Brinda squatted behind the fence as watched the Indian national cricket team practice at the nets. Brinda was an eighteen year old girl who had always been fascinated by the sport of cricket from her early years. On her repeated insistence, her brother elder to her by 4 years, agreed to let her join him when he played cricket with his friends. To their surprise, her brother Bhushan and his friends were enthralled by seeing Brinda play cricket. Though she was only 11 then, she played accurately and with ease as if she were a professional player. They were impressed, they invited her to join them on a regular basis.
Like that, Brinda had earnestly practiced cricket for the past 7 years and now she knew it as deftly as she knew of how to walk. She knew all the tricks of the trade in cricket, knew its different rules of its different forms, knew how to bowl, bat and field precisely and even all the details of every popular Indian cricketer. With such profound knowledge and abilities in the game, it was very obvious when Brinda wanted to pursue it as profession too. But fate wouldn’t allow Brinda to play, as she came from a traditional Punjab family and the town where she resided now was a very small one. Other than the cricket stadium, in their municipality there was nothing else there to attract visitors. All the people in that area, including her family were very conservative and could never imagine a grown up girl playing any kind of sport. According to them, sports were for boys only and girls of Brinda’s age should be trained now itself on how to behave in their future husbands houses. They should be soon married off as well.
But Brinda was a rebel. She always had wished to do things differently, than the norms that society had laid ages back for her forefathers. She still wished to play cricket and though her brother didn’t allow her anymore, she used to secretly run off to another part of the town to play with another group of boys, who had allowed her to play with them. Other than this, she also used to visit the stadium whenever any match was played there and used to watch it from where she sat now. The excitement and adrenaline that flowed through her veins as she watched the match, perhaps wouldn’t even exist in the players who played the actual match. She followed cricket with so much passion that she believed that she as one batsman would be enough to chase the score put up by the entire opposition team.
As she now watched the players practice and groaned in distaste at their lack of efficiency, she didn’t notice one man come and stand behind her. He was tall man probably in his fifties as his head was covered by thinning white hair. He wore a white sports dress with the Indian flag pasted on his chest. He suddenly brought her out of her reverie by asking, “Do you think they are good enough to play?”
Brinda slipped and then got up in haste, alerted by the sudden intrusion. “I…no…I mean I was just watching.”
That tall man smiled and asked her to relax, reassuring her that she wouldn’t get into any problem because of this. “So tell me, do you play cricket when you can? I have noticed you often sitting here and watching us.”
Brinda replied keeping a boldface, “Cricket is my religion. I play cricket as much as I pray to God.”
That man was very impressed with her passion and got curious to see if her words on cricket were actually facts and if she could play that nicely too. So he said, “I am the coach of the Indian national cricket team. Why don’t you join our boys on the field and show some of your skills? This way, the boys have an additional round of practice and you too have a chance to play the game with original players on an original field. Gaping at the coach in disbelief, Brinda immediately agreed and got onto the field.
The moment she set foot there, Brinda turned into a tigress and astonished all the players by the amazing prowess she showed with the bat. She smashed and battered every sort of ball delivered to her. Finally the coach became so impressed with her skills, that he immediately introduced her to the coach of the women’s national cricket team and secured her a place as the opening batsmen in their squad. Now Brinda’s family couldn’t utter a word of opposition and they instead bragged about her to their neighbors and family friends on the fact that Brinda was now almost a celebrity.
And all of them; her entire family, all her neighbors and all the friends she knew when she had studies in a school for a short while came to see her first professional cricket match, where she played against a foreign nation. When the man who had first noticed her and helped to introduced her to this world asked her, “What do you wish for doing today?”, Brinda replied, “I wish to touch the sky.”
With those words, a big smile on her face and lot’s of hope and excitement in her heart, Brinda entered the ‘battleground’. The rest got written in history as she performed miracles with the bat and achieved feats which even the men’s team weren’t able to. Soon she scored a century in a short amount of time, with very overs delivered to her. As the entire crowd including whomever she knew in life, stood up clapping and cheering in appreciation, Brinda took of her helmet with one hand, closed her eyes and pointed her bat at the sky saying, “I have touched the sky.”
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