A new passion can drive one crazy at times
When the tennis bug bites, few can resist the temptation of an early morning game. But the first time I stepped on the court I was under duress, for my friend had threatened me that if I did not turn up the next morning he would throw a tantrum.
The designated time was the utterly unearthly hour of 5.45 am. It must have been divine intervention that woke me up early enough to make it that day, for despite his threats I was reluctant to comply. Having decided to take the plunge, there I was racquet in hand, at the ready to receive service.
The months to follow have seemed like a whirl, and by now I am totally hooked on to this exciting pursuit. Having learnt a few basics about volleys, smashes, lobs and such stuff, I now look upon myself as something of a Roger Federer, whose artistry knows no bounds, of course.
The aforementioned friend who has been a regular partner since that fateful day thinks no less of himself and scoots about the court with the intensity of a Rafael Nadal. Our encounters are thus fiercely contested; no quarter is given, none asked for!
So enthusiastic are we about our tennis that if one of us goes off on tour or some such thing, the other is left feeling quite morose at the prospect of having to play with lesser mortals. Federer no doubt feels the same way when he spots unequal competition at the other side of the net!
Our battles on court have become so heated at times that we tend to overdo the athleticism bit in an effort to get that ball over the net one more time. We forget for that fleeting moment that we are on the wrong side of 40 in years and not on the right side of 20. Aches and pains are thus the norm rather than the exception. Neck stiffness and back aches being almost usual occurrences for us, we now yearn for a more fashionable affliction like a ‘tennis-elbow’ to prove that we are real pros by now.
Having learnt that top players routinely suffer from tennis-elbows and that Sachin Tendulkar even got one while playing cricket, I in particular decided that I must bag one! That would really prove my worth as a tennis player, I figured. After all, dozens of people are in the know about my new passion. Early morning walkers regularly catch a glimpse of me in my shorts rushing towards the tennis-arena. There has to be some sort of trophy for me to show-off for my efforts, I figured, and what better than a top-class tennis-elbow!
Thus I stretched myself to the limit and lunged for balls that even Bjorn Borg would have left alone in his hey-day. To no avail, alas! The tennis-elbow eluded me for weeks and I felt really disheartened. Providence had some succour in store for me though.
One fine morning I was running late for the 5.45 am deadline and was in a rush to wear my gear. Feeling sleepy and not noticing that the metallic towel-rod on my right was uncomfortably close, I pulled my tee-shirt on with a jerk and my elbow crashed dramatically into the said object with a thud. ‘Ouch!’ was the only word that I could pronounce at that moment. I had to call up my partner to tell him that I had been laid low and was in no condition to play that day.
On having applied an ointment over the affected part, I had a most unusual brain wave. The elbow injury had after all been caused by tennis, albeit indirectly. I thus flaunted my ‘tennis-elbow’ all over town for weeks thereafter, finally feeling like a hot-shot tennis-ace!