Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Learning from the blues and yellows

Some men in blue. Some others in yellow. Two of the yellow guys hold sticks in their hands. The "blues" circle around at various distances, which keep waxing and waning, and one of the blues always needs to do great deal of running, moving his arms and twisting of his wrist, on the way to chucking a ball at the yellows.

Then there are some teacher types, who behave like school monitors on the field. Like we did in school, they report names. We wrote them on a piece of paper and showed them to the teacher. They talk to the head teacher sitting far away, who secretly observes everything. Almost. Sometimes he even lip-reads.

Every time one of the yellows is able to whip the ball into the stands, there is a roar. Sometimes , when the places are reversed and the blues are with the sticks, the roar is even louder.

"Aai, why does the man crouching behind the 3 sticks talk so much ?"

"I don't know, son. Must be telling the stick holder to pay attention to the ball thrower in front of him. Like your teacher asks you to pay attention to what's being written on the blackboard in class, in front of you. And never mind the constant poking in the back from the student sitting behind you..."

"Aai, why does the ball thrower look in anger at the stick wielder ? The stick did not even touch the ball as it flew past. Wait, this time it did, and the fellow behind the three sticks caught it. I think the stick man did not like it at all ..."

" That's life, son. You learn to face the good and the bad in life."

"Aai, why did the ball thrower act like he was giving a "shaap" to the stick holder ? Why did he sit and bang his fists on the ground in front of the stick holder ? And why does the stick holder, stare and holler some stuff back ?"

"Son, sport is never like this. War and fighting is.

The child's eyes gleam. Its amazing, but the yellows and blues are behaving just like they do in his school in the recess, when games are played under pressure, amidst crowds of other children, an impending buzzer signifying end of available time, and everyone wanting a chance to fling the ball at someone else.

The child learns something more. The big boys in the yellow, particularly a fellow with Lord Krishna type hair, and white lipstick a la Dracula, seems to be most active. He snarls and takes verbal swipes at the younger boys. Sometimes he and his friends make fun of the older blues too.

But like the senior boys at school, the older ones get away with ignoring the yellows silently.

"Aai, why don't they complain to their teachers ? Maybe she will make them kneel outside the big white circle near the crowds of people. Maybe she will keep them inside the class in the recess and not allow them to play; maybe they will be forced to miss lunch. Maybe she will ask them to write a hundred times ,"I shall not swear ;I shall not swear....."...."

"Son, one goes to school to learn, and learn well. How well you do is judged by not just your final exams, but how you did throughout the school year. School also teaches you how to behave. With those you like and even those that you don't. You need to know why you are at school, and how priviledged you are."

"Unfortunately, son, the blues and yellows have forgotten that this is only a game."

"Aai, that's actually what our sports teacher told us ! Play true, play well, play like sportsmen, and play like team. Open your mouth if you have something to contribute. And let your sticks and ball do the talking.

"So true, son. Unfortunately , today, its like a fellow from your class, cheesed off at not being given his due "bhav", going crying to the teacher saying , "they called me a monkey!". Not done in sports. At the end of the day, there is another life in another place. And another game the next day.

"But Aai, I saw the blues teacher and the blues sports director having an argument yesterday. Do you think the yellows have arguments and fights too?"

"I am sure they do, son. But in their own houses. And normally, only one man speaks and decides. Unfortunately, amongst both blues and yellows, there are too many people talking, too many people carrying on about themselves, thinking that talking is "power"...

"Son, people like you notice these things and get the wrong ideas. Don't for a moment think, that giving a smart answer back to someone, or making a speech , works. It doesn't."

"But Aai,there are some blues who do not talk to much . Whenever they get angry, they take a deep breath, remember what their teachers taught them, and just play their sticks correctly. If one of the yellows stares at them , they just tap their sticks on the ground, , play an imaginary stroke in the air and shrug it off."

"Son. Learn from this. Most of the time, it happens that the yellows hear perfectly what you actually did NOT say...... "

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