signage right now????
I dont know Yet.
Maybe I'll just have to spend more time with her - to Figure out the workings around that Perhaps.
And Spend Time - I Would.
I MOST DEFINETLY WOULD.
OK GUYSSSS...I am so so so eager to know what you all think of the first Meet of Skipper Blue + Our Little Hit Girl.
Just had to make them meet by chance first..before the Default Encounters set in!! FOR ONE CHANCED ROLL OF DICE HAS A POWER OFF A MASSIVE UPPERCUT SIXER NO????
thanks guys for all the Love and Support as always.
Next Update : In a Day or Two...will be from Khushis POV as this Chanced Encounter Continues..
Also...for everyone who is also reading up on Chaotic 2.0..please know...I will be writing this plot out this week to build it up to a certain point before I switch to writing 4/5 back to back updates of Chaotic 2.0
Thanks guys for all the Love and Support as Always.
Topic started by LifeDramaFicTns
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