Whenever there is a cricket match,
India playing another country,
I wake up with great anticipation
and offer a prayer to the Almighty,
May India play well, my lord;
may you lead the best side to victory.”

I do not know how I find time plenty
to watch the cricket match
when I always seem to run out of it
for so many important tasks.
I do not know how I stay glued to the TV
and watch every ball bowled
be it burning summer
when I normally retreat to the basement,
be it freezing winter
when I hibernate in a cozy corner.

Then I forget my food and drink
unless it is served to me right there;
I dislike intrusions of all kinds
and, when the phone rings,
I am loath to lift the receiver.
I lap up every comment after every ball
and curse the commercial breaks
that appear between the overs
and between sixes and fours.

My heart races with joy
every time our player hits the ball
and misses a beat or stops
when our wickets fall.
But when it happens with the rival team
my heart responds inversely.
What was my prayer in the morning all about,
some one might ask,
and find me fumbling for an answer.

When our players score big,
take a big haul of wickets
and run like cheetahs in the field,
they evoke adulation
reserved only for heroes and icons,
but when they bat poorly
and fail and fumble with the ball
they seem so vulnerable,
so fragile,
like gods of clay.

When the rivals lose
I feel sorry for them and empathise,
but when our team loses
in spite of putting up their best
it makes me angry and sad,
and I mourn
as if there would never be another day,
even as I know
that cricket is a chameleon,
a faithless lover,
who wavers with her favors,
today mine, tomorrow yours.
*Dr. K L Chowdhury retired as a Professor of Medicine, Medical College, Srinagar. Presently he is the Director of a charitable institution, Shriya Bhatt Mission Hospital and Research Center, Durga Nagar, Jammu.
He is a physician and neurologist, a medical researcher, poet, social activist. He writes on diverse subjects – medical, literary, social and political and has numerous research papers to his credit, his pioneering work being “The Health Trauma in a Displaced Population” which was presented at national and international conferences.
He has published three anthologies namely:
1- “Of Gods, Men and Militants”. Minerva Press (Pvt.) India -2000
2- “A Thousand-Petalled Garland and other Poems”. Writers Workshop Kolkata – 2003
3- “Enchanting world of Infants” Peacock Books, Atlantic Publishers and Distributors-2007
He was declared Shehjar's 'Kashmiri Person of the year' for 2007.
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