Everybody at BojyanaikThanda was good at cricket, except myself. I tried my best, but it was no good. Every time I tried to catch the ball, it seemed to escape from my hands. It was the same if I tried to bat. My bat seemed to miss, or the ball flew off the edge of it. Each time I missed the ball, all the boys groaned. As far bowling, well, I was so bad that I was never asked to bowl.
One evening, an old man who sat on the verandah of a house near the ground watched me drop an easy catch. He shook his head slowly. ‘That boy has got no eye for the ball,’ he said. I bit my lip to hold back my tears. I had not always been bad. I used to be quite good. But over the past year or so, I had just got worse and worse.
At home, Jangu, my brother began to tease me. ‘He dropped such an easy catch today,’ he said to the father. Even our little Isru could have done better. ‘Well, Somla has butterfingers,’ said Jangu. He’s no eye for the ball. But father said, ‘I had a dream last night. It was about Somla playing for the Indian side.’The next day we were playing cricket as usual. Jangu went into bat. ‘Don’t think you’re going to catch me out man. Why don’t you go and play with Isru? Get him to show you how to catch.’ He said to me Harsha was the bowler. He bowled a slow delivery to Jangu. Jangu came forward and lofted the ball. The ball went straight up in the air. I saw I was right under the ball. I knew I must catch it. ‘Get back, butterfingers,’ yelled Vamsi. ‘Leave it’ ‘someone will catch it.’ ‘I’ll take it.’Vasu came running there. ‘Leave it for me,’ Vasu shouted. ‘Vasu go away’, ‘it’s mine,’ I cried. This was my chance to show them. I cupped my hands to catch the ball. I was right under the ball. I shouldn’t miss.
‘Ha!’ I screamed and fell down on the ground. Everyone ran towards me. I held my hand to my face. Blood ran down through my fingers. The ball hit me in the face. People around gathered and rushed me to hospital. The doctor observed and said to my parents,‘Take him to the town hospital immediately. He needs a surgery.’ I was taken to to hospital in Hyderabad. Jangu was crying, ‘Why did I say Somla has no eye for the ball? Now it might come true!’ Mother consoled Jangu,‘Don’t worry. Somla will be alright! He’ll play with you again.’
My father and mother looked after me carefully. After a week my father went to BojyanaikThanda. I sent a letter to my elder brother, Jangu.
My eye is much better now. The doctors and nursesare very kind to me. They tested my both eyesyesterday. Now I’m alright. Of course, before surgery,there was something wrong with my left eye, the doctorsaid. After surgery it’s alright now. Now I can bowland bat as you do. I’ll never drop even a single catch. Imiss you all. Hope, you are playing regularly. I’ll joinyou soon. Give my love to grandma and little Isru.
I was in hospital for ten days. When I returned to my village, Jangu gave me a parcel. I was surprised. There was a beautiful ball in it. ‘A new cricket ball,’ I jumped with joy and hugged my brother. I practised hard day and night with the bat and ball. Now I am a member of the Indian cricket team.