Nothing like a hug to make my day



Nothing like a hug to brighten up my day

Smile, check. New cricket kit, check. New sports outfit, check. Confidence, check. I’m off for another cricket practice session, and the morale is high. For the uninitiated, I grew up playing the sport and once I moved to Dubai, I couldn’t find a group of women to play with. I only discovered a team of women who play cricket in the UAE about three weeks back and have been playing with them ever since.

Today I see a new coach – well she isn’t new but since I am, this is the first time I have seen her. I am exuberant and enthusiastic as always, and when she is helping out someone else with their bowling action, I request her to please review mine as well. I bowl with a flourish – only to find out I’ve had my head in the wrong position all these years. I don’t know if you’ve read Harry Potter, but remember that scene where the Quidditch teacher tells Draco Malfoy he’s been flying on his broom the wrong way for years? Well, I felt like what Draco must have felt – and I can safely say that the realization is a pretty embarrassing one.

The confidence began to slip as I made my way out to the nets, and I got caught in a reverie of negative thoughts that somehow, seem to be lurking right at the edge of my brain, and pounces on my persona as soon as something doesn’t go my way. Typical. Just as I was standing there, waiting to have a bowl at the nets, the ball (this incredibly hard cork ball) came and hit the shin out of nowhere, not once but twice! The ball kept following me thereafter and I was unable to field it due to the pain I was in. One of new teammates said a little too audibly, “What is she up to, missing everything?” and then to me, “Move, okay? Get out of the way!” I meekly obliged, and padded up to do some batting, hoping the pain in my shin would subside.

Sticking out like a sore thumb

Alas, that too wasn’t a good idea, because the coach said, “Who told you to pad up? Did I ask you to bat?”

“Err…” I elucidated intelligently, and took the pads off. Then I simply stood there in the sun, waiting to get a bat, which, in the end I did not, because the coach wanted to teach me a lesson for padding up without her consent. All in all, it was a rather forgettable morning, and I was wondering what made me get up at 6:00 AM on a peaceful Friday morning to go play cricket.

In a demoralizing moment of self-pity I realized I lack fitness, passion, and popularity amongst the girls and maybe even talent. Just then I ask someone the time, and I say how worried I am about the kids – they might’ve gotten up by now! “Kids? Whose kids? Are you married? No! I couldn’t have guessed! Thought you were school-going girl – college at best!” Needless to say, I am smiling once more.

But it takes only a short while to feel low again and I drive back home brooding darkly, quite ironically feeling exactly like a schoolgirl who has been left out. I walk inside the house to find that the girls have indeed woken up and forced their dad to the same. The younger one walks up to me and says two words which make me whole again. “Mamma, huggie?” And the little hands wind themselves tightly around my neck and wimp that I am, I think I am going to cry. These moments are precious – and motherhood is not overrated at all. Nothing beats that genuine smile, those innocent eyes, the welcoming arms, that unconditional love. The love and respect I hope will stay even if I can’t bowl a single decent delivery, can’t write anything halfway readable or am in general, just an ordinary human being with nothing special about me. Smile, check.

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