ALFRED SATISH JONES

THE ‘MADAGOO’ ACADEMY OF CRICKET

I was in 7th standard when I was selected to my high school’s cricket team. Naturally enough, it was the happiest day of my life. A moment of quintessential bombaat to be sure.

The news of my selection was delivered by my school’s PT master—and I know I can’t (shouldn’t, rather) use his real name so I’ll just call him UR.

UR, up to that point, wasn’t exactly my favourite person in the world. He verbally abused us every chance he got especially during Saturday mid-morning drills. To wit:

* “Lo kothi, ninnanna yaaro yelnay claas-ige paas maadidhu? Leftoo andre yedagaalu kanole, idiot!”

* Or the ever popular rhetorical question: “Nimmappa amma yaak school-ige kalustharo ninna? Sumne manelidhu katte kaayakke laayak neenu.

This was pretty standard stuff as I’m sure you’ll agree.

Anyway, the first day of cricket practice was a Wednesday. We got done with classes at 3:30 pm. My classmate (who was also selected) and I pedaled over to the cricket ground a short distance away.

The rest of the team, i.e. the chaps from 9th and 10th standards, showed up a half-hour late. We were told to help carry the mat onto the field. In short, we were cricket coolies.

The stumps were pitched. The practice batting and bowling orders were announced. We were not present in either one. So I assumed I was part of the unannounced fielding order and stood at point because no one was standing there. I was asked, sorry, told, to go and do byes keeping.

It dawned on me that the seniors of this team had had no creative input in UR’s decision to select us lowly 7th standard guys. And they didn’t think much of the idea.

My classmate and I (he was doing byes keeping on the leg side) exchanged looks. The looks said, “I hope no one from our class stops by to watch cricket practice today.”

After all our seniors had batted, bowled and humiliated us it was almost time to wrap up. And that’s when UR showed up. “Yenappa, yellaroo battingoo bowlingoo maadidhraa?” The captain (bastard!) said “Yes sir. Yellardoo practice aaithoo.

And then UR did something he wasn’t supposed to. He looked at me and my classmate and asked, “Yenraiyaa, yengithu practicoo ivathu?

I blurted out, “Namige batting siglillaa sir.

And right there, at that moment, my chances of ever playing for the school team while I was still in 7th standard thudded softly into the grass.

UR took charge. “Neenu pad maadkolaiya. Naan practice kodistheeni. Lo baddimaklaa”—this to the rest of the team—“banro svalpa bowlingoo fieldingoo maadrappa ivribbarge!

So, having only played tennis ball cricket up to that point, I put on pads for the first time in my life. They were too big for me. When I walked, the top of the pads slammed into my stomach.

The old style belt and buckle pinched my ankes, calves and at the back of the knees. Still in the process of padding up, I picked up this plastic cup that I knew, in theory, to be the (then euphemistically called) abdomen guard. It had no straps whatsoever. So I did a little bit of 3D mental manipulation to figure out how I was supposed to rig this contraption so it would protect my, you know, abdomen.

Out of my own sense of modesty I’ll omit the rest of the details. Suffice it to say however, that after I’d put on the abdomen guard, the only way I could walk was with my legs spread wide – like a Dasara Kesari pailvaan approaching his next victim at the beginning of his kusthi match.

I walked up to the stumps. Legs spread wide (for aforementioned reasons), I took my stance. UR had ambled up to point to get a closer look at his two new junior players.

My other classmate, in the process of padding up behind slips, was holding an abdomen guard with the same quizzical expression on his face that I had a few minutes ago.

One of my seniors ambled up and bowled one short on the off. All I saw was a whistling flash of red. Mustering all the strength I could—“MADAGOO!” yelled UR from point—I heaved the bat and swung.

Missed completely. Got turned around because of the momentum of the bat. Ended up, facing square leg (and what seemed like) a lifetime of embarrassment.

UR delivered the coup de grace, “Neen hodioyoshtralli, naan canteeng hogi cawpee kudkond bandhbidbodhu kanaiya.

And that was when, for the rest of my life, I fell in love with cricket. Thumba thanksoo, UR.

**

HOW KARADI WIPED KARNATAKA OFF THE MAP

It began innocently enough. Our antsy 21-month-old kept going to the stereo saying gaane..gaane..gaane.

In tones that would have melted gatti tuppa, I tried some gentle linguistic coercion, “Chinna, haadu beka magane?”

As you can probably tell, my family is multilingual.

My missussoo is of Punjabi plus Hindi descent. And linguistically speaking, I am a kantri naayi with Kannada, Tamil and Telugu in my background.

However, suffice it to say, it is Kannada that puts the k in my kantri naayi.

Anyway, like all expat Indian parents, we had picked up tonnes of children’s books, CDs, DVDs/VCDs etc on our last India trip. You know, to yexpose our little guy to Indian culture and all that.

Clear so far? Good.

Back to our 21-month-old. Where was I? Right. Chinna, haadu beka magane?

The little guy looked up with an expression that said, “Gaane, haadu whatever man! Put the CD in and let’s have at it”.

So I reach over into the pile of Indian culture, recently unpacked, and finger a plastic case that said:

Indian Rhymes for Indian Kids – Karadi Rhymes (Book I) Featuring Usha Uthup

Marvellous, I thought. I slid the CD in and turned up the volume.

The first song started with a pulsating beat punctuated, very subtly, with plucked cello and violin. Dhum, dhum, dhum…and then the lyrics swooped in:

My name is Madhavi

I’m from Alleppey

(insert snippet of Mohiniattam music here)

I speak Malayalam

But I’m just like you

Usha’s pronounciation and enunciation were spot on. The background music was delicate. Evocative. Expressive.

Appa and maga were both grooving to it now.

Next came:

My name is Natwar

I‘m from Srinagar

(insert snippet of Ajmeri-specific music here)

I speak Urdu

But I’m just like you

Naaaaaice. This wasn’t bad, not bad at all. I checked the composer.

Three Brothers and a Violin the dust jacket said. Excellent job gentlemen!

So, on the song went. Next came Subrata (pronounced Shubrata), from Kolkata, asserted that she (he?) spoke Bengali and was just like us. Very good.

Next came Vasundhara, from Vadodara, spoke Gujarati, emphasized her overall similarity to the listening audience and off she went.

Then came Shamsher, from Ajmer, informed us that he spoke Urdu and toodled off. Righto.

Next came Arundhati (pronounced Arundhoti, mind you) from Guwahati, she spoke Assamese but was just like us.

Got it?

Moving on.

Then came Benjamin, from Panjim. He spoke Konkani and (my oh my) was like all of us too.

I was getting a little impatient. C’mon, let’s get to the good part. Where was the land of Gundappa Vishy, Dravid and Churumuri?It wasn’t to be.

Along came Ranimai, from Chennai, said she spoke Tamil and buzzed off. Whatever.

In came, Jaswinder. From Chandigarh. (Insert obligatory Bhangra snippet here.) Reported he spoke Punjabi and pushed off. Followed by Madhuri, from Ratnagiri, who spoke Marathi but was just like–yeah, yeah I know, just get on with it.

I was downright pissed at this point. If the next chap wasn’t a Siddalingeshwara or a Dakshina Murthy or a Raghavendra of some sort, this CD was going to get it. But the impudent thing ignored me and went on.

Jamshedji. From Panchgani (where the hell is that!). He spoke (duh) Parsi but was, you know, just like you.

This had to be a conspiracy. I looked for the lyricist.

Aha, the smoking gun!

Shobha Vishwanath, the dust jacket said. Sounded like a Tamilian (hey, I wasn’t being very rational here ok) who’s gone up and over the Vindhyas but kept her sense of South India-is-nothing-but-Tamil Nadu-with-a-few-backward-tribes around it.

Teeth clenched, I thought, ‘One last chance for you Shobha my dear’… and kept listening:

My name is Bindiya

I’m from India

(Insert Vande Mataram instrumental here)

I speak Hindi

But I’m just like you

And the lovely music paused, quavered and faded out. I was beside myself. Sputtering in helpless fury. What the hell! I looked down at my son. He was happily skipping along humming to himself.

I breathed in. Breathed out.

Something inside me said, ‘No point getting upset over this buddy.’ I kindly requested the baddimagandh-something to shove it. And sat down.

The missuss, the ultimate expert at good timing, asked, ‘Sweetie, didn’t they have anything from your State?’

You could have cut the ensuing silence with a machu and have a tanglu-silence left over for tomorrow.

I looked at her. Then I looked at her some more. I thought I was doing a darned good job of projecting my ice-cold fury.

In response, she smiled her radiant smile and said, ‘Aaaaaw. You poor thing.’

Some day, some *$&#%$ day, women are going to figure out that their cutesy pity directed at male partner in lovey-dovey tones, when said male partner is having a temper conniption, doesn’t quite do the trick.

Not today. Some day.

I sighed. And raised my head and belted out:

My name is Parvati

I’m from Panchvati

(Insert instrumental of Shivappa Kaayo Tande)

I speak Kannada

BUT I’M NOT LIKE YOU!

11 Responses to “ALFRED SATISH JONES”

  1. Mysorean Says:

    THat recount regarding cricket was worth a billion dollars! A junior of yours from CFTRI says hi!

  2. sudhir rao Says:

    cmon mr jones! get behind the spirit of the song will ya? my heart just melted away on hearing track #11 – repeat of track #1 with the kids singing this time. now tell me, what hope do i have in expecting a
    “my name is shivanna,
    i’m from udupi,
    i speak tulu,
    but i’m just like you!”

    cheers!
    sudhir

  3. Sanjay Joshi Says:

    Lo Satisha, I enjoyed both these articles kan-la. And getting back in touch after enu, ippath varsha? Reminded me of our old days in Gokulam kano, skating around on 7th Crossu, playing bugri (Mysoor Opeeto and Talavari Pass), Tikki, Gilli Dhaandu, Lagori… those were the day le..

  4. karnataka lover Says:

    shoba must have been a tamilian.

    your piece was fantastic.i felt the same way reading your account.but sudhir has queered the pitch.point to ponder.

  5. Cricket, CFTRI and Mysore | Mysorean Says:

    [...] Picked this one up from here. We (the original author of this write-up and I) are from the same school. The Get-together of which I missed and wrote about that here. Anyway, let’s get to this one now. I was in 7th standard when I was selected to my high school’s cricket team. Naturally enough, it was the happiest day of my life. A moment of quintessential bombaat to be sure. [...]

  6. N.S. Manjunath Says:

    Satish avare,

    Please write more soon! I laughed my head off while reading ‘The “MaDagoo” Academy of Cricket’. Reminds me of my DMS (Demonstration Multipurpose School) Mysore school days we had PT teachers ‘Tinga’ (sadly no more) and SBK face off for the ‘mind-share’ among students. Any DMS boys and girs here in this forum from 1973-1977 vintage?

    On a different sport, Football actually, I once went to watch ITI vs Mohun Bagan or East Bengal (can’t remember now–it was in 1978-79 thereabouts) at the ole KSCA stadium, Bangalore. And Babu Mani was the famous footballer from Bangalore then and there was a buzz of excitement to see the local lad play. After the game started, the locals gamely cheered the local lads but very soon they got bored. In between popping kadlaikai and batani, and puffing beedis, I could hear one local wag say, “Awan akkan *@*@*@!!@, yaar guru yevinige ondh laksa kodthaa awarey Kalkathhadhalli.” Then another, ‘Anna’ piped in, “Aaata illa Guru Manigey; sumney yella stunt bidthawaney,” And sure enough Mani was disappointing that day!

  7. Ranjan Saha Says:

    Passed out from DMS in 1974.
    Played cricket and hockey for school.We won the inter school competition in 1974 beating Mahajanas in cricket and were runners up in hockey to Ramakrishna Mission.
    We reached the semifinals of the B.T. Ramiah shield state school cricket in 74. Winston Wesley(Churi )was the captain.SBK was team manager.

  8. Harish Says:

    Hi Manjunath and Ranjan
    I,m DMS batch of 1982.
    Recently connected up with lots of old classmates and feeling nostalgic. Good old days in DMS

    Harish

  9. Dr Prasad G N Says:

    I am DMSite 1977 to 83. wonderful days were those. when I was in year 10 in 1982 Indem was conducted. fantastic days. It was in the same year TNG [ affectionately called tinga shockingly demised ]. We used to paly ball badminton in the assembly hall after 5 PM. HSS maths teacher used to lead the team. I remember pocketing potassium permanganate crystals from chemistry lab to play holi. Having afternoon lunch at the front of the school sitting between the pillars are still fresh in my memory. There was a tree to the right of the front of the school which was small but was in the shape of umbrella underneeth which we used to gather and gossip about our teachers. Football ground and volleyball pitches still haunt my memories. Ground floor corner class room close to the toilet was our class room and I was caught once listening to the cricket commentary when Gavaskar scored 205 runs against westindies kalicharan team and was thrown out the class by BJB maths teacher. those lovely days……… My first infatuation……….. I cant forget DMS

    Dr Prasad G N

  10. Sangameshwaran aka Shankar Says:

    DMSite from 74-79(8-12 gr.). Brings back memories..TGS-principal always beginning with “We the faculty & students of D..M.. School, affiliated to NCERT, Indraprashtha Marg New Delhi….etc..” still rings a bell. GPB, HKR, HSS, KSS, ShK, NP, NRN, SJP on and on..

  11. Sharath Adavanne Says:

    Doddovrge Namskra! :D

    I’m a recent pass out from DMS, Mysore. 2006, 12th batch.

    Thrs a DMS,Mysore Facebook Group: http://www.facebook.com/masthmysore#!/group.php?gid=14838744303

    and also a DMS Mysore alumni website: https://sites.google.com/site/dmsaam/

    see you thr.! :)

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