A strange thing happened with me. I realized at that instant, there was no correlation. But it did strike me. While watching news channels and then reading the newspapers with Shane Warne’s statements on his retiring from Cricket, I was reminded of my dormitory “Warden” in school. Old guy was past his prime. He knew that. But he would just not accept. In an attempt to hold his losing grip on boys, he made more efforts than usual. Hockey, our passion during school, he was always on the wrong side of the boys. It was just a matter of time when boys would swing their stick. One fine day, rather late evening, they swung.
Boys had been tolerating him and his tantrums for a long time. But then, he had spent his entire life as a Warden. He was aged and did have his share of charm. He was part of our growing years. However, boys were waiting for the last nail to the coffin. “Warden” as we used to call him, struck it himself. He hit a senior class boy infront of some juniors. In school, we used to fear only two things. Seniors, and their eyes. If a senior passed by without looking at you, you were blessed. We would be praying down our breaths till the time he actually crosses us and went atleast 10 steps before we uttered the first word. Ofcourse, that was an ‘adjective’ suiting him. Still, it was terror. Just imagine, in that environment, if a senior is slapped infront of a junior. Terror unleashed. Unfortunate juniors in the vicinity where first taken under the ‘black and blue’ clouds. I am sure most of us remember the rains from those clouds. I do. That whole day was like walking in a dark street with hammers and swords at each step. For no fault of yours, you were slapped, punched and kicked. The tension was mounting. There had to be a vent. The vent opened only on “Warden’s” chest.
Elaborate planning went in making sure how “Warden” will start walking down the stairs where Vaseline would be applied in full measure. He should not have one inch to step and not slip. While he is falling from the steps, some boys will run wrap the falling body into blankets and cover him totally. He should not identify anyone. He would be picked up, will be thrashed non-stop on his way to the bathroom. Once inside he will be thrashed even more and finally will be left under the cold-water tap. Did I mention it was the month of February? I apologize; I think I also missed mentioning my school is in Mussoorie.
The plan was executed flawlessly. No action could be taken against any boy. It was ensured that no sharp tool was used. Only full bodied blows making sure there are no marks on his body. He could not identify and name even one boy. The senior he had slapped in defense of his falling glory, had been ‘hospitalized’ a day earlier for severe stomach ache. You could not raise a finger.
He did continue as our Warden for sometime after that incident. Not for long though. During his last few days, he had calmed down. But he was hurt, more psychological than physical. You could feel his pain in his eyes. His voice had broken and his fingers trembled when giving directions.
You need to let go at the appropriate time. You need to realize, what is yours today, was someone else’s yesterday and will be someone else’s tomorrow. Nothing in this world is for keeps. This appropriate time does not depend on age. Ian Thorpe and Shane Warne only confirm the inevitable.