Intimations of Unreality from Recollections of Early Cricket
The radio’s floating needle doesn’t lock
on Test Match Special. Peace & Progress
fills the 19-metre band bar
on shortwave 3 from 12 o’clock,
so Trevor, John and Brian feel the press
of Soviet bulletins on a frozen war.
They break for lunch when Ma announces tea,
a few to win, Farokh and Vishy there,
and desis at the Oval set to riot,
while I, taught time zones by the BBC,
fill lunchtime minutes with tea time prayer:
‘Lord, let us beat the English in Vilayat.’
Vishy falls, Abid cuts for four, I win
At twilight more than half a life ago.
Ma’s dead and life has blurred but I can see
that cut I only heard, and feel the din.
How? Did I relive the match? Do I know
it’s not the match that lives through me?
Mukul Kesavan is the author of The Ugliness of the Indian Male and Other Such Propositions.
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