A Rite Of Passage

In another time and another place, I adored Allan Border. Wait, make that, I loved the guy in a “heart-stopping-knees-going-weak-I-believe-only-in-you” manner. It was, for what it was worth, love in its truest form, with all eyes firmly on the present,the past discarded and the future royally disowned. Like all love stories, it must have begun with a special word or a half-etched smile or a meeting of the eyes even as time appeared to stand still. Given that I was in a tiny town in India and he was across the oceans in Australia, in all likelihood, growing up in the “cricket is our religion” family , the eyes must have met over a TV ad or a newspaper cutting or over ecstatic whoops at his batting during a cricket tournament.

Slowly and gradually over the world cup season, I graduated from a fan on the sidelines to a diehard,know-all about Australian cricket fanatic and more importantly became an authority on Border’s batting scores from the last few seasons. The final rite of passage came when I took on collective family wrath by putting up his posters in my room. With the walls bearing pockmarks of cellotape, I made the great leap into the teenage years, wearing my heart on my sleeve with his love firmly etched in my heart. I scoured for articles on him, I took any criticism to him personally ,I wrote his name in calligraphics on the back of notebooks and I played the “flames” game with his name and mine till I ran out of scraps of paper.

Young love believes in itself more than it does, in the object of its affections. And so I believed, that one day I would meet him and the sparks would fly and a fairy tale would commence. I hadn’t worked out the details, but then love has its eyes on the road and hardly ever, has any time to pack for the journey. While friends around me, flirted with the first traces of lipstick and wore their hair low to get the boy down the road look at them, I went to bed dreaming of Australia and Border, neither of which I knew much about. On the day he scored 10000 test runs, I treated a gaggle of young cousins to icecream. I stayed up later than usual staring at his photograph in the night lights and made a scrap book of his special day.

One day, some one gifted me with his autobiography which was dedicated to his wife. And like all love stories,my story met its share of tears, wasted promises and harsh awakenings. I cried myself to sleep even as I refused to give up on my dream. Yet. Over the endless summer, I gradually went back to my books and my movies and stayed away from the game. I conceded that the boy down the road was pretty good looking. I discovered lipstick and romance novels. On one such day when the earth seemed full of promises, I cleaned out my room and the posters came down. The tape marks stayed, it was just that there was nothing to define them any longer.

Cut to a decade later, in my home, in suburban Adelaide. The Aussies were reigning supreme in their quest for the Ashes, and I was solving a crossword puzzle on a lazy Sunday afternoon. And 21 across was an Australian cricket to have scored 10000 runs in test cricket. And the letters A-l-l-a-n-B-o-r-d-e-r fit perfectly. And the rest of the pieces fell into place perfectly. There it was, his name in my handwriting written on Page 35 of the The Sunday Mail in neat blue ink.

One day the best time of your life, the greatest passion you had ever felt, the sharpest pain that ever stung you, the deepest fears and the truest joys will get diluted with ounces of time. One day, the bright colours will fade and be replaced with an easier-on-the-eye sepia memory. One day, while you have been living through it all, life will come full circle. One day the loving without a thought for the outcome, the endless summer nights of promises and the possibilities of grandiose dreams coming true will make sense, even though the dreams themselves did not.

One day , a summer love story which could have been the love story of your life, will become the clue for a missing word in a crossword.  And in that instant of time, a feeling of freedom and comfort will settle around you, even as the next story begins …

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10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. IW
    Jan 14, 2007 @ 09:44:37

    Did the crossword puzzle appear in a suppliment meant for kids ? (just curious)

    Allan Border ?? ALLAN BORDER !! of all the people in the world you were smitten by AB ? For as long as I remember, he always had this “old Uncle’ish” kind of air about him. The same which , Ashok Kumar always had (even in the prime of his youth) .

    I guess you must have fallen for his industrious & brave batting ability & shrewd captaincy more than looks. I applaud you for not being shallow & vain in matters of heart.

    I was half-expecting this piece to end with how you accidently ran into AB while shopping for groceries in your neighbourhood or something of that sorts . Alas! It was not meant to be so dramatic 🙂

    Happy New Year & Congrats on shifting to a new swanky blog.

    p.s. : you didn’t comment on the pics that i posted recently. I am heartbroken. But still i didn’t allow my heartache from stopping me to pen a comment on my dear sister’s blog. *sniff sniff*

    Reply

  2. asuph
    Jan 19, 2007 @ 16:19:18

    =)) @ Alan Border Uncle. IW has it bang on target. I knew you were odd, scarlett, but AB for god’s sake? AB? I mean infatuation knows no bounds and all, but AB? Amitabh Bacchan, okay, but that other AB? The one who broke SG’s record, for crissake? I mean, that buddha? I mean, why oh why. Okay Mark Waugh, yes, but AB? I guess you’re older than we ever suspected!

    cheers,
    asuph

    Reply

  3. Scarlett
    Jan 20, 2007 @ 06:47:24

    IW and Asuph,
    You gotta respect a gal for her obvious dedication towards the game.
    He was old and he was Captain Grumpy but my eyes could only think of the way he handled the hostile Lahore crowds. Sighhhhh.
    And hey, everyone has a love story that makes them squirm afterwards, this is mine 😛

    Aside, thanks guys for dropping by. Even if it was only to mock at my very true love 😛

    Scarlett
    PS : I am NOT old. Just mature in the ways of the heart.

    Reply

  4. enig
    Jan 24, 2007 @ 03:35:59

    hey Scarlett 🙂 very sweet post, I have no idea what these guys are complaining about….life has such a rosy picture to it when we are young….big dreams in big eyes…that sums it up all…..till u grow old (oh, no not u – I mean, we 🙂 ….. and everything seems long forgotten…but hey, u had normal teens…a crush atleast, what if it was across borders…some ppl don’t even have the luxury of that 😦

    enig
    P.S: I like ur template…it’s very neat. I’ve been meaning to change mine for a while too…but no time, enthu to do anything with it!!

    Reply

  5. Scarlett
    Jan 24, 2007 @ 06:11:55

    Hey Enig,
    Welcome to my new blog. I am glad you liked my post. Life was pretty simple back then heh? I think we lose the “Anything is possible, Miracles under construction” belief as we grow older…a pity really because we need that so much as we grow wiser 🙂

    I am glad you think it was normal, the guys obviously dont 😀

    Scarlett
    PS: What is your blog url? I have tried to blog roll you without much luck. Glad you liked the layout, spent all of Christmas day doing this.

    Reply

  6. Priyamvada_K
    Jan 25, 2007 @ 20:09:27

    I can SO relate to this post. Its all too familiar – the innocence, the faith, the praying-for-a-good-score-in-each-match crush, the daydreams, the posters….. Then the person gets married. Argggh. I don’t do crossword puzzles. Just saw a pic of him in a magazine last year, saying “I still have my Audi”. I was thinking “Oh, that’s him now” and that was that. I smiled and flipped the page.

    And yes, that feeling of freedom and comfort are oh, so good.

    Reply

  7. Ashoe
    Jan 25, 2007 @ 21:24:55

    Ha – this is hilarious 🙂

    I too, in (now-tpical?) guy fashion find it amusing that you were smitten by, of all the people in Aussie cricket, Allan Border? :p

    I still tease one of my friends about her crush – Ajay Jadeja, although now that his match-fixing et al are well known, it just doesn’t feel right any more!

    Reply

  8. enig
    Feb 07, 2007 @ 04:38:33

    hey Scarlett,

    here’s the url 🙂 I’ll leave u a note if I change it!

    http://voice-of-enigma.blogspot.com/

    enig

    Reply

  9. Scarlett
    Feb 07, 2007 @ 04:56:07

    Thanks a ton Enig.
    Priya, Ravi Shastri eh? I saw him in Adelaide a couple of years ago and my first thought was that age spares no one.
    Ashoe, have you ever seen the steely grit in ARB’s eyes as he stood majestic to face burning torches and taunts during the Lahore one dayer? OK I make it sound too dramatic but you get the picture 😛

    Sighhhh. Sighhh again.

    Reply

  10. unsomia
    Jun 24, 2007 @ 20:36:15

    Reply

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