Christmas came and went. Didn't even feel it. Worked till 10pm. Three days later, after a massive lovely Mallu lunch - pork, mutton, rice, bread, kachimur, veggies, plum cake - and just being welcomed at a house I'd never been to, and sitting around with people I had never met except for two, brought back memories of my youth. The days of getting up at the crack of dawn to see how many presents were under the tree, and whether Santa had drank the milk and cookies. The stockings with peanuts, Snickers, Cadbury's, Reeses, bubblegum and an orange in them. Hot cocoa by the tree. The nativity set on the mantelpiece. Christmas cards. That massive brunch. Family. Christmas carols. Snow.
We each have our field of dreams. The space where we first really took to cricket, where we played the game because we just loved the sound of ball (rubber, tennis, cork, whatever) on ball, where we could square-drive like our heroes (Dravid, for me) and mimic bowling actions and try our hands at legspin or left-arm pace and try to intimidate and flourish, and where we could - for an hour, a day - escape the drudgery of school and chores. Maybe it was a parking lot or a sandlot, a maidaan , an open field, a side street, a gulli , a stadium, an terrace. You know what I'm talking about. For me, that field was a beaten up, run down former tennis court tucked away between the magnificent deodar and handsome Indian Chestnut tree and sturdy Himalayan Oak and serene maple trees. A little piece of heaven where in days of yore British, American and Canadian missionaries spent sunny summer afternoons playing tennis and rounders but which by the time my buddies and I took over had withered