Football was rare for us at Jadavpur. There were not many enthusiasts, or there was no ball. There were some champion footballers who did not bother playing with us (rightly so). No girls would watch us meaning their boyfriends would not bother to play, or meaning few would be inspired enough if there was no show-off. But once in a blue moon we did have our games. Sometimes there were the so-called ‘challenge matches’. With our famed rivalry with the Economics Department, we did have a few intensely competitive matches between us. This was one such match in the MA first year, sometime during the monsoon of 2001.
It had been raining, and the whole football ground was a stretch of mud. With Bengalis playing, it was a free-for-all where all are more intent on hitting someone’s leg than the ball. At some point of the time I was on centre-right at midfield, and from there I hit the ball hard, a la Bobby Charlton, and ‘netted’ (no net, sorry) the ball gloriously. Mouths agape. I think two pretty girls from my class on whom I have weaved a few poems, were watching from the other side. Talk of luck. Huh!
Splattered in mud, we took our dips in the local lake beside the windmill. Light was falling. We did not have any towels with us, so we were having to change our clothes behind the proverbial bush. From far I saw one of these two women coming towards us. Scared I dropped my pants and ran behind the bush, as she came up and met our group. It transpired later that she was coming to ask me to join the Departmental Tour to Sikkim – somehow I had said that if some other woman was not going, I would not come.
So, this young lady comes to meet me to persuade me to go to Sikkim, and I was in my birthday best behind the bush. Of course, I did have some more memories during this Sikkim tour, with this same lady; but let that remain the recipe for another anecdote later.