This is from my younger days spent in Jamshedpur. It must be between the year of 1982 – 1985. Summertime use to be the best time for us kids. Away from the study books and homework. Doing whatever we wanted to do. Playing games with friends, riding bicycle to visit other friends, spending time under a shady tree, talking endlessly about the things we want to do, places we had been, persons we met.
I had my own group of friends, from the same locality, most of them living in the same area, few of them were from the school. We shared same likings, passion about football, riding bicycle, flying kites, reading comic books was the best one. Our comic books use to circulate among ourselves. Few friends use to be so possessive of their collection of books. Playing continuously under the harsh sun was never a problem for us. After a game of football, we would get exhausted and get rest in the shadow of the club.
This club use to open in the evening hours only. It was a sports club for boxers. South Park boxing club they use to call it. In the evening if we do not have much to do. We used to hang around the boxing club and watch the boxers getting warm up exercises.
My best friend was Bobby. Two of us use to like watching these boxers do skipping exercise. Skipping was the special treat to watch. They used to skip so fast; you cannot see the skipping rope when they are at the work. All you can hear the sound of the rope; it uses to sound like birds chirping away…I can still here the skipping rope making that same sound. It was fascinating to look at these boxers and carry on with their exercises. Since we were young, we were not allowed to enter the club. But the clubs wall was made of bricks.
I still remember those red bricks, with holes in between them, just like honeycomb. It was like, specially made for us. Because from there you could see the boxing ring. The best place to watch the practice bouts. The coach uses to be the referee and he would coach them as they get on with the fight. He would give them feedback after the fight as well. Coach was a well-built 6.5 ft tall man, with strong jaw lines, well-muscled arms and biceps. One could very well see; he had his fights in his time.
That summer one new boxer joined that club. His name was Lucky. Lucky was elder to us, must be in the age group of 20-25 years. He was a well-built lean boy. But under the coach he started to develop into a mean boxer. He was into the middle weight category. He was quick on his feet and his fists could move like lightning. His sparring practice was a delight to watch. No wonder, we started making those move in our privacy. With our fists up guarding our chin and hopping on our feet just like boxers do. We tried to have couple of fights between us.
We continued watching the boxing practices from the honeycomb wall. Then one day the coach called us and told us. There is a national level boxing competition is organized, would you kids be interested in watching? I can give you all a season pass, five of you can come each evening. We were so delighted, we told him yes, we will come.
Then came the competition date. All of us went to watch the game. To our surprise, Lucky was also participating. He had a bout with one boxer from Punjab. The boxer from Punjab was also well built and looked very strong. We were doubtful that Lucky would be able to win this. As the match progressed, we saw Lucky was giving tough fight to this boxer from Punjab. We got very encouraged and started backing up Lucky with our loudest cheer. We noticed only few of us were cheering for Lucky, most of the crowd was cheering for the boxer from Punjab. But we did not gave up, we cheered Lucky for each point he won. We could sense he is able to hear our cheer also and notice us. By the end of the match, the win was to be decided on the point. As the match was very close and the boxer from Punjab won that match.
Lucky acknowledged the crowd from all sides and waved to us as a special acknowledgement. We were so happy we cheered for our own local hero.
Next day, we all had sore throat after so much of yelling. After the competition, one evening we again went to the club as usual. We met the boxers and the coach. Discussed about the competition and the games played. Lucky came to us and thanked us for cheering for him. He said it helped him to keep coming back into the game. That was a big moment for us.
After few days we heard, Lucky is leaving the town. We ran to meet him. He told us it is true. He is leaving the town. He has got a job offer with a very good company. The company selected him on the basis of the fight he put up at the national boxing competition. It was moment of celebration but also a moment of separation. We came back with mixed emotions. That was last I saw Lucky ever.
Reflecting back now after so many years about this time of my life. I can correlate with the human behavior, courage and motivation. In our life also, when we face big challenges, big fights, we get scared. Then we need such fans, such backing from our people. Every little encouragement counts. Word of encouragement from our superiors, encouragement from peers, encouragement from family members each one counts. It’s equally true, if receiving encouragement is important. Encouraging other people is equally important. In our life, we must encourage others whenever we get the opportunity. The human relationship needs such behavior. Whether it’s your personal relationship or a professional relationship.
Remember, your words are always important. It’s important to watch what you say. Because when your words land on someone’s ear, you never know how it is going to affect him. Whether your words will make him or break him. So choose the words you use carefully.