I had the pleasure of playing my once favourite game today. Cricket – the last time I had played was sometime in February 2011, and before that I remember taking to the ground only in August 2004. 

The game today was filled with special moments for me.

I hit my first run after almost 8 years. Yes, the last time I played I was out for a golden duck. That was a match which was played out during our staff offsite at Poovar in Trivandrum, where everybody was lazy to improve the score running. It was 4 or 6 or no run, and once hit the fielders were staying like statues, looking at the ball was better off than running ahead of it and stopping it.

The second memorable spot today was the last ball of the day. I surprised myself and managed to hit the ball straight over the bowlers head, to the boundary. I have been trying to recall the last time I had hit a shot like that, but not able to do so till now. Before Poovar, the last time I played was against my juniors at college in 2004, and I had not stayed long enough at the crease to work out boundaries and sixes.

I enjoyed the fielding session too. Although I dropped a skier at long off, and almost collided with two other fielders who were after the same catch, I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it, running around like never before. The icing on the cake was the one-handed effort I put up to stop the ball crossing the ropes and throwing it back at the fielder. I felt like another Jonty Rhodes for a moment or two.

The best part of the day was my bowling. Although taken no wickets, it was an extremely satisfying moment to relive the days when I used to bowl fast. This time, although my stamina did not allow me to bowl at the speed I wanted to, I enjoyed mixing up the pace and blowing quite a lot like my favourite cricketer Saurav Ganguly. It was fun to see hard hitting batsmen struggling to pick the length, and I ended up being the most economical bowler out of the lot.

Once the day ended, my energy thoroughly snapped, the muscles all across the body withering in pain, and sipping on to the pet bottle of coke, suddenly the reminiscences of bygone years came across my mind.

I really started missing my cricket days at Safat Square and Rolla Gardens at Sharjah. Those were the days, when in the searing heat of the Arabian Summer, we friends would all play in the afternoon right from 1 o’clock, nonstop till 7 pm, without even bothering about the most terrifying summers on this earth. Playing cricket at 45 degree centigrade heat was quite an experience. This was the routine for almost my entire schooling life, and every bit of these moments is a gem that is treasured in memories forever. We were never tired, we were never uptight and we were never frazzled with all the sun and heat, and the cola after the game was the best drink of our lives.

Once in a while life gives us this little moment which helps our thoughts to rewind back to those magnificent events that have shaped our life and character. Today’s game was just one of those moments, when I travelled back to the wonder years. “Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose”.

Those days would never come back. It is human nature to be nostalgic, but as the famous quote goes, “To look backward for a while is to refresh the eye, to restore it, and to render it the more fit for its prime function of looking forward”

Thanks to the Gentleman’s game!!!