From the blind lanes to the highways he is there. He plays and we forget everything. He times it sweetly and we forget the count of time. The out swinger misses his edge, we stop breathing. His cover drive rushes to the boundary, the entire nation’s jumps on its feet. He is calm, composed, and almost meditative. It’s a full moon night. An odd silence is everywhere. Within a two mile radius soma is praying for his century. She’s due for her chemotherapy tomorrow. The last possible one for a six year old kid. A beam of moonlight is coming through the window. Soma looks at it.
He plays a square cut. Akhtar jumps up throwing his arms on air. No dendrite tonight. The drowsiness might fade the enjoyment of the century. Go away addiction. It’s not your day. A gentle breeze is blowing. It touches akhtar of rajabajar, then suman of beckbagan crossing, then sonia at topsia and it keeps on blowing. Everyone is peeping through the window of clubs for a glimpse or listening to a chandni chowk made fm radio. Tomorrow many of the red signals will be free from beggars in the morning. The breeze keeps on blowing.
He steps out, lifts the ball hard. The ball flies…..as if it’s a winged emotion. Bikram’s eyes brighten up. He stops missing his mom who lives under sukanto setu and can’t raise him. He scores his half century. Takes off his helmet. Looks at the sky. Bikram rushes out to the balcony. Looks at the sky, promises the star, “I shall thank you too when I become a policeman”. The stars twinkle. bikram blinks and wipes tears from his cheek and rushes in.
He reverse sweeps the leg spinners delivery, fooling the short thirdman fielder, the ball gently travels to boundary. Pinaki cannot stop laughing and clapping. He cannot say how happy he is. He might lack vocabulary, not affection. He immediately goes to the bedroom and pulls out his cricket bat. He starts to send imaginary balls to boundaries with his reverse sweep. He’s not going to throw tantrums during his meal tonight, his mom thinks and smiles. The moonlight is flooding the verandah. They need a sound sleep tonight. Tomorrow they will go to monobikas kendra . He struck yet another boundary. The ball is running to the fence. His mom keeps praying,” Please stay on the pitch till dinner”. Pinaki is smiling after a long time.
The ball reaches and goes beyond the boundary line. The ball travels to cores of Indians living below poverty line. The ball bursts through the walls of untouchability, the ball travels through inequality and suppression, it travels through the pain, fear and sorrow, it becomes a fire ball and saves every sabina or Nina hasda from abuse or abduction, it jumps on the darkness of illiteracy and sweeps it with light of hope.
He has scored hundredth century. The entire nation is on the streets. He throws his fist on air. We throw ours too. Soma , akhtar, suman, bikram, pinaki, sabina,nina all the fists are pointed towards the sky. Every fist brings a promise. Every fist brings confidence and hope. When your fingers become a fist, your eyes are not filled with tears.