King Khan would soon be flaunting his Dermi Cool sprinkler and the Onida devil is lurking around the corner.
Now that these afternoons have started becoming ominously warm, the occasional evening breeze is welcomed with open arms. Welcomed by everyone. That is, everyone except the members of the Saraswati Badminton Club.
Members click their tongues in disapproval as an unruly shuttle sways to the tune of a stray breeze like a drunk baraati on a naagin dance spree and lands way outside the boundary, utterly unapologetic. Well, cocks can be cocky sometimes.
Apart from this drawback, however, gali badminton is picking up in localities where gali cricket is losing sheen. No flower beds trampled on by fielders trying to find inexplicably well camouflaged cosco balls like american soldiers navigating their way through a vietnamese minefield. No dictatorial uncles confiscating said coscos in leiu of you paying the RWA for a fresh pane of Saint Gobain.
Not surprisingly then, many a notorious gali cricketer has morphed into a shuttler overnight. However, their shameful past often betrays the Probably because they swing the racket with both hands and shout “Six hai!” whenever the shuttle goes outside the court.
The shuttlers of Saraswati Community Park are a motley crew.
There’s the struggling entrepreneur: A computer guy who used to run a cyber cafe until smartphones came along and ruined a service industry that was already trying to compete with ever reducing broadband connection prices…
…a garment shop owner…
…a college student (me)…
…two middle schoolers…
…and two guys who work at the local offices of the Unique Identification Authority of India.
We’ve got a court, a net (no holes!), aluminium alloy rackets and (get this) a bench for spectators.
By 7 P.M. everyone’s on the battlefield, their rackets drawn.
The UIAI duo is formidable. These guys have seen Saina Nehwal matches. They know the rules. More importantly, they know what backhand means.
The middle schoolers are a close second. They’ve perfected the art of bending rules. “Rules” philosophised one of them when I tried to tell him off for trying to score a point on the sly “are meant to be broken”. Humbled by his sagacity, I ceded his point and he got a point.
The rest of us are a distant third. Trying to understand cross serves and getting served with whizzing smashes when we do manage to ‘cross’ our serve.
Edit: It’s been more than a month since I published this post. A lot has changed since that era. No longer am I a clueless greenhorn, no sir! In fact I’ve blossomed into a player every bit as fomidible as the UIAI duo. The kids say I’ve turned into a badminting monster. The upstarts have been plotting my downfall ever since I hit that six year old with a smash right in his loser face. I’m so proud of myself. 😀