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Finding a lost cricket ball




It was a bright Sunday morning as I walked through our apartment complex wearing my mask and maintaining my social distancing.

Uncle, uncle, ball please! I heard young voices begging, from behind the composite wall of our apartment building. Some local kids were playing tennis and cricket on the adjacent playground, and a local Chris Gayle had smashed the ball for a huge Six that ended up on our property.

I later learned that he had been deregistered for his indiscretion, but that didn’t help their case. A few hikers, myself included, looked for the ball but couldn’t find it. On my second walk, the scene hadn’t changed from frightened young faces, curious onlookers, and a stern-looking guard unwilling to help the children.

My mind went back 65 years to the time when I was a proud 11-year-old having my own cricket team.

I was raised by a loving maternal grandmother in Chennai, while my parents lived in Madurai. I had the luxury of a large private playground in front of my house. My grandmother allowed me to buy a complete cricket package. I was also allowed to buy an imported cricket scorebook. All these assets allowed me to become the de facto owner and captain of a cricket team calling itself the Netaji Cricket Club.

Our team was generally made up of boys from my school. I used to hold wickets. We had regular tennis ball cricket matches with other teams. An adjacent vacant house served as our pavilion. From the balcony we cheered our batsmen.

Our site, while quite large, had one major drawback. A ‘rebellious lid drive’ invariably caused the ball to disappear through an opening in the wall of an adjacent shop. The owner of the burly shop invariably refused to return the ball, although sometimes after buying some items from his shop I would get three or four balls back. I can still remember the disappointment that went through us when we lost a ball during an interesting game.

So on the third lap of my walk I decided to help the guys. It took me a long time to find it. The young trench cricketers were elated and relieved. My first throw over the compound wall failed. On my second throw, I heard the loud cheers from the other side of the wall. They found their ball and I found my happiness.




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