Navitha Reddy



Navitha Reddy


The Warrior!!

The Warrior!!

6 mins

Sandesh was waiting for his friend Dhiman at the Football ground. Sandesh was rolling and kicking the ball around. Suddenly, he felt someone holding his hand firmly and twisting it backward. Soon after, he received a big blow on his shoulders. He fell on the ground with intense pain. Just then, Dhiman entered the ground with his friends and saw Sandesh on the ground. He screamed "Anand Uncle….. Nooo…..Please stop... He is my friend…. Coming closer he said “Anand uncle, this is my friend, Sandesh. I asked him to come here. Spare him, please". Sandesh, with great difficulty raised his head to see who it was. He could see a man, aged around 60yrs, tall and well built. Anand said something to Dhiman and walked out of the ground.

Dhiman rushed towards Sandesh, held him in his arms and helped him to stand. Sandesh after recovering himself looked at Dhiman and started hurling abuses at Anand. Is he crazy? Why did he hit me?? Out of his mind, bloody idiot. Next time I see him I will beat him black and blue. Dhiman was upset and he shouted "Stop it Yarr, he did it by mistake, it was not intentional. You know nothing about Anand uncle. It was my mistake I called you here. Sandesh was now, very upset and shouted, “You are supporting that rogue, he hit me for no reason, Bro". Dhiman again warned, “Sandesh, if you knew about him, you would never use this language. Stop now, and let us go from here". Sandesh insisted that Dhiman tell him about Anand. He said, "Ok, tell me what great work has he done, that you are such a big fan of his.” 

Dhiman heaved a big sigh and told about Anand to him “Anand uncle had a son whose name was Abhi. He was very brilliant, smart and he loved football alot. Anand uncle and Rekha aunty encouraged him. They were a happy family. Abhi had reached the district level in football and worked hard to reach the state level. He practiced day and night to reach his goal. Due to internal politics, Abhi could not make it to the District level. They selected players less talented than Abhi. Abhi was disappointed and heartbroken. He showed no interest in studies and stopped attending college. He spent most of the time playing football on the same ground. He showed his frustration on his friends. They could not tolerate his behavior and distanced themselves from him. Soon Abhi fell into wrong company and spent most of his time with Daniel and the group. 

Daniel and his friends were rogues and were also dealing in drugs. They trapped Abhi and made him a drug addict. By the time Anand uncle came to know about it, it was too late, Abhi was very addicted by then. He even forgot his football game. Anand Uncle tried his best to bring Abhi back to normal life but Abhi was not cooperating. They even sent him to a rehab center but Abhi escaped from there in 4 days. Anand uncle was sick and tired of Abhi and his habits. Abhi found various means to get drugs. One day he locked Abhi in his room to make sure that he didn’t consume any drugs. Abhi was very upset and tried his best to escape but nothing worked. Abhi was frustrated and his condition became pathetic. Though he wanted to quit drugs, he could not. The next day when Anand opened Abhi's room, he found Abhi hanging from the ceiling fan. He had hung himself unable to control the urge for drugs. Anand uncle was shattered. Rekha aunty was inconsolable. None of their family or friends came to attend Abhi’s last rites. They were afraid that they might have to face police inquiry and court hearings. 

After a few days, Anand uncle decided that the pain that he went through should not be caused to others in the colony. He found Daniel near the ground and beat him black and blue. He warned Daniel, against entering the colony at any cost. He took Voluntary Retirement and started spending his time moving in and around the ground. If he found something fishy, he would interfere. He ensured no drug dealers could befriend our colony members. He was attacked by many goons but he did not give up. He also formed a group of members in the colony and helped many kids pursue their interest in football. He takes care of us like his own. Now, tell me “doesn't he deserve any respect?? Isn't he a Warrior??” He has gone through a lot in his life but he made up his mind to bring change in other's life. He has counseled many youngsters and parents. 

There was silence between the two for a long time. They walked back home without uttering a word. Sandesh could see Anand gifting shoes to the underprivileged kid and helping him tie his lace. The kid gave a broad smile and hugged Anand. 

After a few days, there was a rumour that the Colony ground was taken over by some politician and that he is planning to build an apartment there. This disturbed Anand too much. Anand had many memories of his son and hence an emotional attachment towards the ground and the football game. The residents of the Colony did not have the courage to speak against the politician and Anand alone could not do anything about it. Sandesh learnt about the situation from Dhiman and decided to do something about it. Few days later Dhiman, Sandesh and a few residents of the colony came looking for Anand. Dhiman knocked the door impatiently. When Anand opened the door, Dhiman held Anand's hand and said "Anand uncle, come fast. There is a surprise for you! Anand looked puzzled, "What surprise beta???“ Dhiman looked at Sandesh and said "You come and see for yourself". He pulled him towards the ground. They reached the ground and a big board was put up in the entrance "Anand Football Academy". 

Anand was overwhelmed with joy and was confused as well. He was speechless. He felt a lump in his throat and felt tears well up his eyes. Dhiman noticed it and held Anand's hand in his and pressed it. Anand cleared his throat “How?? I heard they were building an apartment here...”

Dhiman pulled Sandesh towards him and said "It's all because of this Idiot, uncle. He told about you and Abhi to his dad. His dad is an Editor in chief of a news channel and he agreed to do a sting operation on the local MLA who had taken over this ground. They were caught red handed while the deal was being finalized. Then Sandesh's dad spoke to him and struck a good deal. He said “Give us the ground or we will telecast about your scam and destroy your career”. With no other option he handed over the ground to us.

Anand folded his hands in Namaste to thank Sandesh "Thank you beta, this ground has more memories of my son and I feel he is still here in each and every football player who come here to practice. I am sorry about the other day. I thought you were a drug peddler". Sandesh stopped him in between, "Arrey, its ok uncle. Actually now I am thinking along with football you can start self-defense classes too for the members of the colony”. Everyone burst into laughter.

Anand hugged both Sandesh and Dhiman and felt relieved.

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