The world is asleep when he wakes up. It’s 4 am. Quietly, he opens his room door and tip toes across the corridor to where It is kept. He is nervous. His heart is pumping against his chest, he can feel his brain filling up with adrenaline. He must be quick and stealthy as a ninja. Unseen. Unheard. He makes sure to cause no sound by closing the door behind him. He must have some alone time with It. But something is missing. Something without which It will be useless. He frantically searches the room for it. His heart beat rising every second. Until at last he finds what he is looking for. The remote. He switches It on. The TV. He lowers the volume until he himself can barely hear anything and switches to channel 426 – Sony Six. Damn it, he missed the tip-off and the starting minutes. In his bid to be as silent as possible, he took a lot more time than he had anticipated. But he can still watch whatever is left of the game. Lebron James is playing, his favourite player. His team is winning, but he cannot cheer out loud, for fear of making too much noise and waking Them. Silently, he watches. He occasionally gets lost in the beauty of the game he loves. Basketball.
But for all his love, he can never have what he wants. He cannot decide to choose it as a career, for fear of Them. His parents. Who cannot understand his passion, his obsession, his love. But even if they understand, what can he do? Even if he manages to leave everything, get selected in the squad and represent India for a couple of years, what will he do then? He will have no qualifications. No education. The Government will probably provide him with the menial job of a Ticket Collector in the Indian Railways where he will spend the rest of his life telling people who know nothing about basketball, that he represented his country. People will be judgmental. That’s what ignorant people do. They don’t even realize that basketball is not the same sport as volleyball!
The only way he can watch basketball is if he wakes up at 4 am every morning, and that too is limited. He cannot read about basketball in the newspapers because the editors cannot spare even a single square inch of their 4 page daily sports section to mention something about basketball. He cannot get to know something about basketball in the news channels, who don’t think 30 seconds out of their 30 minute sports broadcast is worth giving to basketball. In fact, He recently got to know that on the 13th of July 2014, the Indian basketball team defeated the mighty Chinese team, and that too on their home court! It was a historic win for the 61st ranked Indian team to beat the Asian champions.
Historic indeed! But where was this news featured? Nowhere. Not on a single newspaper or news channel. The only way he got to know was by social media and that too by a group of highly motivated people who runs India’s only basketball website, ekalavyas.com. Bless them. If it wasn’t for them, he might never have gotten to know about this historic moment in India’s brief history in basketball, and this achievement of our highly motivated men’s squad might have passed into oblivion. “Not on my watch”, he says to himself. Not on my watch.
Oh! He got so distracted that he didn’t realize that the sun had crept over the trees for a beautiful sunrise and match had just ended. It’s 6 am. His parents will be awake soon, so he better get a move on. He tries his best to leave the room as it had been when he had entered, creeps back into his room, crawls into his blanket and falls fast asleep.