Those were the pre-liberalization days when Television or Telephone or, Scooters were for riches. In our village, we had a family with a television. They also had a battery backup. After all, electricity was scarce too.

Those days, Sharjah Cricket tournaments were hot. By some magic or betting, India and Pakistan would always end up in the finals. I was living in my village with my grandma those days. And like everyone else, cricket was a religion for me. We had early dinner and, we were at Ramesh Kaku’s (uncle) house. We had our spot on the chattai(mat) in the verandah. Most village elders men were there. The place smelled like a bus stand with paan, bidi, hookah, and tobacco smells all around.

Ramesh Kaku(uncle) owned the television. He returned after retiring from the Army. His mustache reminds me of a pigtail, an angry man, high on spirits from the army canteen.

India won the toss and elected to bat. After the first 15 overs, it felt we were in a commanding position. We had lost no wickets. We had runs too. Every single run scored was cheered up. Some of us would scream, stand up and do a parallel commentary, advising players. Our elders would tell them to sit and enjoy the game.

After four hours of a nail-biter, India lost. My impulsive cousin Mahesh went and broke the television screen. A cloud of smoke with a smell was all around us. We were all speechless.

We had the sadness of India losing. Now with the television screen gone, another pain. Ramesh Kaku shouted, maro maro (beat him) and, Mahesh got a thrashing. He was laughing, not sure it was bhang or sadness of money he lost in betting.