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Category: LIFE


What is important in life and what is not is always a relative matter--each his own, but then sometimes all the fun lies in 'nothing'...

          The Red officers team and the blue officers team were lined up facing each other ready for a fun battle. Before we get any further it is advisable that I set some points straight in the beginning itself. Just try to figure this out. The red team wore blue and yellow T-shirts, while the blue team wore black and white. The goalkeeper of the blue team wore red…. So you should try to imagine what it was like when the commentator referred to the teams as blue team and red team…. Red meant blue T-shirts and when he said blue it meant the team, which was not wearing blue and whose goalkeeper wore red…. It must have tortured the commentator no end, especially when he was a novice at the job. So then, a rather crucial decision was taken mid-way in the game and the teams were re-christened as yellow and white respectively. Now that we have taken out the confusing stuff we can get on with the game…

          The due formalities were completed with the Deputy Commandant’s arrival and everyone settled down for the commencement of the match.

          I would have been otherwise on the field (hopefully) but I was constrained to sit out due to an injury. That did not prevent me from wanting to go to witness the match. I was indeed keen to go, but I couldn’t avoid a sense of irritation when I found that I was also detailed for it…  There was a small gathering of officers there, a fair representation from the farer half and some children as well. It was a colorful setting.
Judging by the assembly of forces on either side it was apparent that there was a balancing act in motion…. Or else you know the norm … the choicest players usually are lined up on the commandant’s side against the Dy Commandant’s side. This time the OIC football did not seem to have any decided advantage on the field. Of the players I knew very well we had Sqn Ldr Rauthan and Lt Nair on the same side (yellow) OIC 2IC combination, that is formidable indeed, but we had Lt Col Sheron and Lt Cdr Ramanathan on the side of the whites; the main forces were therefore balanced…

          It started as a sedate afternoon. Except for Lt Gupta’s enthusiastic cheering of the whites and a few officers running around energetically for the ball it seemed quiet a tame affair—for some time—in the beginning. But life has its beautiful ways… soon the tempo picked up. From the initial OLQ type of cheering and complementing it soon picked up into some involved cheering and enthusiastic clapping. We had Col Bava rooting for Lt Nair  (Bn loyalties) but of course he was trying to egg the audience to life… and to make things a bit more merry, he turned around and “detailed” the two hapless officers sitting behind him (Lt Nitin and Capt X; sorry forgot his name) to “volunteer” for commentary. The commentators began with the slow start of toddlers but slowly got to be more comfortable, eventually they came up with some wise cracks, like for instance they were looking for Beckham on the field. They definitely pepped up the atmosphere good…  

Lt Col Christopher sported a kneecap but did an impressive job on the right flank for the whites. His diagonal passes were most penetrating, and strategic, and well timed; seems to have played at a very good level. He had his daughter Jeenu rooting for him from the sidelines… Gr Capt Siani was covering the goal on the yellow side. And Lt Pyla from his battalion was covering for the whites. From the way the Group Captain covered the angles his having played the role earlier was self-evident. The opposite was the case with Lt Pyla. He was relying more on his will power, guts, enthusiasm, reflexes and presence of mind for doing his job. Playing hockey for the services team and being a goalkeeper, he would have realized, are two different ball games (literally). But he did his bit. Maj Sirari stood out for his streaks of solo runs coupled with his characteristic high-pitched josh type cheering.

          The whites drew first blood within a few minutes of the start of the game. The under dogs had taken off. A ball lobbed in by Lt Col Sheron from just out of the ‘D’ found the net. Past half time Lt Nair and Maj Balyan were found contesting for the ball in a manner, which for a moment, appeared like Rugby. The referee was not impressed and duly awarded the yellows a free kick. The wall in place, it was our Beckham’s turn for some strategic thinking. Who better than Sqn Ldr Rauthan would understand the situation better? He found some gap towards the top portion of the goal to one side keeping in mind the small frame of the goalkeeper. And it was a beauty. It went in grazing the bottom of the cross bar. Lt Pyla had no answer. The score read 1-1.

          Not very late after that it was Lt Nair’s turn. The blinder that followed a small solo effort went in like a bullet. I’m sure Lt Pyla would not have seen what went past him into the goal. Some lusty hitting from Maj Balyan with Lt Gupta and Lt Cdr Ramanthan on either sides and an aggressive Lt Pyla at the goal behind, kept the whites hungry.

          An interesting contest to watch was between Maj Takhur and Sqn Ldr Noor Mohammed who in turn was defending for yellows on the right flank. Maj Takhur impressed with terrific speed on the left flank. The josh with which he was going for the ball—I’m sure the militants had a tough time with him at Kashmir. Sqn Ldr Mohammad was very clear with his fundas. When I asked him later ‘so you were using get-the-ball-or-the-man strategy’ he replied with a twinkle in his eye. “You should know how to use your weight where you lack in skill…” Hmm that was wise… even Maj Takhur had a tough time trying to get past him.

There were about 10 minutes to go, the spectators were giving their bit for the game. Maj Abhijeet was doing a fine job for the whites. One couldn’t escape his never say die approach to the ball even in the dying moments of the game. The yellow defense had their hands full. Just moments after I was paying complements to him in my mind he was rewarded with a goal. The ball lobbed awkwardly over the goalkeeper and landed into the net. The score was tied at two all.

The whistle was blown. It became apparent that the two teams thought of settling scores with a shoot-out. They were just about maneuvering for the goal when there was an announcement on the PA system “And as the PTO (Physical Training Officer) says, that brings us to the end of the game.” The players got the point. They trooped out grinning amongst themselves. Some tea and snacks, and a few moments of mirth and laughter followed and then we packed for the day.

Was it a waste?

If you asked me what was the purpose of the whole exercise what could I say? Made any money?…. no…. wasted some time?… maybe…    Sat there looking at 22 people running behind one ball?… yes…  What did you get from all that…?   Nothing…!  And yet the most beautiful things in life are just nothing… Just moments that have to be lived and shared…