It was in my 5th standard. I was eleven then. Our school used to start at 11 A.M. with the recess from 1:30-2:10 P.M. The recess was most about indulging in some shorter version of cricket 5/5 .
That day, I was not playing, as far as I can remember, It was because our group was superseded by other in procuring limited concrete playing turf. Dejected, in failing to grasp a quick rush of adrenalin, I was roaming around and watching others in action. Suddenly, out of nowhere(!) – I felt a sharp impact below my knee- It was somewhat painful for an eleven-year old.On looking down, wincing, I discovered the little ‘missile’ was nothing but a brand new cricket ball. It was looking magnificent with green fabric and smooth texture.The bitter incident, suddenly, transformed into a serendipity for me. With my boyish sharpness, I quickly grabbed it and experienced a sense of elation.Looking around, nobody seemed to have notice the incident and after a while, I realized that the ball had come from the furthest corner of the ground where some older students were playing.They seemed to me; messed up in anticipating the trajectory of the lost ball and consequently, searching for it frantically around the ground.
There I was! Sensing a great opportunity of being owner of a branded new cricket ball, I stepped forward to my classroom; hiding the ball in the safely of my trouser’s pocket.But while walking back, even with my cherished possession, I was not feeling OK, a sense of uneasiness filling my mind.Flabbergasted, I stopped for a while and without analysing the situation much; I retreated back to the other side of the ground where seniors were playing. After a bit hesitation, I mustered the courage and returned it back to the most ‘friendly looking’ senior.They were, however, not very thankful of my act and some of them shouted at me for being late in returning the ball. I apologized and came back to my class.My classmate seemed to be amused after noticing the incident. Some of them give a look of ‘hopelessness’ at me. One of them took initiative and said straight at my face:”‘you know Rajat, that’s why we always call you a fool”.
Amidst all these hoopla and gaining a reputation of a inane fool; deep down at my heat, I was feeling: “I am at peace.” I was feeling OK and ease.I have no problem whatever they tagged me. I was, however, not sure to judge and evaluate my mental processing.Many days have gone by after that.Now, I have gained some maturity and with that, I felt extremely proud about it. I realize; it was victory of a little boy’s conscient willpower over temptation. I will always try to emulate that little boy in my life.