”There’s no money in women’s cricket, hence, no future.”
“IPL’s glamorous business is playing in your head, which is but only for men”
“Ever heard of any female cricketer or broadcast of an international match? They’re all oblivious”
One after the other, such pessimism made the road ahead marshy for her and subsequently with every step, Adira feared submerging in the bog.
So just like everyone who failed to understand Robert Frost’s conjecture in his eloquent work, “The Road not taken”, so did she but here on purpose.
When the great poet quipped:
“And I took the one less travelled by,
And that’s made all the difference…”
He rang bells of sarcasm on every individual who’s more or less a part of the mob, yet when interrogated will always mention his great struggle through a difficult path and thereby, claim indelible triumph in his/her own eyes.
Similarly, even she thought of doing life the easy way by narrating great ideas and greater philosophies of breaking concrete and becoming a professional cricketer but never ever attempting those surreal ordeals.
Holding conversation with peers drowned into dullness as she instead spent her schooling hours by doodling in the chemistry class, poking her face outside the window in the physics class and with a sunken head sealed with ambitions in the computer class. Adira stayed perennially consumed in her own thoughts after that deft “NO” she’d received from her father. This was her class 12 and doubtlessly, Indian parents hardly take this academic session with a pinch of salt let alone playing cricket simultaneously.
Eyes welled up night after night as the pillows grew moist with grief only her heart knew about. Even today, she can’t recapitulate a single moonlit sky which didn’t give her sleep out of dreariness. Dreariness as a byproduct of incessant tears and frothful fears. Every morning that she got up, her feet trembled while getting down from bed. They were shy of crashing on the floor, on landing… Quite incapable of carrying her own weight now.
But, she was adamant. Adamant of not becoming a granny who whines about how life offered her lemons when she sought peaches.
Those tanned pages of every book she’d read in past on meticulous struggles, uncountable sacrifices on the path to glory and the will to adhere in every given circumstance were her Nightingale.
She incessantly muttered to herself that Adira is going to be Adira.
So she survived this woeful academic session, secured admission in a decent college and then thought to give a second shot to her passion. She was worried whether her parents would allow her to play cricket this time around or not. And energy to fight more battles at home had almost drained her mentally in the past two years. So, she put this little clandestine in her belly and hit another cricket field.
Life in this new second home was different. Here, she met a wider pool of players. From the ones who were just playing because they took admission under sports quota to the ones who’d travelled miles from their villages to a metro like Delhi in search of better facilities, exposure and recognition; every girl here had her own story which is quite usual yet, felt magical.
Adira had saved quite a few bucks over the recent years such that she could afford coaching fees, cricketing whites and shoes. She spent the initial few months borrowing cricket kit from her peers and often missed college to reach the ground.
Realities were appearing to converge with her expectations as she played quite a few inter college matches and many practice games. But soon she realized that she can’t go really far by playing this hide and seek game at home.