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Short Story : Acclimatize

Nipun and his sister were the introverted new comers in the colony. They had come down from one of those north eastern states where even availability of new brands of ice creams (which appeared each night as advertisements on the sole state television channel after the daily dose of abysmal news telecast) was a luxury to say the least.

Father had a transferable job, so every 3-5 years they were forced to leave their best friends back and move on to a new, strange place, with new rules, a new weather, a new school uniform and it's curriculum. Sports had always interested him as it channelized his nervous energies, all his internal conversations into some form of energy. 

Sometimes spending energy on the ground helps you not have the energy to think about a haphazard life with no control over your surroundings.

Sports made him switch off his social brain and just execute tasks to the best of his ability. He was not strategic about sports, it was not really the team work or the figh…

Short Story: 12.7 seconds !




Life is a string of moments when we fail, pass or experience a mix of both. After all life cannot be all black and white.

Akshay, a 14 year old boy from Mumbai, was a studious and sincere student who was always conscious of his grades. He made sure he had prepared his lessons for each day at school, learnt something extra, beyond his usual curriculum. Was competitive to the core.

He was just another guy wanting to do well in life, academically flawless and putting in all efforts he could.

He had a flair for track and field. One day his sports teacher saw him run and could sense there was something about him that could be pursued further, honed and be worthwhile if done properly.

He went up to him and asked him to come after school hours in the evening and have a few timed runs. He was wanting to test him.

Akshay being the obedient guy he was, followed suit and went for the trials that evening. He probably would not have expected or dreamt in his wildest of dreams, the journey he was about to embark upon.

Akshay went about his trials showing promise as his speed for the 60-100 mt sprint was good for his level of preparation, age and technique. He started training from the next day itself. Worked hard & trained hard irrespective of weather or season.

He started loving sports and he had a flair for this. The Adrenalin rush he got out of it was unmatched. His studies took a hit but he was happy, rather happier when he saw his fitness improved, his speed improved considerably.

He and his trainer decided to try out for the district level sports event where the best from his district would compete. He was not going there to win, but to learn, gain experience and improve eventually.

As luck would have it, he went on winning and clearing his heats comfortably and eventually was in the district finals by the end of the first day of the event.

100 mts is usually the most awaited, a show stopper in terms of any track and field event.  And here was Akshay, probably feeling a little overawed, but not under-confident at all, standing among the best 7 who had qualified in terms of their timings.

All the other 6 had probably spent months, if not years for this moment and here was Akshay, standing there in his bedroom- shorts (he was not even in those professional track-shorts which sprinters usually wear). He had borrowed spikes for the muddy track as he had none.

School events in general had no such requirements and he had only enrolled for experience and learning.

Some of the few others alongside him were even sponsored by some sports companies ! He was probably the least hyped, the perfect under-dog !

And then it happened, he got second by a margin of 0.1 seconds (which is a lot if you check even the national standards for this event) but he gave it a good fight. 13.2 seconds his timing in the finals.

He went up to the Suburban and again repeated the feat with the same fellow coming first again !
Eventually within the same month, the state level events happened and Akshay who was running in his school a month ago in annual day sports events was not representing Mumbai at the state level Maharashtra !

He had the jitters of a "Who wants to be a Millionaire contestant" and the excitement of a kid who has suddenly entered a room full of Candies & chocolates.

He again borrowed the different spikes needed for the Astro-Turf tracks used for the State level event. He had mentally prepared to enjoy this, for such moments rarely happen in life.

It was like getting into a movie set to get an autograph only to end up acting in the same movie being shot. You never know whether this would ever happen again in life. It is like winning a lottery.

So Akshay after overcoming a lot of mixed feelings - being overwhelmed, shocked, happy, shivering in his boots, channelizing his nervous energies, finally managed to complete his mandatory warm up and got to the tracks.

This time where were 10 of them. Each from a different district of the state - Champions in their own right. Mumbai had 2 shortlists based on time set, a feat in itself for Akshay.

All Akshay could do was watch each of his competitors prepare themselves mentally. He was in awe of the atmosphere.

Imagine 10,000 people watching you, cheering for you, random 'Mumbaikars' (people from Mumbai as they are often referred to as).

Each lane had a guy with his unique ritual, a different style of warming up, preparing for his best run about to begin in the next 2 mins and one which would not last even 12-13 seconds to be precise.

There were 2 false starts for the race, which does not help the participants.

And the third time it was good to go, off they went like the wind out on the track.

12.7 best, most charged up seconds of his life as Akshay recalls even today, well definitely one of the best for sure, if not the Best !

Akshay was 4th among the 10 finalists but that was OK. He had had the time of his life in those 12.7 seconds. Adrenalin rush due to such an event is a different feeling. Akshay never really felt any remorse or regret to miss his grade's top position that year or the best student award, because of missed classes, exams; He wouldn't care much, because he had gained the experience of a lifetime in those 2-3 months !

Sometimes, even 100 meters have an indelible impact on your memory, last a lifetime, fresh, clear, almost like it happened yesterday !

Author's Notes: A Real life Story !




Comments

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