Siya geared up for the boxing match that day. She was possibly the most hardworking teenager amongst all her friends in each and every field. Despite losing seven matches before, her determination to win a gold medal was never turned off. Anyways, inside the ring, the strange trembling of her toothpick legs never really let her win the match. Each and every match, she would try harder than before and this time again, she prepared for giving her best in the ring. But, no such luck! She had again lost the match by 4-0.
Well, she was not really good in studies, except in geography. Miss Dork of the very famous Hamilton School was pretty strict and this time, it was her. Having lost every hope of winning the boxing match and getting qualified for the next level, she sat down, broken. The only words that depressing her were, “I lost it again!”
Well, that was not the end. Poor her!
She didn’t know that she was being watched, sitting all alone in the field from morning 11 to what it seemed like forever! It was almost a quarter to four when she took a glance at her pink zoop watch. She knew she was already very late and they would scold her bad, assuming that she had been to her friend’s house again for some quick snacks, leaving the healthy boiled vegetables of home. But, she was sad enough to be sitting there still, feeling the loneliness, the cool wind and the sky changing its colours from dark yellow to baby pink and then blue. She felt dizzy, but she still forced open her eyes. There was a boy, standing near her.
Finally, in a few seconds, she could clearly see him. He didn’t move except staring at her with his horse eyes wide open and a little smirk on his face that merely made his dimples visible. She stared back at him with a perplexed look on her face. None did spoke a word. A few minutes may have passed. Just as Siya inhaled some air to speak out, a sudden voice interrupted her. She turned back to see her parents with a worried look on their faces and her sister who was practically in tears.
“Where were you all this while, Siya?” Asked her mother. “Your sister cried out a river. We were so worried! We would have called the police!”
“You didn’t right, mom? So now, what you have to do is make a bridge and get over the river of tears Hena made. You never care for my wishes even if I have an ocean of tears, mom. And for Hena, you just rushed over to find me. Wow!” She said bitterly.
“Don’t be childish, Siya? We were worried for you. Don’t you see that?” Her father tried to explain.
“Well, dad! Thank you for your concern. Now, I can’t show any more gratitude for being worried. Why don’t you both just leave me alone? I am grown up enough to understand what’s right for me and what’s not.” Siya simply wanted to run away.
“What’s wrong with you, dear?” Asked her dad.
Siya stomped off ignoring the car that her parents had got to pick her up. She cycled off to her home.
Straightaway, she plunged herself on her bed and dug her head into the pillow. She was more than hurt. All she wanted now was a good sleep till 6 a.m. in the morning. Next morning was again a fresh one, as usual, but things were totally different for Siya. It was already 7 and she had still not got up, even after waking up an hour before. Not because of the depression she had been through, but because of the nightmares that had already spoilt her sleep that night. She couldn’t stop thinking about the boy she saw in her dreams. She felt like she had seen him before, but couldn’t exactly figure out more. Finally, she got up and took a look at the big clock hanging on the wall. Her head was heavy and filled with myriad thoughts. She felt like crumpling them up and trashing them. She would have done it if she could.
She stood in front of the mirror. She looked at herself in her blue jersey. She pulled a chair and sat on it, with her head hanging down from her very slim shoulders.
“Can’t I ever get qualified for the next level? Won’t I ever know who that boy was? Why do I feel like I had seen him, and I had known him before?” She thought. She felt weird while packing up her bag to get out for the boxing classes. It was already nine and none of her family members had bothered to call her. She finally finished packing and was about to tie up her hair, despite knowing that she had already missed her boxing classes. There was something going on in her brain. The little hope in her eyes proved so.
as she walked past the dining table, she saw her very talkative family, quietly having their breakfast.
“What’s wrong with them today?” She whispered to herself.
She got down the stairs and snatched her bowl of pasta. She threw her bag on the sofa and sat on the floor, turning on the television. Unlike the other days, her mom ignored her.
“What’s wrong mom? Why are you all ignoring me today?” She enquired.
“Why are you asking this question when the reason is you, yourself?” her mom said indifferently.
“Fine, so I’d better get out of here, thanks mom for such a great morning.”
She threw her bowl of pasta, snatched her bag and walked out of the house. That was when she felt the wet cheeks of hers. She was crying. She ran back to the field where she had lost everything, kept her bag at a corner and sat down again, feeling the cool wind against her.
“The weather here is so good, and this is the place where I saw that boy…hey! Wasn’t he the one to appear in my sleep last night?” She whispered to herself. In a minute or so, she could see someone approaching her. It took her no time to recognise the same boy, with the similar smirk on his very fair face. When he stood in front of her, she, without wasting a second this time, spoke up.
“Who are you?”
“Someone, an art of God probably?”
“Well, why do you….”
“I come here every day, sit in the corner of the field and watch you all box. The matches aren’t very useful for you, are they?”
“No, unfortunately. I can’t box well.” She replied with a sigh.
“Well, you fight great! I have seen you in the ring.”
“I don’t like people who unnecessarily flatter.”
“I can teach you the correct way, if you want me to.” He was curt now.
“How do I rely on you? There are frauds here!” Siya was confused.
“Your wish, bye!” Saying this, he started walking back to the other corner of the field. Siya watched him go and sit on the other corner. After a few minutes of thinking, she ran up to him.
“Eight days left for the next match. I need to know the time and exact location.”
“Exactly this time and exactly this location. Can we start right over now?”
Finally, Siya got a perfect tutor for her classes. She would attend the boxing classes at 7 and then at 9, she would begin her special coaching classes. Soon, the day arrived, but her special tutor was nowhere in sight. Siya tried her best to remember the steps. Eventually, she did and unexpectedly, got qualified for the next big state level. She couldn’t believe her own self. It was all like a dream to her. But she was pretty upset too, because she couldn’t find him anywhere. The one behind her success. Soon, the field was all empty, except her and the cool wind again. At a distance, she could again see him approaching her. He had a big smile on his face and tears of happiness in his eyes. His dimples could clearly be seen this time. She ran ahead and gave him a tight hug, waving the trophy in front of his eyes.
“Thank you.” He said.
“It’s all for you. What should I call you? What’s your name, senior?”
“Hmm, you’ll come to know about it soon. Till then, you might call me boxer bhaiya.”
“Deal! And we have got the state championship next week. Only seven days. Ready?”
“Totally. But, I have a work for you.”
“Go home straightaway and say sorry to your parents. You had hurt them a lot that day.”
“How do you know about it?”
Siya reached home and straightaway ran up to her room. She made three sorry cards and took out the chocolate cupcakes she had bought with her pocket-money on her way back home. She quickly kept all of them in front of the doors of her mom’s and dad’s and sister’s room respectively, knocked on the doors and ran back to her room. All she required now was again a deep sleep for herself. She quickly changed and splatted herself on the bed. She just wished for some sweet dreams this time. She had an expression of satisfaction on her face.
Next day, she got up by the banging of the door. Her mom had come to wake her up. She felt happier than ever! She quickly got up and shouted, “I am up, mom!”
The banging stopped and she could hear footsteps down the stairs. She got down her bed, itched her head and freshened up very quick. She made her quick braids, took her very heavy boxing bag and ran down the stairs. The delicious aroma pulled her straight towards the table. It was her favourite again, mac n cheese with broccoli. She hugged her mom really tight and finished up her breakfast. It was just 6:30am and she was all ready to go to her morning classes that she had been informed about. Good for her, she could now finish the coaching classed by 7:30. From 8 to 10, she could practise with her special tutor. It was all going really well till the big day arrived.
Siya suddenly felt her legs trembling again inside the ring. She had already been knocked out by 2-0. This was when, her boxer bhaiya suddenly appeared amongst the crowd and started cheering for her wildly. She smiled. She was no more scared to fight. Finally, after regaining her confidence and courage, she won the first state championship match by 6-2. All the three rounds after that, proved to be rice and water for her. After all, she had her boxer bhaiya to motivate her there. Finally, she won the state championship. Now, what only was left for her, was the national championship. She ran up to her boxer bhaiya, after the auditorium got empty.
“You were losing it. I had to come.”
“Anyway, we have again got a week’s time to prepare ourselves.”
“Sorry, I won’t be there this time.”
“What? What do you mean?” Siya was getting nervous already.
“Actually, I need to go somewhere for an important work.”
“Okay, but before you go, can I know your name?” She felt helpless.
“You’ll know it soon.”
“And won’t you return soon?”
“You’ll get the answer, have patience. Bye. And, best of luck. You already know the steps.”
Saying this, he plastered a happy smile on his face and walked out of the auditorium. Siya felt upset. She looked down. He had left out a book there. She picked it up and quickly ran out to find him. But, he was nowhere in sight.
“Perhaps, he’s gone.” She thought to herself.
She went back home, hugged all the members there and got congratulatory wishes from each and every one of them. She went to her room and tried reading the book. It had some tricks, twists and turns to use during a boxing match. By 12, she had finished reading all of it. Next day, she was early for her coaching classes. There, she tried practising the moves she had read about in the book. She was pretty well at it. Her teacher there, appreciated her after some of her winnings during the practise matches. She had taken the punching bag on hire to practise boxing on. She tried all of the steps. She was perfect at them.
Finally, the big day arrived. Her toothpick legs didn’t tremble anymore. Her twists and turns were already confusing and her punches, way too hard for her opponents. As expected, this time, she won all of it again and received the 2 lakh rupees cheque along with a truly large trophy. She was happier than ever! She ran back to the place where she used to meet with her beloved boxer bhaiya. She ran up to the corner where he used to sit. She sat there and felt the cool wind against her body. It was again 8 p.m. and she knew she was too late. But she had the feeling. The will of sitting there whole day, watching the sky change its colours. Finally, as she had expected, her family arrived to pick her up. Her sister walked up to her and the little fellow cried, “Yay! You won it again! Yay! You did it, sisso!”
Siya smiled and patted her left cheek. Then, they all drove home together. Next day, in school, Siya was called by the principal. Mrs. Wallbanger congratulated her for her success and her passion. The news had spread everywhere. This was when the principal shared with her some really shocking and depressing fact.
“Siya, I see my son in you. He was also very passionate towards boxing. But unfortunately, he died in a sudden accident. Siya, I want you to get ahead with this, girl! You have a shining future. You will be a great boxing champion one day. And, I want you to come with me to the auditorium to celebrate this very special moment.”
Siya followed her principal to the auditorium where all her classmates and the teachers had gathered, waiting for her. She felt really proud to have achieved this attention from everyone. The principal announced,
Respected teachers, students, our family members, Siya has finally succeeded in achieving the very famous national award in boxing. I respect this courage and confidence of her’s. My son, Viraj, even after being really passionate about boxing, had never been able to achieve the national award, as seven days before the final match, when he was returning home with his friends, a truck with its drunk driver dashed towards them. Others were saved, but he fell down while trying to jump off the road. The truck ran over him and killed him. None of his friends could either see the truck, or the driver. The case was then closed,” she choked, “This happened ten years back. He was in this same school. Here, I present his very old photo to honour him today. ”
Siya carefully looked at the dusted picture. Her heart skipped a beat. It was her boxer bhaiya! She investigated it more carefully to make sure that it wasn’t one of her hallucinations. No! It was her boxer bhaiya. It was now all clear in front of her. Why he didn’t ever say his name to her? Why was he so reserved about sharing his details? Why had he left her seven days before? Perhaps, he helped her so that his soul could find peace finally. She gave back the photo to the principal. After the assembly, she ran back to her home, curled up in one corner of her room, clasped the book close to her heart, as she cried her heart out.