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" Skipper ennu vechal?" (What is a skipper?)
I would continue to stare at my brother, wide eyed, munching on a chocolate bar, in eager expectation of a solution to suffice my confused mind. My brother on the other hand, would sweep back the unruly hairs scattered on his forehead and acknowledge my query with a soft brusque reply - " Ummh", with his eyes unflinchingly focused on the television set.
The silver rays emanating from the T.V would be morphing into interesting geometric shapes on his glowing face. Unperturbed by the many subtle motions unfurling around him in our living room, he would keep watching the cricket match, as if in a frenzy to dissect each deft motion, shred by shred so that those would eventually leave an indelible trail of images on his mind. His staunch worship of the game used to intrigue me, which in turn might have prompted me those days to return my gaze towards the uniform clad players, to satisfy my burning curiosity to find out what the big fuss was about anyway.
My brother wouldn't have had the slightest of clues at that span of moment that his sister could be the most pestering of his companions. For to his dismay, an untiring torrent of questions were to be thrown his way without fail, during every cricket match that we watched huddled together on our living room couch thereafter:
" What is off side?"
"What is on side?"
"What is a yorker?"
Knowing how stubborn i could get, he would, at most instances, be left with no option but to clear my doubts and thus before we both knew, slowly, but steadily he ended up hauling me deeper into the game with each passing year. And thus incepted a cascade of some of the best moments of my life - sprinkled with the joy of fun, frolic, fervor and exhilaration of celebrating together something we both loved truly, madly and deeply. Harking back, those sessions were easily few of the best moments of our childhood, second only to the out door games we indulged in along with a bunch of equally exuberant kids from our neighbourhood.
Several summers down, when the kids around my place indulge in the joys of their longest vacation now, it dawns on my mind that it has been long, awfully long since i watched a match with my brother, or for that matter even alone. The much looked forward to habit had ceased to exist the day we chose our unrelated future paths, as life embraced us with its many vigorous hopes and tantalizing dreams. ( Unfortunately, the habit of throwing questions at the fellow spectator has outlived years to continue to be a menace till today and has even become a matter of disgrace for i have been shooed many a time by a couple of irritated friends during my college days)
Memories are strange, aren't they? Rediscovering them at the most unexpected of circumstances can be stranger. They come seeking us out of the blue like they have been inscribed with a written fate as to the moment when they should seek us a second time; making us laugh, making us cry, making us reminisce, leaving behind an insatiable craving in the form of a wish for the past to come visit us from the yonder one time more for real.
We speed past the days into our future perched on the wings of our dreams, but somewhere down the lane, unintentionally or intentionally, we pause for a while to realise that there are certain snippets of the bygone that even time wouldn't dare to bury under its dark opaque and ever defiant pall. Those memories are destined to flourish in every cell of our body as a lingering presence of the many jubilant yells and the many miasmic groans that constituted our life once upon a time.
Now that i have written this, suddenly it seems silly how a flashing memory of a joyous time spent years back could invoke a string of reflective thoughts. But then, such is the way of life. A seemingly simple thought would stir up a relentless flood of emotions, while an excruciatingly intense one would leave us strikingly numb right to the core, much to our surprise. Strange, but true.
Why then should we discard these thoughts tagging them merely as a collage of a dead past? Why not catch hold of that flash of memory and give yourself that much needed introspection as to why such enviable moments happened to slip through the sands of time? Why not do something to recreate the magic rather than simply pining about the glorious days of your past? - Call up an old friend, revisit that special place, if there is one, that witnessed many a heartwarming moment in your life and savour the unique feel of togetherness - These are undoubtedly Kodak moments, i tell you! Sadly such things are easier said that done most of the times, especially when every other person today is in a frenzied chase to amass his/her share of an enviable life. Perhaps, the recurrence of such moments too would have a pre written course of action. To keep our minds and eyes open is the least we could do to not let a good opportunity fade away right before us.
As for me, i have already jotted it down in my mind to watch a game or two with my brother when we meet at home the next time - and yes, silently with no probing in between. Except of course for the regular outbursts of excitement in the guise of laughter that is normal when two siblings reunite under a roof after long. Things like that stand the test of time and we go ahead and rightly term such moments 'priceless'. And priceless they are indeed.