Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Greatest Compliment

A pleasant evening is just round the corner. The day has been sunny, warm but not scortching. It has been nice weather all around. The mind is peaceful. Not many thoughts are gathered, but whatever are present, are well organised. You know, the weather has done something good to your mood as a whole. And you are looking forward to the evening.

The clock is about to strike half hour past five (although, there are no half strokes defined for a wall clock), and you are eager to get down. You climb down the steps, rather hurriedly, yet carefully as not to slip. You are vibrant, and the mood is, well, athletic. You feel the energy. Not only inside, but also in the atmosphere. The sky looks even more blue-er to you. And the sunshine, even more golden.

You have picked up your pace, and have started half-jogging now. With every step, the inner energy is doubling. Not so far away in the campus, your mates are waiting. Waiting for you. They have got everything ready, all set for a good game. And you have decided to do justice to the beautiful weather by playing well today. Playing well, without any constraints, nor any distractions.

You are now warmed up. The idle blood so far has been set running. It is carrying the energy throughout your body. This energy is increasing the pace of your blood. This is a positive feedback. Positive, yet stable.

The players are all set, the game is about to get underway. The breeze has agreed to slow down to allow a nice rally. The trees around are geared up in their greens and have crowded the around the arena. The passing vehicles have faded from your attention. Now it is only about you, the mates and the game. The beautiful game of volleyball.

Watch out! There he serves!

The centre-forward receives the service, passes the ball to the setter with perfection. "LIFT" I call out. With my eyes glued to the ball, I know exactly where the ball is going to be set-up for a smash. I wait till the ball leaves the setter's hands. I see the blocker of the opposition getting ready to block my would-be smash. He wants this point badly. So do I. As expected, it is a wonderful set-up. Gracefully, I apply pressure on my knees to get a higher jump. The ball is in the air, in front of me. I am already in air, timing my jump correctly.

The moment is frozen, with me, the ball and the blocker all in the air, the teammates watching us in anticipation of what is to happen next.


With tremendous force, the ball hits the ground. It has skipped past the blocker's trap and any defender's hands as well. It's all cheers around now. Amidst the claps, I hear the blocker of the opposition demanding of his mate,

"Why the hell did you also not block him?"

"Well, I forgot! Rather I wanted to watch him hit it. Boy, what a shot!"

This is the most precious compliment I receive. I acknowledge it by my smile, and return to the game.

This time, it's we who has to serve.

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