Through the corner of my eye, I saw him coming in a black suit with a shiny lapel. My eyes narrowed. He looked at the ‘ORANGE’ torch wide-eyed and stood there rooted for a while.
“How did it happen?” someone thundered
A flash back – a few years back it all started. It was the year when I joined my new school in a new city in eleventh standard. I played basketball for the state. I barely came to school, and made sure that I never ventured near classes. Ever.
A new environment was something that was not new to me. Moreover, one of my teammate studying here for a very long time. His name was Ritesh, a gifted ball-handler, and to watch him play was simply astounding. He always had my back. In the game and otherwise too.
The tradition in the new school was that we used to have sports day right at the very starting of the year. I was camping for most of the time and had to miss my events too. Finally, the announcements and preparations for sports day were up at full swing. Ritesh was one of the four torchbearers.
The evening before the sports day, we were playing ball at our local court. Floodlights hit the floor and game became a little serious. At a certain point, I was playing against Ritesh. With a devilish grin I tried the (in)famous killer crossover. And lo! It was indeed an ankle breaker. By the time I made the basket and turned, everyone was around him. He was hobbling across the court, it seemed to be a very severe ankle twist. That move usually caused injury to the opponent. Thinking I wouldn’t be able to pull it off and the game was played little seriously, something I never wished for just happened.
“John! That was awesome” he gleamed looking at me.
I knew he wouldn’t be able to make it tomorrow, I was mentally whacking myself for trying this out today especially. I escorted him to have his date with the medics. After a few more calls everything for tomorrow was finalized.
The sports day started with much pomp and show. The skies were overcast, and it was actually a dark morning. The drums started thumping, and soles started clamping. One event led to another and soon the torch was being lit. I was feeling really heavy.
Standing there in full kit I mostly saw many unknown faces bearing them. A few known faces including Ritesh were mere spectators. Suddenly, I found the orange flame in close proximity.
Someone knelt down and gave the torch looking up at me. I was star-struck. The orange flame made her face glow in the sombre morning. That light just didn’t stop there.
Through the corner of my eye, I saw Ritesh coming in a black suit with a shiny lapel. My eyes narrowed ‘as I held a wide smile’ . He looked at the ‘ORANGE’ torch wide-eyed ‘nostalagic’ and stood there rooted for a while, ‘chuckling to himself’.
“How did it happen?” someone thundered ‘with eagerness’
Even after ten years of a happy married life, she stirred those same emotions in me each time I look at her. I laughed as I recounted this incident to others.
A happy man with an Orange torch.