Friday, 21 March 2014

The striker


The carom coins waited for the last player to leave the room, before they continued their discussion.

“OK, where were we?” asked the white coin sitting pretty at the center of the board.

“There she is, left to brood at the center. Your guys could not pocket you” laughed the black one from the corner net where he lay buried under the other coins.

“I know, said the white one with a sad face. But never mind, you may end where I am in the next game”, she said cheering up in the end.

“Agreed. Until then give me the privilege of making fun of you, mate”, said the black one in a teasing voice.

“Hold it” said the queen. “Why is the striker sulking?”

The other 18 coins stopped for a while and turned their attention towards the striker.

The big ivory colored striker was sitting on the base line. His eyes seemed moist and it looked as if he was ready to burst into tears.

The mood on the table suddenly changes. All the coins, who hitherto were mocking each other and having fun, became serious.

“What’s the matter brother? Why are you looking so dull and disappointed?” asked the white coin from the center of the board.

The striker needed more cajoling to speak as she was not willing to budge from her position. One of the black coins rolled gently towards the striker and put his arms around her and nudged her to speak up.

The striker was only waiting for someone to do this before bursting into tears.

“Someone ask her to stop crying” said a while coin from the net.

“No. Let her cry. That will help” said the red coloured queen.

After a while, the striker stopped sobbing and she did feel better. She slowly spoke up.

“People use me to play games. In the end, I am neither rewarded with points, nor appreciated for the help that I do” said the striker, making her 19 companions think.

“What” exclaimed the black guy from the centre! “This is ridiculous. Why should you feel this way at all?” he felt that the striker was overreacting to the situation.

“Hold it” said the queen in a firm voice. “Nobody will mock anybody. The striker is hurt and tomorrow you or I may feel the same way. Then we don’t want the others to mock us or put us down. Behave in a coinly manner” she commanded.

“Ever thought of my position in a game?” the striker interrupted.

“Let me begin by asking you all one question. Can a board of carom be played if the striker is not there?”

“But if you thought that I was the key player and hence very pricey, you thought wrong. People use me to strike all of you. When you fall into the packet they give you valuable points. Though I am present from the beginning to the end, I cannot fall. They call it a foul and levy a penalty. When the game is over, the black, white and red count.  I am required only till the last coin is won” said the striker. Having said what she wanted to, the striker became silent once again. 

The queen rolled towards the striker and placed a wise hand over her shoulder. “You have the power to strike us and direct us towards our goal. You are responsible for our victory. While each of us gain points at the end of the game, your worth is all our points put together” said the queen earnestly.

By now the black coin understood the situation in its entirety. He spoke up his mind and in a very calm tone said, “As a striker, you help us beginning a game and keep it going, but once the game is over, your role as far as that game is concerned, ends. But that does not make you less wanted when a new game begins."

Cheer, like the rising sun, brightened the ivory striker! 

As a striker you help usin beginning a game...


Story Idea: Anuradha Aripirala. 

Anu is a creative artist, passionate painter and above all a wonderful human being. 

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