The Game of Tennis
two, three…. I counted in my head. I have just run about 2 miles. I am pooped
but I have to do this stupid stretching with the rest on the edges of the grass
field. Usually, I would try and take as many short cuts but today, it is
different. My tennis coach was looking over this particular session and if he
caught me, I could be in a big bowl of soup.
I stretched out to the left then right, feeling very stupid and tired.
All the people around me are boys, silly boys who never
take short cuts. Bully to them. Coach said,
men… er… people. Lets go for a few swings.”
“Swings the man says,” I muttered, “how ‘bout mood
“OK boys, I want full two hundred swings. Nimisha, I want you
to come here,” coach said gesturing to me to follow him. When he turned, I
stuck my tongue out at the boys and jogged over to my coach. “Yes sir?”
“Now, I know I moved you to the seniors time. It will do you a
lot of good. But I know that you would feel very bored because you would be the
only girl. We’ve been through this week. Do you want to continue?”
I stroked my ponytail thoughtfully. My brown eyes, which had seen
only fourteen years of life, twinkled as I said, “Well, you are right about
the bored part. But it is much better to play with these guys.”
“Yeah, each of them is a egoistical, sore loser. But the girls
are more friends and mature. Its not fun beating them, but the guys throw
tantrums which makes the process of beating much more fun.”
Coach actually laughed at that.
He said, “Good point. Go back to your drill. I want 100 swings.” I raised my
5 5” height to the fullest and lifting my hand in mock salute I said, “Yes
Sir.” I started jogging back to the spot where the others were doing their
drill. I picked up my racket lying on the grass and started my swing practice
counting in my head.
After the coaching was done the boys and I were enjoying a ten minute
break. It was almost nine a.m. I opened her duffel bag and took out my towel and
glucose. Slowly I took a sip as the guys all busied themselves in Car-racing
games and The Rock.
they have absolutely no life. There is nothing in their heads except sports,
sports and computers. Though my friends call me the hacking whiz and I enjoy
tennis and cricket I am not an addict. I am an addict to love stories, love
stories and diabetic movies.
Tarun, a short
eleven year old walked up to me and said, “ Nimi, if you do study in MT
Carmel, is your brain empty?” I
gave him my famous princess look (aloof +grim humour +narrowed eyes). I then
said, “ Oh, yeah? Well lets just put it in two words Mine is empty and yours
is full. Of dung and dead flies.”
With that I pulled his cap down so that it completely covered his face. Then I stood up and said “Adios Amigo, better luck next
The next week (Monday), after going through the usual torture, Coach
began to allot matches. “OK, Tarun you play with Ehsaan on first court.
Shashank you and Abhay vs. Siddharth & Ansh on the center court. Nimi you
vs. Ronak on the last court.”
sighed. I mean Ronak could play well, but he was so easy to beat. As I picked up
my racket, I planned out my game. First I need to get him over confident. Then
test his patience and then cut him to size. Why am I thinking so much, the same
plan works on every boy.
I stuck to my little plan. I let him win the first game of our best of
seven match. After that using the power of his own shots I used well-placed
rallies to win three games in a row. Actually I was on a match point 40 –0. My
first serve got through. It was very simple. But my plan had worked very well.
He was very angry and impatient and to finish he put too much power into that
shot. It fell outside leaving me victorious 4-1.
I went back to the bench after the match. As sir screamed his lungs out
at Ronak and sat back and enjoyed this episode. Actually this is better than
ER. Finally Sir sent him of to the wall.
Tarun and Ehsaan came back from their match and sir sent two other people
to play. Tarun actually is very short. Sir started teasing him about this when
Tarun focused on something behind sir’s head. I turned to see that it was Neha,
a girl from my school a couple of years older to me. Sir asked him, “Is that
your girl friend?”
“No sir, that’s Mihir bhai’s GF.”
I first looked at Tarun then at Mihir bhai, who was coming back from the
Guys, all below 14 years of age, don’t understand the seriousness of
the word girlfriend especially around other girls. I turned green, purple then
white in the effort of keeping the huge bubble of laughter inside me. At that
fateful moment all matches were over and everybody including all those at the
wall came back and the usual chatting filled the air. Thankfully they masked all
my silent giggles and gurgles. I tossed my water bottle, sipper and towel in my
bag as fast as I could. I zipped up my racket cover and strapped my bag onto my
shoulders in record time.
With an even faster Bye sir, I half jogged and half walked towards that
gate which kept running away from me. Stupid gate! Come to me you
rotten piece of pasta!
Alas! If I had rocket speed in my feet! If I had a magnet to attract
that old oaf of a gate, which was opened at that moment by a girl, called Neha.
I froze on the edge of the last court. Oh! She recognized me.
Neha walked right up to me and said, “Hi!”
I gave my fake smile; please just say I thought you were someone else.
But when did God ever listen to me. She said, “Doesn’t Ash play
Tennis with you? I thought you were best friends.”
“No she doesn’t but if you’re looking for her I can…”
“No I wasn’t looking for her. I was bored to death there. I needed to
talk to someone who thinks about something besides boys.”
you think I don’t think about that.”
Coz you are the one to talk to about…”
grinned and we said at the same time, “ SVU!”