REVIEW · Selection Day: A Novel (English Edition)


Selection Day A Novel English EditionSelection Day THREE YEARS BEFORE SELECTION DAY Eighth Standard Ive got news for you Tommy Sir And Ive got news for you Pramod You see when Selection Day Kindle I was twenty one years old which is to say before you were even born I began working on a history of the Maratha campaign at the third battle of Panipat It had a title the soul breaks out of its encirclement Because I felt that no truthful account of this battle had ever been written All the histories say we Marathas lost to the Afghans at Panipat on January Not true I mean it may be true we lost but its not the true story Tommy Sir there is a younger brother too He also plays cricket Thats my news Pramod I am sick of cricket Talk to me about battles onions Narendra Modi anything else Dont you understand Tommy Sir You should have seen the younger brother bat today at the Oval Maidan You should have Hes nearly as good as his big brother Darkness Mumbai The bargaining goes on and on And you know just how good the elder brother is Tommy Sir You said Radha Krishna Kumar was the best young batsman youve seen in fifty years Fifty Pramod there hasnt been a best young batsman in fifty years in the past fifty years I said best in fifteen years Dont just stand there help me clean up Bend a bit Pramod Youre growing fat Behind glass and steel behind banks and towers behind the blue monstrosity of the Bharat Diamond Bourse is a patch of living green the Mumbai Cricket Association MCA Club in the heart of the Bandra Kurla financial center Floodlights expose the clubs lawns on which two men scavenge I ask you Pramod since you insist on talking about cricket what is the chance of elder and younger brother from the same family becoming great cricketers It is against Nature You distrust sporting brothers Tommy Sir Why Mistrust Pramod Pick up that plastic for me please A master of English cricket and grammar alike Tommy Sir You should be writing for the Times of Great Britain Of London Sorry Tommy Sir Sucking in his paunch Pramod Sawant bent down and lifted a plastic wrapper by its torn edge The younger brother is called Manjunath Kumar Hes the biggest secret in Mumbai cricket today I tell you The boy is the real thing Chubby mustached Pramod Sawant now in his early forties was a man of some importance in Bombay crickethead coach at the Ali Weinberg International School runner up in last years Harris Shield Head Coach Sawant was in other words a fat pipe in the filtration system that sucks in strong wrists uick reflexes and supple limbs from every part of the city channels them through school teams club championships and friendly matches for years and years and then one sudden morning pours them out into an open field where two or maybe three new players will be picked for the Mumbai Ranji Trophy team But he is nothing if he cant get Tommy Sirs attention tonight No one knows what the real thing looks like Pramod Ive never seen it How can you tell This Manju is a real son of a bitch I tell you Hes got this way of deflecting everything off his pads lots of runs on the leg side Bit of Sandeep Patil bit of Sachin bit of Sobers but mostly hes khadoos Cricket sponsorship is a brilliant brilliant brilliant idea Now you can make it twice as brilliant Gray haired Tommy Sir taller and wiser than Coach Sawant kept his eyes on the lawn After thirty nine years of service to Bombay cricket they make me clean up like a servant Pramod After thirty nine years You dont have to clean up Tommy Sir You know it The peon will do it in the morning See I know Manju the younger brother is the real thing because if hes not then what is he A fake And this boy is not a fake I promise you Having completed a round of the cricket ground Tommy Sir had started on a second trash hunting circle within the previous one Pramod the idea that the boy has to be he bent down examined a stone and let it drop either real or a fake is a very Western piece of logic He moved on Do you know what the Jains say Pramod Seven varieties of truth exist Seven One this younger brother might in fact be the real thing Two he might be a fake Three the boy might simultaneously be the real thing and a fake Four he might exist in some state beyond reality and fraudulence that we humans cannot hope to comprehend Five he might in fact be the real thing and yet exist in a state beyond our poor human capacity to comprehend Six Tommy Sir Please I know what I felt in my heart when that boy was batting I know My dear Pramod Hockey is Indias national game chess best suits our body type and football is the future Two old stumps lay in their path Tommy Sir picked up one and Sawant pretended to pick up the other Football has been the future for fifty years Tommy Sir Nothing will replace cricket The two men walked the rest of the circle in silence and then Tommy Sir holding the stump against his chest started a third tour of the ground He spoke at last Pramod the great George Bernard Shaw said They havent spoken English in America in decades And I say about Indians We havent played cricket in decades At least since Go home now I am very tired I want to hike near Mahabaleshwar this weekend I dream of mountains Pramod Sawant fighting for breath could see only one piece of uncollected rubbish a white glove lying in the very center of the ground Clenching his fists he raced Tommy Sir to the glove and picked it up first A bit of Sandeep Patil meets a bit of Ricky Ponting You should have seen the boy today Are you deaf Tense muscles extended Tommy Sirs high forehead In Sunny Gavaskar lost the ability to leave the ball outside the off stump and since then weve been playing baseball and calling it cricket Go home He snatched the glove from Sawant Walking to a corner of the ground he let the rubbish spill from his hands in the morning the peon would move all of it into the storeroom As Sawant watched Tommy Sir got into an autorickshaw which began to move Then as if in a silent movie the auto stopped and a mans palm shot out and beckoned Loaded now with both men the auto left the Bandra Kurla Complex for the highway and then turned into Kalanagar where it stopped outside a mildew stained housing society Suffering Sawant to pay the driver Tommy Sir got out of the autorickshaw he looked up at the fourth floor of the building to see if his daughter Lata had left the lights on in the kitchen despite his telling her for twenty two years that this was against every principle of Home Science a wonderful subject which they once used to teach young women in every college in this country Tommy Sir pointed at the sky over his housing society The full moon was balanced on a water tank Pramod On a night like this you know the young people in Bandra just go crazy Out in the Bandstand those boys and girls walk all the way out onto the rocks sit down start kissing They forget that the ocean exists Slowly the tide comes in Higher and higher The old man raised his fingers to his collarbones All at once the young people stop kissing because they find themselves sitting in the middle of the ocean and they start screaming for their lives He paused Pramod what is the younger ones name Manju I knew youd agree Tommy Sir You believe in the future of this country Ill tell the visionary I mean the other visionary Pramod Sawant Now listen to me One this visionary of yours is probably just a bootlegger Second I like Radha Kumar but I dont like his father The Chutney Raja is mad I met him six months ago remember Now I have to deal with him twice over Thats the only negative point I agree The father is mad Tommy Sir blamed the full moon over the water tank for what he said next How much Sandeep Patil For nearly forty years now a tall gray haired man with small eyes had been seen at maidans school compounds gymkhanas members only clubs and any other place where boys in white uniforms had gathered All through the cricket season either at the Bombay Gymkhana or at Shivaji Park or at the Oval Maidan Tommy Sir would be watching hands on hips brows corrugated and yelling Greatshot Bow ling Duffer When he was angry his jaw shifted A boy scores a century in the sun comes back to the school tent expecting an attaboy from the great Tommy Sir but instead a thick hand smacks the back of his head Whats wrong with a double century He had broken many a young cricketers heart with a sentence or two Not good enough for this game son Try hockey instead Blunt Tommy Sir was given to the truth as some men are to drink Once or twice in the season he would take a batsman after a long and productive innings to the sugarcane stand on such occasions the boys stood together and watched with open mouths Mogambo Khush Hua Tommy Sir is pleased Not his real name obviously Because Narayanrao Sadashivrao Kulkarni was too long his friends called him Tommy and because that was too short his protgs called him Tommy Sir Like a Labrador that had been knighted by Her Majesty ueen of England Ridiculous He hated the name Naturally it stuck On the day before his marriage in July he told his wife to be who had arrived by overnight train from a village near Nashik six salient points about himself One this is my salary statement Read it and understand I am not a man meant to be rich in life Two I dont believe in God Three I dont watch movies whether Hindi Hollywood or Marathi Four likewise for live theatrical productions Five every Sunday when Ranji Harris Giles Vijay Merchant Kanga or any type of cricket is being played in the city of Bombay I will not be at home from breakfast to dinner Six one weekend a year I go to the Western Ghats near Pune and I have to be absolutely alone that weekend and six point two because seven points are too many for any woman to remember before I die I want to discover a new Vivian Richards Hanif Mohammad or Don Bradman Think about these six points and marry me tomorrow if you want Afterward dont regret I wont give divorce Educated man literary man man of many allusions His column on the traditions of Mumbai cricket was syndicated in sixteen newspapers around India Artistic man cultured man self taught painter His watercolor interpretations of black and white photos of classic test matches had been exhibited to universal acclaim at the Jehangir Art Gallery a few years ago Said to be working in secret on a history of the Maratha army in the eighteenth century Possibly the best talent scout ever seen in India Thirteen of his discoveries had made the citys Ranji Trophy team including Speed Demon T O Shenoy bowler of the fastest ball in the citys history plus during a six month stint in Chennai in the s he had uncovered two genuine rubies in the South Indian mud who went on to scintillate for Tamil Nadu cricket On his desktop computer were testimonials from nine current six retired and two semi retired Ranji Trophy players also signed letters of appreciation from the cricket boards of seventeen nations And all these people whether in Mumbai Tamil Nadu or anywhere else know the same thing Head Coach Pramod Sawant knows Somewhere out there is the new Sachin Tendulkar the new Don Bradman the one boy he has still not found in thirty nine yearsand Tommy Sir wants that boythan he wants a glass of water on a hot day Thereopposite Victoria Terminus Disappearing Manjunath Kumar ran down the steps toward a tunnel the black handle of a cricket bat jutting like an abbreviated kendo stick from the kitbag on his left shoulder Threesteps before he reached the tunnel Fact Stranger than Fiction Place a glass of boiling water in your freezer next to a glass of lukewarm water The glass of boiling water turns into ice before the lukewarm water How does one explain this paradox The eyes bulged in his dark face suggesting independence and defiance but the chin was small and pointy as if made to please the viewer a first pimple had erupted on his cheek and the prominent stitching on the side of his red cricket kitbag stated Property MKs o Mr Mohan Kumar Dahisar In his pocket he had fifteen rupees the exact amount reuired to buy peanuts and bottled water after the cricket and a folded page of newspaper Fact Stranger than Fiction Place a glass of boiling water in your freezer The smelly cacophonic tunnel was filled even on a Sunday morning with humanity hunting in the raw fluorescent light for sports shoes colorful shirts and things that could entertain children Fact Stranger than Manju worked his way through the crowd Mechanical toys attempted somersaults over his shoes To catch his attention two men stood side by side and slapped green tennis rackets against tinfoil setting off sparks Electronic mosuito killers Only fifty rupees for you son How does one explain this paradox Only forty rupees for you son In the distance Manju saw the flight of steps leading up to Victoria Terminus One half of the steps lay in twilight There must be a lunette over the entrance of the tunnel clouded over with one hundred years of Bombay grime Thirty rupees is as low as Ill go even for you son But the upper half of the steps glittered like Christmas tinsel Emerging from the tunnel and about to cross the road to Azad Maidan he stopped Manju had spotted himthe boy whom he saw every Sunday but who wore a different face each time The average cricketer Today it was that fellow staring at the footpath as he dragged his bag behind him Wearing a green cap and stained white clothes Fourteen years old or so Talking to himself missed Missed by this much But the umpire blind And mad too From his side of the road Manjunath grinned Hello average cricketer This was the wreckage of the first match at Azad Maidanthis fellow who was half a foot shorter than he had been at am who was blinking and arguing with the air cursing the umpire and the bowler and his captain and their captain and growing shorter every minute because he knew in his heart that he had never been meant for greatness in cricket Hauling his kitbag off his shoulders and lowering it to the pavement Manju unzipped the bag and extracted his new bat He held the black handle in both hands and gripped tight And waited The average cricketer removed his green cap and raised his head and the eyes of the two boys met Manjunath Kumar showed him how to drive through the covers He showed him how to attack defend and master the red cricket ball After which like W G Grace he stood with his weight on the bat handle And then stuck his tongue out and rolled his eyeballs Across the road the green cap fell onto the pavement Good bye to you Prince Manju waved to the average cricketer and good byePrince Manju turned to his left then to his rightto all average things I am the second best batsman in the whole world Stop right there We were talking about you last night I said stop The silhouettes of the Municipal Building and the spiked dome of the Victoria Terminus struggled against the morning smog and the air in between them was scored by cable wires Blue smoke rose from the garbage burning in a corner Between the buildings and the burning garbage stood a fat man trying to catch Manjunath like a football goalie Come back boy Come back at once With a grin Manjunath surrendered and walked back to where Head Coach Sawant stood Did you hear what I was saying I said we were talking about you last night We means two people So who was the other man talking about your future Ask me Instead of which Manju drawing a hand from his cricket bag showed the coach something What is this Sawant asked as the boy handed him a disturbingly large page of the Sunday newspaper Please sir What is the answer Sawant took the paradox in both hands His brain struggled with high school physics and his lips with Newspaper English place a glass of boiling water in I have no idea Manju No idea at all Take it back Manju the coach said why have you brought this to cricket Is there no one at home you can show this to What about your My mother is away on a long holiday sir As Manju folded his precious piece of newspaper and tucked it into his cricket kitbag Sawant studied him from head to toe like a man wondering if he has made a bad decision Tommy Sir was the other man talking about you You know what it means if he takes an interest in a boy But Manju had flown Hey Manjuboy Come over here Twenty other young cricketers stood around a red stone roller with Tiger written twice on it They had been waiting for him Chutneyboy Look at the chutneyboy come running Chutneyboy who wants to be a Young Lion Come here It was a court martial A boy was holding up one of those new phones that were also tiny television sets and Manju was told to stand on the stone roller while the circle tightened around him As Manju rose above the circle of white Sawant hands on his hips walked around the stone roller for a better view The boys were making Manju watch as a woman reporter aimed a mike at a tall teenager handsome enough in every other way too but whose eyes cool gray clouds were like a snow leopards Chutney Raja Thats what they call your father Manju Chutney Raja You heard them on TV My big brother is a Young Lion Chutney Raja SubJunior All youre good for is your science textbooks What do you know about batting Thomas today Ill hit you for three fours one after the other Then Ill hit you for three sixes What did you say about my father Hes a Chutney Raja And what is your father then Your brother is Chutney Raja Junior That makes you YOUNG LIONS Join us in the uest to find the next generation of sporting legends You can see from these images that Radha Krishna Kumar has grown up in what some would consider less than ideal conditions at the very edge of Mumbai His father is a variety chutney salesman whose main business is his sons In his own words We have a family secret which makes us superior to every other cricketing family in the city of Mumbai There is a secret blessing given to my son Radha by the Lord Subramanya who is our family deity Secret from God Shit Your father really is mad Ashwin I heard that Two fours Mr Mohan Is it really true that your son got Sachin Tendulkar out in a practice match or is that just a story There is a saying in our language he who steals a peanut is a thief He who steals an elephant is also a thief This means we do not lie in matters big or small Radha Krishna clean bowled Sachin Tendulkar with his fourth ball This is true This really happened Shut up Chutney Raja SubJunior And why is your brother called Radha Isnt that a girls name Radha Kumar has the status of a superstar in his neighborhood We spoke to his neighbor Mr Ramnath seen here in front of his ironing stand Dahisar was famous they used to shoot films here before the river became dirty The moment I saw Radha when his father brought him here over ten years ago I told my wife this boy will make Dahisar famous again YOUNG LIONSMONDAY PM REPEATED ON WEDNESDAY Follow us on Twitter Enough Flailing his arms Manju scattered his tormentors from the stone roller time for real cricket at last SubJunior Get ready to bat O Champion of Champions A drumbeat had begun at the far end of the maidan Padded up helmeted and swinging his bat in circles over his head Manju walked up to the crease At noon he was still batting Manju Kumar had kept his word to the bowlers punishing each one of them in a different way for what they had said about his father and about his brother having a girls name lofting Thomas over mid wicket driving Ashwin twice through the covers and cutting pulling and flicking the others Pramod Sawant stood arms folded across his chest and watched Manju passing over the boys dark eye heavy face pointy chin and solitary pimple and then over his shoulders and biceps to settle on the crucial part of a batsmans body In Australia they bat with their footwork In India we do it with our wrists Manjunath Kumars forearms in action made his coachs mouth water Dark and defined cunning those forearms were broader than the biceps they were a twenty five year old mans forearms grafted onto the body of a four foot ten inch child they were forearms which as they petted coaxed and occasionally bludgeoned the hard red ball to the boundary made Head Coach Sawant remember with a shiver the muscular man in black shorts who had come to his village with the traveling circus three decades ago Thereshirtless on the floor of a suare foot box of brick Home Manjunath was back in the one room brick shed divided by a green curtain where he had lived since his father brought him and his brother to Mumbai nine years ago Pressing his palms against his cheeks the boy went over the newspaper once again One theory relies on the Lake Effect which is seen in the cold countries of northern America His cricket gear lay around him and he was stripped to his waist Manju saw shadows moving in the blade of light beneath the closed metal door of his home His father was outside answering the neighbors uestions When is Radha Krishna coming back Does he think he is too big now to talk to his own neighbors On the table there was dinner made by his aunt or possibly great aunt Sharadha The world was in order except for one scientific paradox A uick crust of ice forms over the lake keeping the water underneath it liuid all through winter Similarly when lukewarm water freezes a thin crust forms on top In a glass of boiling water in contrast evaporating steam stops the A clattering noise made him look up A vermin cavalry went galloping over the corrugated tin roof Rats rushing toward the flour mill in the center of the slum Manju turned on the television and increased the volume Reaching far behind the television set he picked up an instant noodle cup filled with dark mud in which two horse gram beans planted forty eight hours ago had sprouted New life fathered by Master Manjunath He looked at the tender shoots paternally spilled big drops of water from a glass into the pot and then returned the life bearing cup to its hiding place behind the TV The final image of the days episode flashed on television the cadaver of an American man lying naked on a green dissecting table under a cone of hard white light before the screen went black and the credits rolled Manju looked down at his own body That thing had started againhe was hard It was happening all the time now sometimes even when his father or brother were in the same room He lay down and pressed himself against the floor He wondered what color his cock had become under the pressure of his own body and then he felt that it was liuefying under the weight and spreading an icy liuid all around him Now he found himself on a frozen lake He was not alone here Beamed from the CSI inspection table the foreigners cadaver now lay in the middle of the lake Promoted to the elite suad of CSI Las Vegas Agent Manjunath Kumar Grissom crawls scraping the surface of the ice with his right toenail inching nearer and nearer to the naked dead body that he must retrieve but when he is almost there click crack the surface of the lake starts to break under him Whistles and cheers explode all aroundRa dha Ra dha for a Young Lion has just returned to the slum but Manju who must now go out and smile for the neighbors is still on the floor trying to crush his hard on An egret flew in from the river and watched the boy who lay above a well watching a turtle It was an open well the kind that still exists in a suburb like Dahisar raised three inches from the ground and covered by a rusty iron grille and as he lay facedown on it Manju watched something beneath the waters skin His legs made a V on the checkerwork of the grid which creaked as he shifted his weight Through its interstices he shone a pen torch down on the black water He lanced his beam of light around the well There Splashing out of the black water it came curiously to the light a dark and domed creature its limbs paddling fast Manju turned his pen torch off and put his face to the cold grille His heart beat hard against his rib cage which beat in turn against the metal of the grid In a few hours he would have his chemistry class He knew a surprise test was coming Which of the following is used to make bleach AHydrogen BHydrochloric Acid CSodium Phosphate DChlorine Please please help me O God of Cricket and also of Chemistry From the depths of the well a cool draft tickled his cheek the boys imagination transformed it into a breath from a range of blue mountains He felt his hair blowing in the breeze the mountain air of the Western Ghats Each summer the family went back to their village Taking the train from Mumbai to Mangalore they then got on a bus that carried them over the hills and toward the shrine of the God of Cricket their family deity Kukke Subramanya past trees with red leaves and little streams that skipped a heartbeat when a schoolboy leaped into them past waterfalls shrouded in waterfalls until they reached a temple hidden deep inside the Western Ghats where leaving the bus and standing in line for hours moving past burning camphor and sharp temple bells past a nine headed painted snake the protector Vasuki they finally came to the silver door frames beyond which lit by oil lamps waited the thousand year old God of Cricket Subramanya Remind Him my sons We cant offer Him much money So remind Him monkeys One of us should become the best batsman in the world and the other the second best Mohan Kumar had his own way of reminding God As he did each year he rolled bare chested over the hard granite floor of the temple rolled from one side of the wall to the other and then back again until his torso was lacerated and the secret contract was renewed in his blood Are you licking yourself again No Manju said Just watching Get up Manju didnt And now Radha lowered himself beside Manju and there were two bodies lying on the old metal grid over the well Lets go He must have woken by now Radha said Manju pointed the pen torch to a spot below them Its that turtle again Shes the mother Maybe Lets go home He may hit you again if hes in a bad mood Manju It is the mother Im not going till you agree that it is the mother I cant see it from here Manju Im showing you Im showing you Radha the Young Lion was suare jawed tall and muscular and was sometimes mistaken for Manjus uncle though there was just a year and a month between them He strained to see through the grating to where his younger brother was directing the pen torch beam See The mother Do you agree Then we can go Wait Manju Point the light over there I think theres oneThe pen torch moved A second turtle was discovered It raised its head toward its two human observers How fascinating it seemed to be saying to see the turtles that live in that bigger darkness up there Done it lost interest in the boys and sank back into the water Do you agree Thats the mother Then we can go Manjunath Kumar pressed against his brothers body the warmth sharpened his senses Suddenly a new turtle came into view its body angled toward the light jaw wide open a rim of gold glistening around its shell Manju youre wrong Thats the mother Its bigger Ive hidden it behind the TV Manju whispered What My biology experiment I want full marks in class this time Two months ago his model fighter jet plane a project for his physics class left on the dining table had mysteriously vanished after he had put four days of work into it Hes going to find it anyway and then hell throw it out Manju Come We have to go Hes woken up by now I want to watch the turtle Manju its not that morning I want to watch the turtle Manju its not a checkup morning his brother said Dont be afraid Radha poked his brother in the ribs And if you dont come now Ill show him where youve hidden your science experiment The brothers looked at each other for a moment then both bodies sprang from the well and ran Their father had already folded up their cots and propped them against the wall forming two isosceles triangles his own cot was on the other side of the green curtain Next to the dining table stood a metal almirah which complained of its years of ill treatment in a rash of rusty patches and livid scars leaning on three of its sides were seven cricket bats Old Sharadha relative of some kind aunt or great aunt polyglot remonstrator in Kannada Hindi and E.

Aravind Adiga Ð 1 REVIEW

Ld the father right now He turned to the investor Radha Kumar is the best batsman Ive seen in ten maybe fifteen years And he has the right background Because a middle class boy can no longer make the Bombay team You saw for yourself what that Javed Ansari did today He has everything money background pedigree but he will never make the team He comes to practice in an air conditioned car with nurse and driver Cant sit in the sun for five minutes This boy on the other hand this Radha Maybe you didnt hear me Mr Tommy The investor drew that magic suare again It was one of those moments when Tommy Sir realized his age A decade ago he would have got up and walked out at this point Having taken up painting many years ago as a way to calm himself when cricket related tension grew unbearable Tommy Sir now thought about his own watercolor copy of Vincent van Goghs Starry Night a reproduction which in some ways improved on the original and which he had framed and hung in his living room so that its stimulation direct or recollected would regulate his heartbeat and lower his blood pressure at moments precisely like this one If you want guarantees play Carrom And if you dont want the boys Tommy Sir looked the investor in the eye we will go to Reliance and Nike and the big boys Directly Relaaaaaaaax Anand Mehta smiled at the old scout I make an offer of four thousand rupees a month Four thousand Done Are we done Eight thousand Mohan Kumar said For one boy And fifteen thousand for both Two The investor broke into an incredulous smile Two Ive done plenty of charity in my time mate but I did not come here to make a donation Two Two is the opportunity Tommy Sir bunched his fingers together Two is the visionary aspect Listen Sport alone isnt enough today People want sport and a story I know because I am also a writer Two brothers from the slums making it big One of them looks like a film star Its a story Anand Mehta rubbed his mustache Maybe youre right he said As I often ask my wife Asha What are Indians To which I give the answer Indians my dear are basically a sentimental race with high cholesterol levels Now that its hunger for social realist melodrama is no longer satisfied by the Hindi cinema the Indian public is turning to cricket Brothers X and Y from the slums Playing cricket for Bombay I can see the potential I once donated a lakh of rupees to a school in the slum near Cuffe Parade back when I had just returned from New York You know what the Mumbai Sun did Called me a hero and printed my photo Page four But Brother Y is too young Voice hasnt broken yet Manju is almost fourteen Tommy Sir said In this city we throw boys out of the womens compartment of the train when they are seven and tell them go to the mens compartment Push and survive In sport there is not always a difference between a boy and a man What is cricket anyway Mr Mehta Game of chance Take two one may win Anand Mehta looked at the ceiling so sadly What is cricket Meaning no He was not taking two boys He pointed at one man and then at the other and asked Done So the scout put his large palms on the table and got to the point Doing well in Mumbai is nothing being noticed while you do well is everything There are competitions shields trophies prizes I have to get these boys into Theres a fine art to getting a boy selected in this city No guarantee but if I support a boy he is well supported Anand Mehta did not smile For all this work that I will do for the boys I dont want any money Mr Mehta Not one rupee But I have a simple uestion Mr Mehta Tell me what makes a great batsman great Hard work Sacrifice Mothers prayers Each is necessary yet all together are still insufficient Even I dont know It is a shroud before my eyes Believe me when I say I could be running a very profitable coaching academy for fat and rich mummys boys instead of which I am out here day after day in the field in the sun trying to solve this mystery of mysteries and find a great I mean great batsman The shroud must part and that is the only reason I Anand Mehta had other things to do with his life Ill compensate you a thousand a month for your time Tommy Sir Done deal The scout looked away Two thousand Final offer Plus I want a T shirt Tommy Sir said T shirt Anand Mehta frowned Yes Like the one youre wearing Manchester United Gold For Lata my daughter Everyone shook hands with everyone else they bought South Indian paans rich with clove and pulverized sugar and placed them on their tongues to close the deal before the sugar had melted Tommy Sir had disappeared At once Mohan Kumar caught the rich man by his wrist and said Finally I can open my mouth Revenge is the capitalism of the poor Conserve the original wound defer immediate gratification fatten the first insult with new insults invest and reinvest spite and keep waiting for the perfect moment to strike back Because every mocking remark that Mohan Kumar had heard about his plan to produce champions had been stored away in his keen memory he knew only one way of telling his sons he had secured their future for them Ive screwed a rich man my boys he said even though he had taken a liking to Anand Mehta He clapped his hands A man in a red foreign T shirt I flipped him over and screwed him royally Come and see His boys gathered around Mohan Kumar showed them a paper napkin from the MIG club which was covered with writing in a blue ballpoint pen A contract Until mountains fall and rivers dry this contract will be honored by Mohandas Kumar of Alur Taluka and Anand Mehta of Mumbai One third of all future earnings of my two sons Master Radha Krishna and Master Manjunath will be the legal property of Shri Mehta in return for his commitment to sponsorship May God fill our mouths with worms if either breaks this contract Isnt it beautiful boys Words are magic remember this Words are magic There is a man who comes to our village and with a spell and a secret poem he makes an elephant dance for him Today I made a rich Gujarati man dance for me At first he said No no I dont want Manju his voice hasnt broken but I said You will take Manju because I made two champions Yes he said and hes giving us five thousand rupees each month But I wasnt done Made him sit down and bought him a samosa and told him about this flour mill and how it pollutes the air until he said Oh terrible how terrible and then I said There are rats and stupid neighbors how can I raise champions hereso he gave us a loan interest free of fifty thousand rupees so we can get out of this hole boys To ahygienic location His words Screwed him Manju and Radha looked at the contract that guaranteed their future and the older boy asked But where are we moving to And when Mohan Kumar rubbed his hands and pointed one of his warmed palms at Radha Get ready for a checkup Manju stand outside Stand at attention Radha began removing his shirt Manju closed the tin door behind him and stood outside with his arms pressed to his sides like a soldier at a drill It was evening in the Shastri Nagar slum and men were returning to their homes after work their faces dark from fatigue glowed with the anticipation of seeing their children again There are times when only a sick man knows how warm and bright the rest of the world is Manju watched his neighbor Ramnath showing his daughter how to stack up a pile of fresh shirts and cover them in newspaper so that they could be delivered in the morning He strained his ears From inside the hut his fathers voice rose Are you thinking of shaving I can see in your eyes that you are thinking of shaving No Appa A boy mustnt shave until hes Twenty one Why must a boy not shave till hes Hormones Which are not good for Cricketers Tap tap tap On a coconut tree beside their hut Manju saw a woodpecker hammering away He thought at once of Mr JA with his beak nose Working with his beaktap tap tapthe woodpecker raised his enormous profile which looked like a tribal mask and disappeared only to reappear half a foot higher on the coconut stemtap tap tapbefore his dark face again vanished to rematerialize another foot higher as if he were ascending via masks In school Javed had invented a new look for himself these days by wearing his blue monogrammed cap backward like an actor in an American film Watching the woodpecker and thinking of Javed Manju smiled until he heard Radha pull up his trousers and promise to takescientific care of his cricketers body The tin door opened one brother came out and so the other had to go in Now safe Radha buttoned up his shirt looking at the dark sky he whistled He put his hands on his thighs spread his legs and walked like a duck To build strength on the insides of his thighs Mohan Kumar after minutely analyzing his older sons body had pronounced the uadriceps as the problematic area of Radhas athletic anatomy The brothers had exchanged their roles inside the closed tin door Manju was now the one making noisesoutside Radha eavesdropped Didnt you take off your shirt and chaddi out there while I was looking at your brother Sorry Appa Dont move Manju What are you doing Stay still You think youll insult me now You think youll treat me like Tommy Sir or Coach Sawant Sorry Sorry Sorry Sorry The boy shrieked from inside the closed tin door Outside Radha kept walking with his arms on his legs like a duck as his father had taught him conscious with every step of the need to build up his weak inner thighs and overcome the flaw in his otherwise perfect body Inside done with the teeth tongue forehead neck chest and stomach Mohan Kumar was checking his second sons particular area of recalcitrance his failure his refusal to take proper care of a sportsmans penis Pull the foreskin back each and every time you do number one each and every time you bathepull it all the way back otherwise it will become filthy and filth will become septic and well need to operate on it Which your father doesnt have money for Manju stood with arched back His father had moved his foreskin back scientifically and now touched him with a finger Manju felt his body splitting in two where his father touched He said something What did you say Mohan stared at his son Did you say Enough of this shit Did you Manju shook his head Certainly he had not said that So his father zipped him up weekly inspection done Leaning against the wall as his sons did their pre sleep stretching exercises Mohan Kumar made a call to his village in Alur to check on the status of a piece of ancestral land that was tangled in litigation the boys saw their father use his cell phone as if it were two parts of a walkie talkie placing it in front of his mouth when he spoke and transferring it back to his ear to listen Already in bed waiting for his father to turn the lights out Manju watched his elder brother dry himself and lie down in the bed next to his He watched his father stand by Radhas skull and whisper into it Go to sleep with one thought son What is that one thought That I should be the worlds best batsman Manju knew it was coming He stiffened his body then his father whispered into his skull And your turn Manju uickly so I can turn the lights off When the boy said nothing his fathers voice changed turning high pitched and whining fighting with his own father Complex boy Fighting with his own And he tickled Manju in the stomach until the boy gave in and said second best batsman and I love you I love you Manjus legs were still thrashing and his big powerful eyes were shining Because his fathers expert fingers were warming his tummy Angry with me Mohan said Stop Stop Youre angry with me Manju I look into your heart and see the truth No one has loved your poor old father in his life but you Manju and now even you fight with him Listening Yes I know you are The one thing I never had in life was a friend Manju A friend is someone who sees the best in you when everyone else sees the worst I never had that I only had you my second son to talk to At last the man was gone to his side of the green curtain and the world was uiet and dark but beneath their closed eyelids both boys were awake Did he touch your balls this time Radha said to the dark as his brother sniffled in his bed Yes Anything else No Thats all he ever does with me With you The same Just examines my balls and cock And lets me go But I hate it I hate it too Manju Radha said Were going to be rich soon You know this right He reached over and shook his brother Radha had been since the start of time chief consoler and psychiatrist to the worlds second best but most intelligent and most complex young cricketer Manju you know the first thing Im going to do with the money Buy you a bat And you know from where You know from where Radha gave his little brother a good shake You do know from where Every Sunday Radha took his brother to Dhobitalao the citys sporting euipment district full of shops glutted with fresh willow and lipstick red match uality balls covered in crackly cellophane There the two boys went window shopping from Metro Cinema all the way to a back lane where below a balcony with a red paper star from last Christmas and in between a store that sold golden sporting trophies and another that sold hard liuor in ml uarters like the starting and finishing points of the average Indian males trajectory in life was an open door that exhaled fragrant Kashmiri and English willow Alfredo Athletic Center Some men are handmade by God Manju felt and some are machine madeMr Alfredo for sure was machine cut With waxed mustache black bow tie and the halogen lights shining off his bald head Mr Alfredo would kindly open a glass case to show the brothers a row of his best imported bats kindly let them gaze at the best imported bats and discuss the best imported bats and on some days when in the kindliest of kindly moods even let them touch the best imported bats The moment they got that sponsorship cash Radha Krishna Kumar and the worlds second best batsman would wrap it in a handkerchief and run to Dhobitalao andand SG Sunny Tonny Radha tickled his brother Genuine English Willow Wombat Select World Cup Edition Yuvraj Singh Signature Edition Im taking your best imported Kindly Alfredoor your mustache Closing the door of his home behind him so his sons could sleep Mohan Kumar looked around made sure he was alone and by the light of a fluorescent street lamp slit open an envelope he had brought from the bank The first installment of the sponsorship money Five thousand rupees in fresh cash Rubbing the crisp notes between his fingers he mentally divided them into three piles One for the boys present cricket euipment one for the boys future savings bank and one pile for this was a man who honors his contracts for God to be dropped into His collection box at the Chheda Nagar temple He put the cash back in its envelope leaned against the door of his home and looked up at the night sky He dialed on a phantom phone waited till Lord Subramanya picked up in heaven then both imitating and mocking the way in which the Indian elite speak English told the God of Cricket Thank you soooooooo much thaaaaaaaaank you smuch Thank you soooo Just inside the forest stood an old arch made of red laterite No one knew who built this arch but this kind of stone was not found anywhere nearby and some people remembered that there was once a statue of a king on top of it After sunset people avoided this arch because elephants and wild boar were known to sleep under it but one boy was brave enough to go near it at night and he found the spot loud with bullfrogs and louder with the twinkling of the millions of stars against which the arch etched its black shape Sitting down on the forest floor he looked up at all the stars and felt himself a boy apart from all other boys in the world resplendent an uncrowned Adam Mohan Kumar had grown up in the poorest end of a poor taluk Ratnagirihalli in Alur in the foothills of the Western Ghats As a boy each morning at four he stood on the back of an open lorry that took him to a coffee estate There he signed his name in a long green register Then he cleared twigs dropped sunna from his forefingers in white circles around the plants and watered the bushes takingcare of the Arabica and less care of the Robusta At ten oclock the man supervising the estate paid him three and a half rupees and he climbed back onto the open lorry There was school for the rest of the day He learned to read and write This was something new for his family His dowry went up Sex with a prostitute out in the fields marriage to a girl from his own caste employment with the landowner who had hired his father pilgrimage to Kukke Subramanya in the mountains of the Western Ghats as soon as his wife fell pregnant All this was as it had been for generations in his family But one morning a neighbor yelled Who is going to pay for the window The window that had been broken by Mohan Kumars son in the most recent game of cricket Mohan looked at the broken glass and remembered what a boy in Mumbai had done to the windows in his neighborhood A boy named Sachin Tendulkar Now Mohan Kumar stood by passing trains and trucks and saw them in a different light He observed highways and mighty things in a different light He saw the sun high over the peaks of the Western Ghats charge from cloud to cloud like a soul in transmigration Mohan Mohanhow people laughed Why Mumbai Take your son to Bangalore to learn cricketits closer cheaper Bombay it had to be Mohan Kumar put his wife and Radha and his second son Manju into a bus and then into two trains before they descended into VT station in Mumbai to take a third train to his cousins small tin roofed hut in a slum in Dahisar that was famous for its mechanical flour mill which ground wheat early morning and red chillies late morning Anything I touch in Mumbai turns into powder like that flour mill makes Mohan wrote to his brother Revanna back in the village He had tried photocopying books binding them and selling them near the station the police arrested him and kept him in lockup for a night Ten lakh books are sold in black in Mumbai every day and he has to be put in lockup Big Thief Walks Free Small Thief Gets Caught A year later he discovered his wife was fucking a Christian man near the train station He waited for her and bolted the door behind her Never tell your mother lies never tell your wife secrets That was a golden proverb why had he ever forgotten it He made up for it with his hands Nothingthan a mans natural right but next morning the social workerssix of thembarged in and told him to stop hitting his wife or else go to jail again Can you believe what they do to a man in this city One night he returned home and found that she had run away with his money and his honor So he had nothing left he lay in bed and stared at the ceiling and thought I should just kill myself Get up Mohan a voice said Though there was no one else in the room he heard fingers snapping in the dark Why he asked The invisible fingers snapped a second time Because I say so Dont you know who I am Destiny I suppose he thought and rose and breathed in the crisp energizing air of crisis Taking the bus all the way to a spot in Bandra where one could observe the new skyscrapers of Prabhadevi and Lower Parel Mohan Kumar clenched a fist and held it over the kingdoms of Mumbai after closing an eye to perfect the illusion he brought his fist down on the city Except to grow a thin black mustachea statement he declared of protest against his ill luck with womenhe never complained he never again looked back he simply transferred all his hopes in life onto young Radha Kumar Old Sharadha came in every day to do the cooking She made chutneys from green mango lemon and raw guava and Mohan Kumar tried to sell them This meant that every day he cycled around Mumbai swallowing insultspungent than any chutney he took with him yet every night when he lay down to bed he could say Today my son has become a stronger and better batsman Mohan made Radha hold the cricket bat low down on the handle exactly as Sachin had done At the age of five he made Radha grow his hair long and pose with the bat for a black and white photo exactly as Sachin Bacchus haired had posed at that age At the age of seven he took Radha by train to Shivaji Park to listen to Ramakant Achrekar exactly as seven year old Sachin had been taken to sit at the great Achrekars feet to learn the science of batsmanship Around this time his second son also began to break windows when he was playing cricket Did you see how much money he had with him Are you awake You were snoring I was pretending to be asleep Just like you Did you see the money No I didnt see Manju you know what I did find on his cot the other day What Dirty magazines Manju You never saw these magazines Dont lie Appa has no dirty magazines Youre an innocent Manju Radha sat up in bed his younger brother was turned away from him Whatever youre thinking about Scientist dont keep it to yourself Only girls do that When Manju faced him his eyes were narrowed and a furrow cut into his brow dark and slanting noticeably to the left Radha remembered that the same flamelike furrow had appeared on their mothers forehead when she was thinking It was like a bookmark left there by the woman Manju looked at Radha When you become a famous cricketer and Im your manager do I have to give him all your money Ill kill you if you give him my money Its just for you and me Radha kicked the body beside him which kicked back and each knew what the other meant to say Let their father become old They would make him beg for every rupee they gave him Every Single Rupee Both of Mohan Kumars sons too were becoming entrepreneurs of revenge Selection DayMr Adigas third novel supplies further proof that his Booker Prize won for The White Tiger in was no fluke He is not merely a confident storyteller but also a thinker a skeptic a wily entertainer a thorn in the side of orthodoxy and cant Powerful SoulfulWhat this novel offers is the sound of a serious and nervy writer working at near the top of his form Like a star cricket batter Mr Adiga stands and delivers as if for days Dwight Garner New York Times The best novel I read this yearIn its primal triangle of rival brothers and a maniacal father hell bent on success in cricket in India Adiga grips the passions while painting an extraordinary panorama of contemporary sports greed celebrity and mundanity As a literary master Adiga has only advanced in his art since his Booker Prize winning The White Tiger Mark Greif The Atlantic Adiga seems boundlessly gifted once again He makes beautiful sentences creates wonderfully eccentric original characters and moves his plot along at a brisk pace Theres energy and wit on every page Adiga superbly captures the intimacy between the two brothers as they bicker tease and protect each other as Adiga explores themes of ambition failure homophobia and threats to freedom whether on a personal or national level he has produced a nearly flawless novel and further proof that he is among our finest contemporary novelists Carmela Ciuraru The San Francisco Chronicle Adigas wit and raw sympathy will carry uninitiated readers beyond their ignorance of cricketAdigas paragraphs bounce along like a ball hit hard down a dirt street One gets the general direction but the vectors of his story can change at any moment as we chase after these characters Selection Day evolves into a bittersweet reflection on the limits of what we can select Choice that most enticing Western ideal does not thrive everywhere euallyAdigas voice is so exuberant his plotting so jaunty that the sadness of this story feels as though it is accumulating just outside our peripheral vision Ron Charles The Washington Post Acompelling tale of cricket and corruption A finely told often moving and intelligent novel Adigahas grown in hisart since his Booker prizewinning debut The White Tiger The Guardian Adiga is an exceptionally talented novelist and the subtlety with which he presents the battle between Indias aspirants and its left behind poor is exceptional Richmond Times Dispatch Selection Dayis by any judgment top rate fiction from a young masterAdigas plot is gripping The Times UKAn engrossing and nuanced coming of age novel Adiga has succeeded in composing a powerful individual story that at the same time does justice to lifes and Indias great indeterminacies The Sunday Times UK Sunday Times UKSensually told and unpredictably plotted Adigas prose has a bustling energy that makes it highly readable The Financial Times UKAcaptivating and sensitive coming of age story that tackles various new themes the confounding nature of sexuality the darkness that accompanies excellence and achievementAdigas characters like his settings are gettingcomplex with each book and this complexity makes his indictment of the contemporary world all theurgent and convincing Times Literary Supplement UKA master class in integrating character and landscapePeppered with dashes of humor this dark and unflinching story is an unualified triumph Booklist starred review Brilliant raw energy ricocheting off of every line Publishers Weekly starred review A scathingly satiric novel of modern Indian lifeambitious smart spot on The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Captivating Harpers Bazaar A great read even if youre not a fan of cricket Bustle Adiga writes a prose of crazed energy bright color and acrobatic logic comical and searing Selection Day brings a family a city and an entire country to scabrous and antic life Michael Upchurch The Chicago Tribune Ambitious filled with smart spot on observations about the perils of growing up Mike Fisher The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Spiritedthe elements of Selection Day are strong throughout a dramatic readable arc satire glinting with hints of tragedy a witty vibrant voice Hamilton Cain The Minneapolis Star Tribune Wonderfully original Ru Freeman The Boston Globe Exuberant and incisiveEach sentence flickers like a match with life Adiga swoops in and out of his characters inner voices with frightening precision and speed laying out the paranoia obsessions tokens idols and self made prisons of each man in a few bright laserlike sentencesRichness and rot decadence and decay cricket and corruption These make up Adigas Mumbai Selection Dayasks Amidst all this is there any such thing as freedom Annalisa uinn NPR Many novelists are called Dickensian but Adiga comes closer than most albeit with every last speck of Victorian sentimentality suctioned out His characters are brightly and sharply drawn and animated with great energy reading about his Mumbai is like taking a double shot of espressoYou need not know anything about cricket in any of its variations to savor Selection DayIn fact you dont need to have any interest in sports at all Cricket serves Adiga as a marvelously flexible metaphor for the lost dream of civic integrity for tradition and authority for the contest that is life in a rapidly evolving economyClass is Adigas great theme and his depiction of its workings in India ranges from the fondly comical to the savage a ferociously brilliant novel Laura Miller Slate Mr Adiga writes with customary acerbity and astuteness Class resentment is the gasoline that fuels the brothers ambitions and gives this novel its noisy volatility The gritty urban realism that animated The White Tiger and Last Man in Tower is again on display Selection Daychurns with the same propulsive energy Sam Sacks The Wall Street Journal This is a novel with a broad sweep accomplished with commendableeconomy and humor in a sinewy compact prose that has the grace and power of a gifted athlete And it pulses with affection for Mumbai itself the effortless sociological dissection recalls Katherine Boos Behind the Beautiful Forevers Selection Day transcends sport This is a book about choice and destiny smothering family ambition and the pull of a young persons nascent identity Youre just going to have to trust me that the cricket is worth it Marcel Theroux The New York Times Book Review Energetic Adigas barbed prose deftly skewers Indias tangled religious and class dynamics and its literary stereotypes The New York.

REVIEW Selection Day: A Novel (English Edition)

REVIEW · Selection Day: A Novel (English Edition) ´ ❮Download❯ ➽ Selection Day: A Novel (English Edition) Author Aravind Adiga – Selection Day THREE YEARS BEFORE SELECTION DAY Eighth Standard Ive got news for you Tommy Sir And Ive got news for you Pramod You see when I was twentyNglish the only woman to have entered their home for a decade perhaps longer neither boy can remember exactly when She left was cleaning the stove and last nights dishes Standing before the mirror on his side of the green curtain Mohan Kumar was painting his mustache a grooming procedure that could take a uarter of an hour He turned around with his dye brush and looked at his sons Were you looking at girls again Naked girls bathing in the morning No Appa We were looking at turtles Boys Mohan Kumar said closing his eyes and restraining his anger If you are looking at naked girls half naked bathing girls tell me I will not punish But dont lie What were you two looking at Emerging with a pitch black mustache Mohan called his second son to him held his chin and turned his face from side to side Theres blood in your cheeks Manju That comes from hormones You were looking at girls werent you No Appa When Mohan Kumar raised his hand his palm rotated ninety degrees to the left and vibrated like a man having a fit just as he was saluting Manju cringed and readied himself the blow fell on the right side of his face In ten minutes the boys were in school uniform and had packed their cricket bags They stood at attention while Mohan slid his fingers into the bags to check their contents And then closing the door of their home behind them the family Kumar left for cricket practice When they passed the tire repair place with the sign saying PUNCHER SHOP Manju stopped and shouted Wrong thats wrong uiet Radha said But when he looked at his father Manju knew that he wanted him to continue He was proud of his son smarter than everyone else his age in the slum Do You Want Pan Card Manju raised his voice Pumpkin Carrot Banana Shapes Fruit and Vegetable Salad Decorators Pandal Marriage Birthday Experts Everything in English is written the wrong way and I alone know But Manjunath Kumar worlds second best batsman knew something muchimportant than how to spell English correctly Manju knew how to read other peoples minds It had come to him like one of those special things that some children can do like being able to move your ears without touching them or curling your tongue up as if it were a dried leaf or flexing your thumb all the way back If he let himself be still Manju could tell what other people wanted from him And he could complete their sentences for them He knew that this secret gift this mind reading power had come to him from his mother Her long elegant nose her ravishing smile her way of looking at him sidewayshe remembered all this about his mother This too her sitting on a sofa fixing her beautiful smile on her visitors all the time rubbing the silver coin embossed with the image of Lord Subramanya that hung from her marriage necklace as if it were an amulet that read minds for her She could always say what her guests wanted to hear and she pampered them with flattery after flattery till they left her with their egos refreshed and glowing as if they had just stepped out of a hammam and then one day she read his fathers mind and vanished That is what saved her from being killed by Mohan Kumar Manju was sure of it That is why their mother had never come back to see Radha or him even though she must have heard they were famous She was so scared of her husband she had forgotten her sons Right now reading his fathers mind knowing what he had to do to give him satisfaction and pleasure Manjunath kept shouting in English while Radha who did not have his brothers secret gift protested Didnt you hear him Shut up Manju Manju did shut up but only because of the grinding noise and a cloud of particulated flour produced by the wheat mill It was a tyrant of blue pipes and funnels the most famous object in the slum which brought even people from good buildings to Shastri Nagar every morning The noise and choking white dust temporarily pacified the youngest Kumar but then he began again Internet Gaming Cyber Mahesh Cafe Manju shut up I told you I know English too but Im not showing off Following their father the boys had passed the shuttered shops of their slum and through a cardboard WELCOME TO OUR HOME arch The gift of a political party was painted blue and covered by the beaming disembodied faces of city statewide and national leaders at least two of whom were serving jail sentences a fact which only heightened the impression that they were so many medieval criminals whose grinning heads had been hoisted up above a city gate An observer from a distance however might well judge that the faces on the blue arch were so many genies gathered there to perform friendly magic for the family Kumar now appeared to be walking on water The slum had grown at the very edge of Mumbais municipal limits For most of the year the Dahisar River was a rock filled sewer lit up by egrets and the flutter of a paddy bird returning to its nest of twigs A series of bricks spaced two feet apart in the water formed a makeshift bridge Their father had hoisted his cycle over his head and the boys followed him step by step as they crossed over the river and into the rest of Mumbai At the stationget in get inMohan pushed the slow cricketers and their bags into the fast train Hurry hurry Miss this train and there wont be space on the next one Itll be rush hour Yes I know theres an empty seat but you cant sit down Manju All three of us will stand I dont want anyone sleeping in the train and yawning during practice A thin tall gap toothed child went about the first class carriage offering or threatening to polish shoes for five rupees each Mohan Kumars shoes were polished for free As he worked the gap toothed child looked up at the father of cricketers Young Lions Young Lions Young Lions Young Lions Young Lions I sell uniue chutneys Mohan told one passenger after the other Twenty four chutneys for each hour of the day You like mint We have mint Garlic We have extra garlic Chilli hot chilli green chilli sweet chilli mango rainbow one hundred percent vegetarian Manju leaned his face to his brothers shirt and dozed against his body At Bandra the family Kumar got off and walked along the pedestrian bridge a grid of inverted Vs that zigged and zagged yellow and metallic over the swamps and green vacant fields of east Bandra The sun burned the wet earth reflected and the two brothers knew they had to run Down the yellow bridge in the direction of the Kalanagar traffic signal Radha surged Yee haah Manju wanted to touch his brotherIve caught you Ive But to his right he surrendered a yard to his brother he saw fields of water lilies and right beside them newly rutted mud roads on which men fought to move their motorbikes He caught up with Radha and they ran past security guards playing with their lathis and a cluster of Muslim youth with their feet dangling down the bridge Because their father was now invisible behind them Radha turned to his brother and Sofia At once both of them skidded to a halt Spotty Neck Sofia Putting his hands on his hips Manju turned his lower lip inside out while Radha just a year older but so much wiser smiled Everyone saw Young Lions on TV He touched his brother on the shoulder Youre the brother of a Young Lion Which girl in school do you like By way of reply Manju said Shut up because their father was coming up behind them The three walked down from the bridge and went into the suburb of Kalanagar An ard car painted in camouflage drove past them they had reached the Matoshree compound home to the most important man in Mumbai Surrounded by sandbags a machine gun unit guarded the home of Bal Thackeray permanent boss of the city They passed the guns and roadside canteens serving hot breakfast and then the Kumars stood before the Middle Income Group MIG Cricket Club Making his sons wait by the gate Mohan Kumar negotiated with the security guard We were on the TV Young Lions Were here to see Tommy Sir doesnt come until ten oclock He told us nine oclock We came all the way for him My boys shouldnt miss a days cricket practice Cant practice here the guard said Down the road Where they found a rubbish dump and a patch of ragged green beyond it Radha and his father took the ragged green Manju strapped on his pads near the rubbish one eye on the big holes in the ground Rat holes Tightening his calf muscle Manju raised his right foot on a low brick wall to double check that his pads were fastened Going down on his haunches Manju now launched himself over the rat holes Master Kumar Rat Tamer jumped up and down underground rodents shivered While doing his jumps Manju turned himself degrees to see his father lecturing Radha The bat is touching your toes Radha You wont be able to drive cleanly Manju saw the irritation on his brothers face But the Man had to be obeyed and Radha readjusted his stance From a distance Manju gripped his bat and waited Radha Kumar attacked Manjunath Kumar imitated The ball had flown from Radhas bat to a distant corner of the wasteland and Manju took off until his father announced He who hit it will retrieve it That is the rule So Radha raised his bat sucked his teeth and ran after the ball Radha Krishna Kumar meant to honor his end of his fathers contract with God Two years ago God sent his living viceroy Sachin Tendulkar to meet Radha at a practice match at the MCA grounds Sachin stood at the wicket and Radha was tossed the ball by Tommy Sir The boy who had let his hair grow long like Sachins and had watched Sachins videos especially Perth and Sydney at least times each spun the ball right past Sachins forward defensive stroke and into his stumps Well done sir Gods viceroy said and as everyone clapped made Radha the gift of his own batting gloves At the age of fourteen and a half Radha was now conscious that his fathers rules which had framed the world around him since he could remember were prison bars He saw the red cricket ball inside a thicket of wild grass and thorns Getting down on his knees he put his hand into the thorns Why must a boy not shave till hes twenty one Because the cut of a razor makes hormones run faster in his blood And why must a boy not drive a car till his father allows him to Because indiscipline will destroy anything even a secret contract with God Drenched in sweat and his fathers mad theories Radha seized the ball and threw it back at Mohan who had already started stepping back to catch it Radha admired the method the textbook correctness of his fathers pose Before teaching his boys Mohan Kumar had taught himself the science of cricket But when the ball landed in his palms it hit the flesh and bounced out and Radha smiled and became a year older I told you not to come He hates fathers Radha and Manju saw Pramod Sawant their head school coach half walking and half running toward them pumping his arms Mohan Kumar summoned his boys to his side and put his arms on their shoulders as if posing for a group photo Theyre my children I made them he shouted back and neither you nor your Tommy Sir is going to steal them from me Coach Sawant clacked his tongue Steal them This boy loves you Mohan If anyone says a bad word about his father Manju will murder them But for their sake you must leave now Tommy Sirs plan is visionary Mohan Kumar pulled both his restless sons into his body Why must I leave My sons always play better when I am watching them Ive never heard of a cricket scout who doesnt like fathers But Coach Sawant reached over and sueezed Mohan Kumars right shoulder Do it for your sons Mohan After a moment Kumar let go of Radha Part of any Bombay school coachs job is to declaw the parent and gently prise from his grip the boys who will contribute to the greater glory of Bombay cricket Sawant smiled pointed at Manju and made ingratiating contractions with his eyes both your sons Mohan And you must go now More of Mohan Kumars rules for his sons Cricket Rules Same as Life Rules Keep your head absolutely still Play straight Do not loft or hit across the line before the time is right Hoard Hoard runs on top of hoarded runs Food Rules No Chinese noodles potatoes fried or otherwise or junk food No oil no ghee no sugar Green bright vegetables rich in antioxidants If I ever catch you Radha eating dosa at that dirty stall near your school Ill wake your skin up Golden Proverbs Learn your proverbs boys For instance A thousand maggots in the cow dung patty but theyre all dead by sunset Interpretation Whatever your worries theyre gone by six oclock Thats not a very true proverb by the way Heres oneOn its way into town the kings white horse turned into a donkey Think about the meaning of that my boys If both of you fail in cricket boys the three of us will have to sit outside Dahisar station and beg for our food But if you really want to understand the life that waits for you as adults this is the only proverb you need Big thief walks free Small thief gets caught How to Talk about Your Father with Strangers There is a chutney mafia in this city run by men called Shetty and they are determined to crush your fathers life Do not discuss any aspect of his past or what happened to your mother with anyone Twilight was her favorite hour Manju remembered coming home screaming Amma Amma only to find their hut empty because his mother was outside in the strange light walking in circles by herself Thinking by herself Planning something by herself Perhaps planning to leave him and his brother and run away Manju breathed slowly Brilliant sunlight all aroundbut he was sitting next to his brother and shaded and protected by Radha Krishnas bulk he was free to dream He kept his eyelids half closed until Radha said Manju this is all bullshit Total bullshit Manju opened his eyes wide looked around and nodded before he knew what his brother was talking about That man is never going to give us any money Manju Its a waste of time Lets go What do you say scientist Forty minutes had passed since Head Coach Pramod Sawant had brought them over to the club so that they could be shown to the visionary Who was apparently the man in the red T shirt with the logo that said Manchester United Gold Key Challenge Supporter A dozen boys from Ali Weinbergs cricket team had been summoned to the MIG club and were sitting in a circle on the lawn and they watched Tommy Sir and the man in the red T shirt describe languid circles around them That was all the two men had done for three uarters of an hour Leaning back to eavesdrop on the two men as they passed Manju instead heard his brothers voice say Scientist You know what Im thinking of right now Shes got a spotty neck Manju elbowed him away but his brother kept whispering Spotty Neck Spotty Neck All at once in both boredom and desire Radha stood up and began dancing as he sang Spotty Neck Spotty Neck Radha was the leader of this group of boys one day he would be captain of their cricket team The other cricketers joined him Spotty Neck Spotty Neck shes got a spotty neck Tommy Sir and the rich man in the red T shirt took no notice The boys became louder and louder as Radha swished his hands like a bandmaster before the swaying singing cricketers Only one boy Manju observed was not obeying Radha While the other cricketers wore regulation school caps this fellow had his own cap monogrammed in gold thread with the initials JA He had small alert eyes and a beautiful nose hooked and swooped which looked as if it had been made to order Full black sleeves worn under his cricketers white T shirt rendered his arms sleek pantherlike and he was rubbing them in alternation as if getting ready The moment he smiled sickle shaped dimples would cut into his cheeks Manju was sure he would see the dimples today because the last time he and this Mister JA had been close together the rich Muslim boy had not smiled That was after their match with Anjuman i Islam Dusty and sweaty the cricketers had waited in a ueue by the sugarcane stand a reward from Coach Sawant for winning the match Manju had stood right behind Javed The Muslim boys neck glossy with sweat was shaved bright below the hairline When seen from behind his thick neck conveyed an impression of hidden strength as it expanded into his shoulders The ueue had moved in starts and the sugarcane machine had made a tinkling noise as it crushed cane Before drinking his juice Javed had lifted his ice cold glass to the sunlight in an exaggerated flourish that Manju thought might have been meant for his benefit then as Manju observed the powerful throat pulsed and swallowed the juice in one continuous motion Now from opposite points of the circle of white their eyes met Enough of this shit Manju started and then realized he had not said it Javed Ansari the Muslim with the majestic nose had risen up to his feet making his black panther limbs even longer Enough of this shit he repeated Radha Kumar stopped singing took a step back and sat down Now the fellow with the commanding nose was in a very deep voice chuckling U ha U ha U ha Manju drew closer to his big brother Radha was not doing much better With an open mouth he saw the black panther limbs come closer and closer to him and his brother Choosing a route between the Kumars on his way out JA put a hand on Radhas shoulder and nearly kicked Manju in the face as he raised one huge shoe after the other and left the circle of passive white Ansari Tommy Sir shouted Come back You sit and wait with the others But the boy had left the circle and was not returning He kept walking to a car its door already opened for him by the driver Slam Engine on car gone He didnt need any rich mans sponsorship A magician came thirty years ago to a village in the Western Ghats with an elephant Not an elephant that did normal work like moving logs with its trunk or pulling down trees no It had a secret power the magician said He left the creature in the village suare and walked a hundred feet away from ittoo far for it to hear him People gathered around the magician Young Mohan Kumar was one of them Whisper a command for the animal into my ear the sorcerer said any command Mohan Kumar went up to his ear and whispered Roll on the ground like a baby And thenwithout a wordthe sorcerer just looked at his elephant which got down on its knees and thrashed about the ground kicking up dust everywhere Raise your trunk and roar three times Again without a word the magician forced his elephant to roar Three times Mohan watched with his mouth open That massive beast with all its muscles was helpless It obeyed the brain waves of its master it suffered the enchantments of his black magic When he went back to work Mohan a thinking boy had looked around at the other farmers toiling in the wheat fields and realized We are nounmanacled than that elephant This was a truth about life he had never forgotten even after he had left the village and come by train to the big city Only recently Ramnath his neighbor in the slum observing that poor Muslims were becoming revolutionaries in Egypt and Syria and kicking out their governments and presidents had whispered Maybe the same thing will happen in India eh Mohan Kumar had smirked Here we cant even see our chains After being forced by Coach Sawant to leave his sons at the MIG Cricket Club Mohan had returned to Dahisar mounted his bicycle tied two stainless steel containers of chutneys to its side and visited a Mysore Sweets an Anand Bhuvan and a National Hindu Restaurant before cycling down to Deepa the restaurant bar near the Dahisar train station No one bought a thing from him Heaving his bicycle over his head he walked over the Dahisar River on the all but submerged bridge of bricks then slammed the bike down and cycled through the cardboard WELCOME TO OUR HOME arch shielding his eyes from the gaze of the grinning politicians past the broken homes and little shops until he got to his own where the sight of his neighbor Ramnath pressing white shirts with a stupid industriousness was so unbearable that he went to a tea shop for relief He suatted by his bicycle and blew on the hot tea He seethed Tommy Sir thinks he can cut me out of my own sons future I know what he is telling that visionary investor about me He is calling me a chutney salesman A thug A peasant An idiot When he got angry Mohan Kumars right eyebrow rose up rakishly which highlighted the comic element in his small and mustached face Looking at his glass of tea he delivered the speech he wanted to give Tommy Sir but had had to desist for the sake of his sons Other parents pay tens of thousands of rupees for cricket coaches but I a penniless migrant to Mumbai am the pro gen i tor of pro di gies Mr Tommy Sir I say these words slowly why So that even a man of your mental capacities may understand them Here are twowords pronounced slowly for you Amoxicillin Azithromycin Do you know what they are Do you know how to prescribe them I do I have taught myself medicine and pharmacology Mr Tommy allegedly Sir Where were you when my sons fell ill Where were you when they needed someone to sit by their side and record their temperature every half hour Mr Tommy When my Radha becomes famous and glorious Ill call the reporters to the MIG Cricket Club To the very place where you humiliated me And Ill have my press conference right there Even in tea there is no peace today The moment Mohan Kumar began sipping the legless man had to make noise on his flute in a corner of the shop This legless fellow performed every morning in the train station and came here afterward Holding up his glass of tea Mohan Kumar looked at the flautist Brother Have pity on me Think how much I have suffered in life Please stop The flour mill began its rumbling giving off pungent fumesit ground red chillies in the second shift adding burning eyes to its customary noise pollution Mohan Kumar kept looking The legless flautist kept playing Until the father of champions put his glass down walked over slapped the flute out of the mans hand and returned to his spot to pick up his glass only to find that his phone was ringing It was the boys cricket coach and he said Its payday Mohan Congratulations But where is Coach Sawant Three uarters of an hour had passed and Mohan Kumar an aureole of sweat on his back had pushed through the crowds around Bandra train station and returned to Kalanagar walking past Matoshree for the second time that day to find a tall gray haired man whom he recognized from his one previous meeting nearly six months earlier as the man who hated all sporting fathers Tommy Sir waiting at the entrance of the MIG club along with a stocky middle aged man wearing a wonderful red T shirt Gone with the other boys to school said Tommy Sir without smiling at Mohan Kumar Im Anand Mehta The man in the T shirt who smelled of cologne stuck his hand out Just seen your boy bat Very impressed When he smelled the rich mans hand Mohan Kumar was overcome by shame He almost cried Forgive me he said refusing to touch the perfumed flesh For my wet state forgive me For my lateness forgive me No problem mate the rich man said slapping Mohan on his wet back My wife Asha says if people sweat it means theyre honest Can you read my T shirt Manchester United Gold Key Supporter I have a cricket academy near Azad Maidan did Tommy Sir tell you Last year I was happy to escort at my own expense seventy six of the brightest young cricketing bodies in this country under the age of fifteen to Bowral New South Wales home of the one the only the eternal the infinite Sir Donald Bradman where in addition to a master class conducted in the Dons own town the boys also enjoyed a sumptuous meal of Aussie lamb wrapped in brown pita bread Australia is the reality principle in cricket Tommy Sir otherwise we Indians would think we were good at this game Am I right or am I right Come in come in lets eat and do business They sat in the cafeteria of the MIG club and a waiter came for their order Nothing for me Tommy Sir said Order Anand Mehta retaliated Order samosas Like many others of his class in Mumbai Mehta gave an impression of dogged and uncerebral strength A small suare forehead held tight by close cropped hair expanded into a powerful black brush mustache over a stone crusher jaw a white fold of fat at the back of his skull broadened down a thick neck into a wide chest and wider paunch whose width he exaggerated by letting his shirt hang loose His fleshy palms had clearly done no hard work and yet he seemed to sweat a lot His English was international he drew his phrases eually from the American British and Indian dialects and had acuired the democratic Australian habit of calling everyone around him mate Halfway through each sentence came a pause in which he stared at a corner of the ceiling with an open mouth as if just then realizing what he had begun to say and he had the childs habit of raising his voice when he repeated himself This man Tommy Sir pointing a finger at the investor is a visionary He wants to start the worlds first cricket sponsorship program and of all the boys in Mumbai he has picked yours as his first candidates You are a lucky man Mohan Kumar No sir the chutney salesman replied No sir No He is a lucky man He took a breath and turned to the investor Mr Anand sir I was not allowed to be present when my own sons were exhibited to you like goods at the marketan angry glance at Tommy Sirso I could not present a full picture of their talents Let me share with you the whole AZ of Future Champion Making Now sir Everyone stopped talking Like a gangster introducing a gun into the discussions Mohan Kumar suddenly placed a white cotton handkerchief on the table Within the handkerchief was something black and heavy he unwrapped the white layers to reveal a very large cell phone which he proceeded to suint at Just checking if any customer has asked for a new batch of chutneys he said rewrapping his phone in the handkerchief To keep germs away he explained Excellent idea Anand Mehta grinned Does look a bit oddbut then who cares what they think There is a wonderful European philosopher named Mister Nietzsche who said the man who doesnt care about what other men think becomes a superman I congratulate you on shedding all inhibitions Now relaaaaaax Dont bore me with details Has Tommy Sir told you the arrangement I am proposing Mohan indicated with his head that no the arrangement and its details were not known to him Since he was not allowed to be present when his sons were exhibited like buffalo at a weekly fair Simple Ill give you a certain sum a month You can pay all your sons expenses using this certain sum In return I negotiate for him in the future with Adidas or Nike or whoever wants him when he joins the Indian Premier League And Ill take a certain interest by which I mean a fair percentage in his marketing revenues Fair enough No sir Mohan said clearing his throat No It is not fair in the least He joined his thumb and index finger in the manner of a maestro My sons are not sportsmen They will grow into the Bhimsen Joshi and Ravi Shankar of cricket Sir Tommy Sir slapped his hand on the table You know where these two boys are from Mr Anand Dahisar From a slum Hungry Lions Sir let me finish Angry Lion I think was what the television people said Anand Mehta suggested The boy Radha has these very film star eyes And long hair like Sachins Pepsi Coke will love those eyes and hair He will act in films one day I say Mohan Kumar found himself still sweating from his bicycling which put him at a disadvantage in the negotiations Sir I will finish Returning to the process by which I created two geniuses of willpower sir it must be noted that the first principle of my system is diet Tommy Sir turned to Mohan Kumar and indicated with down boy motions of his palm that it was time for silence The investor proposed terms I am being asked to invest in a highly speculative manner in a young person whom we shall call Person X Anand Mehta smiled at the cricket scout and then drew a suare with his fingers Is there a guarantee that said Person X will get into the IPL team Can you give me thishe drew a smaller suare inside the firstguarantee Sir a growing body scientifically speaking needs three things known as the triangle of Shut up Tommy Sir to.