I immediately looked at the Aacharya ji. He was standing there indifferently. I looked at Purohit sir. He was happy seeing my name. And then I looked around. Tanuj had a colourless face! Rest of all were almost nuetral. I was about to say something when Aacharya ji signed me to stop. Prajapati sir was preparing to speak! I waited.
“All the best to the candidates. I know you all will give your best. The exams would commence within the coming two weeks. Prepare yourself.”
He leaves. And Aacharya ji and Purohit sir along with him. I decided. No one can make me do things against my wish! Today Aacharya ji’s training sessions were scheduled after the fighting lessons . I decided I won’t even discuss the matter with him else he may try to convince me! It was Biswas sir’s class.
I was puzzled at the letter in my hand. I sat on my bed in confusion reading the letter.
𝘍𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘮 𝘴𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘢𝘭𝘰𝘯𝘨 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘱𝘪𝘦𝘤𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘱𝘢𝘱𝘦𝘳 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘮𝘦𝘦𝘵 𝘮𝘦 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘣𝘢𝘴𝘬𝘦𝘵𝘣𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘵 𝘴𝘩𝘢𝘳𝘱 𝘢𝘵 9:00. 𝘉𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘮 𝘢𝘭𝘰𝘯𝘨. 𝘈𝘯𝘥 𝘥𝘰 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘢𝘥𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘵𝘪𝘴𝘦 𝘪𝘵 𝘪𝘯 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘯𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘭𝘥. 𝘐𝘵’𝘴 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘧𝘪𝘥𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘢𝘭!
Okay… What is up with Coach Bhargav? He has re-scheduled our evening routine. We can only meet him till 6 in the evening. After that we have to receive the confirmation first then meet him! This wasn’t like that last year! I looked inside the envelope. There was a booklet in there. The first page asked for details and insides were a few questions. What kind of form was this? The doorknob turned and I put the letter aside. It was Abhi! I relaxed. He was looking weird. But then he is weird. But he was also worried!
“Everything is fine?”
“Everything in the whole world is fine apart from that hellhound! Doing weird thing gives him kicks!”
“Does that weird thing includes an envelope containing a letter and booklet?”
He looked at me shocked and immediately took the envelope out of his bag! Identical! Abhi looked at me.
“Do you think others got it?”
“Dont know. We can’t even ask. Let’s fill this up and find out the actual matter!”
He nodded and we started filling the booklet.
I was in the gym when Aacharya ji came there. I acted normal.
“We won’t train here today. Let’s go to basketball court.”
He walked ahead and I followed. The court was empty when we reached there. We were looking at the court.
“When I was your age, I wanted to join NBA! This court was my home, world and passion.”
“So how come you are stuck here?”
“Life happened. You never know what fate has planned for you! Have you ever been to a basketball match?”
I didn’t reply immediately. Some flashes formed in my head along with a faint voice ‘It’s a pleasure meeting you Shrinika. Viraj Rai.’ I shut my eyes tightly. No dwelling on past memories! Whoever it may be! I opened them again and took a deep breath.
“You must be already knowing the answer. After all, I was under surveillance!”
I head him chuckle.
“Okay. Do you know how to play?”
Again flashes! But I ignored them.
“Bits and pieces. Learned from someone for a while.”
“Okay. Let’s test your ‘for a while’ teacher’s skills. Pick up the ball. Half court!”
I nodded and got the ball. I had been here quite sometimes. I knew where the balls were kept and where the lights were switched on from. I switched on the lights and walked on towards the court.
“You have been here before haven’t you? You know the place too well!”
“Somethings should be left personal.”
He smiled and signalled me to start. I started bouncing the ball. It took him seconds to take the ball from me. I tried to tackle him while he was bouncing the ball.
“Okay then. One basket from your side and you win… No matter how much I have scored. So, Aren’t you going to question me why I wrote your name without your permission. ”
I manage to grab the ball and defend it. He tries to tackle me. We were talking while playing.
“Doesn’t matter. No one can make me do things against my wish. So I don’t care!”
I try to distract him from a trick I had been taught! I caught a smirk on his face. Does he know the trick? Naah. He would have tackled me!
“I know. I heard you and Angiras talking the other day. But you also told him that you are going to be the leader in the outside world.”
The moment I bounced the ball, he grabbed it mid air and ran to the centre of the court defending the ball! I followed behind.
“Can’t deny that. And this isn’t overconfidence. I know my abilities well.”
He moved ahead bouncing the ball like a pro and without any worry lines on his face. Me on the other side! Must be looking like a pack of wrinkles!
“No doubt you have great potential! But in order to acknowledge it you have to explore it. Even a leader needs experience!”
He says and scores a basket! It was so smooth and efficient! I was mindblown! He grabbed the ball again and moved to the centre again. I followed him again.
“But I am a noob here. It will take me time to learn things. How can I lead people with greater mental abilities and stronger physical abilities than me? I am naturally alpha by personality. But being an alpha to a pack means proving your position every now and then to every major and minor challenges!”
I manage to grab the ball from him and moved towards the basket. He followed behind.
“Are you afraid of challenges or are you afraid that your alpha position would be snatched?”
And he snatches the ball back from me. I look at him frustrated! I was this close to win! I followed him again to tackle him!
“I am afraid that the challenges which would seem little to others would prove provocative for me and the anger I am trying so hard to suppress every second will be unleashed at the wrong place in wrong time!”
He throws the ball high up in the air and looks at me. He forwards his hand to catch the ball.
“I say, if that moment ever comes, then unleash your anger. You say that no one can control you then why are you letting your anger get a hold over you? If that time comes, unleash it, in a limit. Tell them who is the alpha and what is the meaning and value of that position. And one can only challenge the alpha if one has the ability to defeat one!”
The moment the ball lands on his hand I hit it from the bottom, bouncing it and then catching it.
“What if I am not the one suitable for team work? What if I am the omega?”
I threw the ball aiming for a three pointer shot but missed it for a little bit! We both ran towards the ball. He caught it and ran towards the centre again but this time I caught the ball from him and passed it from under my leg and then around him then tricked him! Another borrowed trick from someone! It was one of the firsts I learnt! I caught Aacharya ji smirking again! What is with this smirks?
“You will never know it unless you try. Even an omega needs a pack to survive! And he keeps on finding it unless either he is successful or he is dead! But be never runs away from the opportunities just like that. Shri. We are preparing you all to face the outside world when you are capable enough. You all have potentials. You just have to explore and unleash it! Grab the opportunities in your way and give your best. Remember if you serve your opportunities to someone else in a silver platter, and if he is less capable than you, you would have to live with that wrong decision for the rest of your life. You will always think that if you would have been in that place, you would have done better!”
I looked at him understanding what he meant! He signed me to focus. I did it and aimed for a three pointer again. I threw the ball and this time, I did it!
“I hope it was clear what I meant! (I nodded) okay. So how’s your fighting sessions going on?”
“It’s been a week since the offensive training started. Biswas sir says my defense has become quite strong and now I should focus on attacks!”
“Hmm… Good. Okay then, I will test your skills tomorrow. (He looked behind me) Okay. I have to meet someone here. You can disperse. Take an early leave. (I am about to leave when he speaks again) And. I may have been the one to suggest your name but I wasn’t the only one to confirm it!”
I looked at him.
“Angiras has a good eye for great potentials. He rarely shows interests in my trainees. If he is showing in you, you must have that special quality which he came around smelling! Believe it or not, you have peaked many unexpected interests! ”
“Is that a good thing or a bad thing?”
“Its all perspective child!”
He signed me to leave now. I heard footsteps and left the court without turning back. He has some unusual magic to convince me for anything!
As soon as Abhi and I reached the faculty, we moved towards the court. I could see coach Bhargav but he wasn’t alone. There was someone else. I couldn’t identify the silhouette. But that person just now tricked coach by his own move and moved towards the basket! From the stance and distance, it was a three pointer! And after five to six seconds, there was a basket! I heard Abhi!
“Did coach actually called us for practice here?”
“Idiot! Why would he make us fill the form then? And why that secrecy?”
“Point bro! But did you see that? Whoever the coach is training right now tricked him with his own move! It wasn’t perfect but I think coach left that purposely!”
“Even I think so. But if trained regularly, the player could play for the university!”
As we neared the court, I saw the silhouette walking towards the darkness and disappearing into it. Who it must have been. Anyways, we looked at coach! He started.
“How well can you take sudden changes in your lives?”
Okay. I am suddenly having mixed feelings about this meeting! Hope Mahadev saves me!
To be continued