Date: 20th Sept 2008
“Good length, off stump….. Good length, off stump”.
I still remember the words my coach was telling me.
“You need to focus on line & length, pace is secondary.”
The sun was right above our heads & we were badly sweating but, I had to focus on my bowling as the Finale of inter-college cricket match with City College was just a week ahead.
With our dirty clothes, dry lips & layers of dust on our body, none of the team members was in a condition to go to the Principal’s cabin but, it gave us an excuse to stop the day’s practice session & we all marched there.
“Ghar me ghus ke marenge unko”, yelled Manoj with a hockey stick in his hand. He was waiting outside Principal’s cabin with few of his flamboyant friends. And we had no idea what was going on. I would like to mention here that Manoj is a sturdy boy of our Engineering College who is a big fan of “Dabangg Salman” & flashing the loose blue stone bracelet is his swagger. He loves the college so much that he is in the same class from last 2 years & loves getting involved in every controversy.
“Bhai, what happened? Why are you carrying hockey shouting? What have you done now? Why has the Principal called all of us?” The bunch of questions was thrown at him by all of us & his eyes became more aggressive. He explained to us that today, our Engineering College team had participated in finals of inter-college Basketball match & during the match, the players of City College started abusing our players. The situation became worst when they started fighting in the basketball court. The organizers had to abandon the match. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured.”
“Principal Sahab ne andar bulaya hai”, told the peon & we all rushed inside.
Mr. Rao (The Honorable Principal) was busy checking few of his e-mails & there was pin drop silence in his cabin. The only thing we were able to hear was clicks of his computer mouse.
“I just had a word with Mr. Deshpande, the Principal of City College & he has apologized for the behavior of his students.” Mr. Rao broke the silence.
“He has assured us to take action against his students who were involved in that spat with our Engineering College students. They feel that this incident has brought disgrace to their College & they seek forgiveness for that. He has also requested our college to not file any FIR against the students & I have accepted his request.” And the room went silent again.
“I don’t want any of you to harm the students of City College. You all represent our Engineering College & I hope you will respect the decision taken by us”. He added.
“Sir, Are you sure? Is your decision final? Then why did you call us here?” asked a furious Manoj. “They have battered our students; we should take revenge & beat them”.
“We will take revenge & beat them too”, replied Mr. Rao with his deep voice, “and I need the help of you all for this”.
“We are hosting the Finals of inter-college cricket match next week & that would be the perfect day to take our revenge.”
“You all just concentrate on your practice, I know how to handle this matter. Thank you very much”. We knew that he wanted us to leave his cabin now & we came out with a mix of confusion & curiosity in our mind. We all were inquisitive to know how our Principal was going take revenge from City College.
“Will he call the professional persecutors to bully them?”
“Will he take help of some sturdy students like Manoj to harass them?”
These were few questions students had in their minds which were supposed to get answered on the day of Finals.
Date: 27th Sept 2008
Well, the day had arrived when our Cricket team was eagerly waiting to play against City College. Our team was waiting to lift the trophy in front of the home crowd but the crowd was waiting to see the “Style of Revenge” of Mr. Rao which he had promised us that day.
It came to us as a surprise when the local commentator Pyarelal announced that Mr. Deshpande (The Principal of City College) is the Chief Guest for the Final Match & he would arrive on ground with Mr. Rao to watch our Match.
“Bhai, apne students ko apne saamne pitate dekhega to accha nahi lagega isko”, whispered someone while stretching his body & giggled.
The team bus of City College arrived & all the players came out of the bus one by one. The home crowd was looking at them like how a hunter scans for his prey. Well, the players of City College were also prepared for this. Their Cricket kit bag contained few hockey sticks, iron rods, chains, brass knuckles, etc. But, they got nervous when they saw the quantity of our home crowd & the support we were getting through their cheers.
But suddenly, a group of Final year Engineering girls in beautiful traditional Sarees come near the team bus with an Aarti thali & welcomed the City Students by sprinkling flowers & applied tilak on their forehead. Everyone was in shock & couldn’t believe it.
“Bakra katne se pehle aise hi aarti utari jati hai, so don’t get confused”, the captain of City College team tried to alert them & teammates started shivering with fear.
Well, it was time for the toss. Both, Mr. Deshpande & Mr. Rao entered the ground. We all shook hands with one another. I could see the fear in the eyes of players of City College. We won the toss & elected to field.
The openers of City College entered the field & were ready to bat. Our strike bowler Pankaj walked towards his bowling mark.
“Come on Pankaj, Come on!!”, claps & cheers were flowing all around the ground to encourage Pankaj & he bowled his first boll. But, by mistake, the ball has slipped from his hand & it’s a low full toss for the batsman.
“It’s going to be a boundary on the first ball”, it was my conscience as I was fielding in deep.
This was not expected from the batsman; he played the ball defensively & gave a simple catch back to the bowler. Oh my God! We got the wicket on the first ball. It was unbelievable. The batsman with most runs in the tournament was dismissed in the first ball & we understood that they were playing with a defensive approach. The full team gradually got all out with the lowest total of the tournament. We batted & won the match by 10 wickets.
City College was the team who was winning this tournament from last 2 years. Then how did they lose to us so cheaply? How come the team who was famous for their aggressive game played with a defensive mindset & lost to us? None of the person present there wanted to think over & analyze that as we all were busy celebrating our victory with the home crowd. Fortunately, no one including Manoj remembered that we had to take revenge from City College.
The presentation ceremony started & Mr. Deshpande handed over the trophy to us. Now, it was time for him to deliver the final motivational speech to congratulate our team & console his players.
“My dear friends of Engineering College”, Mr. Deshpande started. “First of all congratulations to all of you for the grand victory. Today, you all tasted victory because have never tried to defeat us but you tried to win us. All our players of City College including me never expected this game to be so peaceful as we had failed to do that in our college. Atithi Devo Bhava & Forgiveness is the culture of our country & you all have followed it. Today, you all have not just won this game but our hearts too”. Each & every student of Engineering College who was present there was experiencing a sense of pride because of those words of Mr. Deshpande & we knew whom the credit should actually go to. It all ended with emotional hugs, smiles & contacts exchanged with the members of opposite team.
That was the time all of us, including “Dabangg Manoj”, realized that our Principal taught us a beautiful lesson without even delivering a single lecture.
He did not file any FIR as it would have destroyed the career of few students of City College.
He did not want us to harm any student of City College as the chapter of “Hatred” would have then continued for years.
He wanted us to just focus on our game as City College were defending champions & we needed to work hard to get a win over them.
But he took revenge by “Killing them with Kindness”. He took revenge by “Hunting them with his Humility”. He took his revenge by “beating them on the field & not off the field”. And we won. Not just the game but their hearts too simply by listening to him.
Sir, today I have passed out from the college but your teaching will always be there with me forever.
Thank you very much!
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