Love it or hate it, you can’t ignore the Indian Premier League. The finals are on tomorrow. Mumbai may be out of this year’s reckoning but the game’s overwhelming effect on the city’s cricket buff is evident from the fact that it hasn’t even spared the girl child. Despite sweltering heat which keeps everyone inside, this gang of pre-teens have ventured out on the street adjoining their homes in Colaba’s First Pasta Lane to play...cricket.
Prevented from playing in a nearby municipal garden as the ball could hit a senior citizen enjoying a peaceful walk, the children are left with little option but to hit the road...literally! Here they are, turning an on-site stone into a make-shift stump, fielding in their flip-flops and casuals. “Where else can we play?” they complain. “If we play on the terrace, the ball keeps falling down...and if we play in the building corridor, everyone’s asleep in the afternoon and they scold us for disturbing them,” she adds.
The girls take their jobs very seriously, letting neither gender nor size nor age play spoilsport. Even Pari, as tiny and fairylike as her name, leaps and jumps to ‘stop a run’ or ‘take a catch’. Never mind that she seldom manages either – the effort is heroic. And already there is a warm and appreciative audience, mostly locals and families, raving about their girls’ prowess with bat and ball.
We could do worse than consider a mixed team for the future!