If you have to ask you'll never know ! [L.Armstrong]... thats Louis not Lance.

Dec 14, 2010

Citius, Altius, Fortius.

There would be try outs. No stop watches or starters pistols. No tapes to mark the finish line. Just mr. pandey at one end and mr. Tamhane on the other. With fifty boys running from one of them to the other. With nobody allowed to start until the go as in get ... Set... Tamhane would then sweep up the first five or six and they'd have qualified for the finals. While the rest of us went back to our disorganised games of football and hockey with the football sometimes coming in the way up a hockey stick or an offending hockey ball being kicked aside by a future Ronaldinho. Trials for the long jump were time bound. Pandey had to chose the best long jumpers from fifty in a thirty minute PT( physical training ) period. This gave rise to the simultaneous long jump. With us lined up four abreast. Taking of together and landing into the sand pit in a tangle that made us Siamese quadruplets. Body parts that were furtherest away were traced back to their point of origin establishing the qualifier. March pasts were the grab bag of participation for anyone whose mind was willing but the flesh too weak to make it to any of the events. And if even in their marching were they challenged then they'd be hidden away in the centre of the marching squad so that their left left left right left which came out tangled was apparent to none of the spectators and definitely not to the chief guest who had the honour of judging the best house . The band visually had drums flute players, trumpets, triangles and bugles. Aurally just drums.
Relays and races were cheered with more gusto than a Rajnikanth appearance in Matunga. The tug of war brought the house down with spectators leaning this way or that in ESP like connections to their teams. There was a race for the teachers, a race for the peons and a race for the ex students. Sporting heroes of years gone by who would have taken the afternoon off from their sports quota jobs.
Golds silvers and bronzes would be tallied for the overall championship. While cups and salvers were lined up in impressive arrays. The chief guest extracted his revenge for an afternoon of watching us by reiterating sportsmanship and winning is nt everything platitudes in ten different ways. His wife who by now could have walked to the winners podium blindfolded looked more shaken than stirred by the heat of the afternoon, the dust of the field and the enthusiasm of fifteen hundred boys struggling for glory. The principal in his speech would declare the next day a holiday so that we could sleep in late. While we dreamt of how we would run the perfect hundred metre Hurdles, without dropping even one. Or not fumble the baton passing or run the hundred metres in 12 seconds flat. And to later have Miss Nigli hang a pretending to be gold medal around our ever willing necks.

3 comments:

krist0ph3r said...

another masterpiece that took me back to my school days...i can still see the images from many years, superimposed on each other and mixed up a bit :)

wag said...

Aurally just drums is spot on! The school next door is practicing with gusto and you couldn't have got it more right!!

Neil Pereira said...

OMG.... another fantastic piece...I actually re-lived every moment with every word in this piece... Pande & Tamhane during the heats, the teachers, peons & ex-students races, the marching band (Aurally just drums), the "declared holiday" following the sports day....
Dunno how I missed reading this one earlier...