I often think about the things a person inherits, by virtue of being born to who they are born to. The moment they enter the world, a lot becomes theirs, it just takes them some time to find out.
One of these things is the disappointments of their parents. As lessons in recovery, expectations, grief, or even solace, failures do come back to children – and it’s fascinating to read the stories based on their perceptions.
An example of the same is this thread, where a son fondly talks about his father’s obsession with cricket, the one incident that stopped him from making it to the national level, and the man’s most prized possession – his instincts.
My father likes to brag. Specially about his athletic abilities. Truth is, he does manage to catch the toast before it falls to the floor. At half his age, I can’t do that. “Keeper’s reflexes”, he says. The rest of us exchange ‘there he goes again’ glances. Mom just smiles. +— Ramki (@ramkid) December 20, 2020
Posted by Ramki on Twitter, this thread tells the story of his father, who is known in his family as the ‘saviour of falling objects’. He used to be a cricketer once.
An important catch in a crucial match cost him a place in the national squad and after that, he hung his gloves.
We’ve heard his ‘I could have played for India’ story a few times. About how one dropped catch in a crucial match cost him his India berth. How he quit the game after that. And became an actuary. Instead of people studying his stats, he studied theirs. +— Ramki (@ramkid) December 20, 2020
However, he carried one thing from the field, the most important thing – his ‘keeper skills’. In years to come, he’d save many eggs and pickle jars from what seemed like an inevitable fate of destruction.
It’s true that his keeper-reflexes have saved many a pickle jar, egg, and tea cup. He has thumbed his nose at gravity so often. we jokingly call him Rakesh Sharma. He’d have preferred Kiri or Rod or Alan. +— Ramki (@ramkid) December 20, 2020
Watching him do this has become the family’s habit but for better context, here is his story.
Here’s his story. Years ago, his team was one wicket away from victory. The opponents two runs away. The pitch was crumbling. Dogra bowled a beaut. The ball pitched and reared up. It took the bat’s shoulder and sailed towards him. That was the India cap flying into his hands. +— Ramki (@ramkid) December 20, 2020
Tragically, along with the ball, a clod from the disintegrating pitch flew up too. Dad’s eyes stayed on the clod. While the ball mockingly wafted by him. And rolled over the rope. It was a catch Kachra could have taken. +— Ramki (@ramkid) December 20, 2020
He hung up his gloves. Literally. They are on his wall in his office cabin. Inviting suckers to walk into a retelling of his story. They all fall for it. And he tells the story with a lot, lot more detail than I just did. +— Ramki (@ramkid) December 20, 2020
Fast forward to a few days ago, the former cricketer goes and saves a vase. Not like it was going to break. It was made of metal. But a simple oops from his wife’s mouth was enough for him to dive.
Last night he saved a flower vase that didn’t need saving. It was made of metal. Mom was arranging flowers. And she toppled the vase. An involuntary ‘oops’ escaped her. Dad dived heroically from the sofa. +— Ramki (@ramkid) December 20, 2020
The vase had sharp edges. There was more blood than the injury deserved. Panicky voices were raised. Siblings hithered and thithered in Brownian fashion. Minor mayhem ensued. Some gauze, cotton, and dettol later, quiet returned. +— Ramki (@ramkid) December 20, 2020
In the process, he got hurt pretty badly, and panic ensued. But after things settled, the children, or at least one child (the narrator of the story), asked his father why does he do this and his mother, why does she entertain it?
That’s when I said, ‘Baba, enough is enough. You don’t have to save all falling objects. Keeper’s reflexes and all is okay. The chief selector is not looking at you any longer. You are not in your 20s now… Ma, why do you encourage this hero-giri?’ +— Ramki (@ramkid) December 20, 2020
Dad tried to protest. He dismissed his injury as something that would need four, max five overs away from the field. I wasn’t going to argue with a crazy man who was at the intersection of his skill sets. Insurance, cricket, and statistics. So I said, ‘Ma… please tell him.’ +— Ramki (@ramkid) December 20, 2020
That’s when his mother told him what was a secret till now. That his father’s ‘best catch’ did not happen on a cricket field, and it potentially saved his life the day he was born.
A resigned expression crossed her face. She looked at Dad, and said with a theatrical sigh, ‘I think it’s time I told you something your Baba has never let you know. And why I never stopped his ‘hero-giri’. She looked just like Nirupa Roy as she went into flashback mode. +— Ramki (@ramkid) December 20, 2020
“I was in the labour room with you. It was a very difficult and long childbirth. I was screaming in pain. Finally, you came out. A small, slithery, bloody bundle. As the doctor was handing you over to the nurse… you slipped. And Baba took the best catch of his life.”— Ramki (@ramkid) December 20, 2020