But whatever you may think about our adventures in the village, we had very many differences among our friends at times. When we could not agree about certain things the guys who maintained the difference had to either walk away or accept the decision of the others. At other times we brawled at simple things such as ownership of broken kites which fell at someone’s backyard, rolls of threads discovered on trees, bird eggs and chicks which we found at the fields, the correct rule of the many games we played, whether the finish line was touched before the player turned back and so on.
One day Onol’s ball broke into two as we had been playing with it for a long time. Onol was very angry at the batsman who hit it that hard but did not say anything. We had been playing cricket for a while now and the gang had been playing with his equipments all this while. A few of the players showed their talents in batting and almost everyone of us could do a decent round hand before hurling the ball at the opponent.
The guy who broke the ball was a promising batsman of our ‘to be’ team & was respected for his batting abilities. He could hit the ball higher than anyone of us and the loose bowlers never dared to bowl him. After he broke the team’s (Onol’s) rubber ball, the team had no ball to play with. Onol sat down in the middle of the pitch and refused to talk to anyone untill a new ball was returned to him.
We could not blame the batsman also because the team required his superior skills in the game for the future matches we were planning to play. A long discussion between the players as to who should return the ball to Onol did not come up with any results for a long time.
“I came late. I couldn’t bat today.”
“I think it is the batsman who should pay for a new ball, because it was he who was improved his skills in batting lately.”
“But since the start we all had been batting with the same ball. Everyone of us had played that ball.”
“I have an idea. Have you guys seen this tree.. Yes, we can cut its root it like a sphere to make a wooden ball for us.”
“Lets bring some fruit balls from tomorrow! A fruit that grows at my backyard can be used as balls. The green ones would be good balls and nobody eats that fruit.”
“Its so sour when ripe!”
“But Onol has to be returned a ball, anyhow. A ball from the shop.”
We were not reaching any decision when Rajan suggested about making a contribution to buy Onol’s ball. “Till we collect the money to buy a new ball we con continue with our fruit balls & root balls”, he said. Everyone agreed at the idea. Infact, our thoughts reached a step ahead at the solution provided by Rajan. Now the question was how much contribution should each player make to get a new bat, a ball and other accessories required to play cricket? Onol joined in the conversation after he was sure a ball would be replaced to him. He was ready to take his cousin’s can help to solve the team’s problem. We did not know a lot of things about cricket gears and hence might get fooled at the shop. Some guys suggested that the whole team goes to the nearest town to check the cricket gears themselves. By evening that day, Onol the captain, decided that everyone should come with ten rupees the next day as contribution towards the team fund.
For the next few days, till everyone contributed their share, our balls had been green sour fruits. Each player brought a number of such fruits for bowling and by the end of the game, the field would resemble a fruit-war zone, with broken fruits littered around everywhere, echoing the many boundaries and sixers of the game. Then somebody introduced the root ball, which made a loud and audible crack when it hit the bat. But a number of players got injured as we were not using any kind of protective clothing on our bodies.
It was not long when the team had its own bat and a number of balls bought from the contributions. Onol got a new ball and he took leadership of the new team.