Sagar begins his story. Why and how has his life become complicated?
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Sagar was sitting in his bedroom watching a rerun of a South Africa-Australia cricket match on ESPN. His room was quite big with a 52-inch Sony TV placed opposite his large couch so that he could relax and enjoy the charms of the “idiot box.” Sagar loved music: western pop, rock, jazz, blues, Hindi remixes and Kishore Kumar hits. He had the latest Sansui music system so that he could indulge in his passion whenever, wherever and whichever way he wanted.
Right now, of course, he was watching a rerun of an old One Day International. Yuvraj Singh, his all-time favourite cricketer, tearing the England attack apart. Sagar simply loved watching Yuvraj play. Whether it was batting, bowling, fielding or even running between the wickets, Yuvi was terrific. Moreover, he had a fantastic temperament. He was in control in the toughest of situations and could single-handedly take his team from the brink of extinction to the peak of success. For Sagar, whose temperament and resilience too had been widely admired in the inter-school cricket championship, Yuvraj was an inspiration.
“Babu,” Sagar looked up, a trifle irritated. It was Lakhan, their family servant.
“What is it, Lakhan?”
“Someone has come to see you, Babu.”
Sagar looked at the clock on the wall. It was ten. “Who could it be this early?” Sagar thought.
“Who is it?”
“It is a young fellow. He didn’t tell me his name. He just asked for you.”
“Okay, let him sit in the living room. I’ll come down in a minute.”
Sagar was clad in shorts. He pulled on a T-shirt and went down. Opposite his room was a landing, which led to a spiral staircase. The staircase ended in the dining room beyond which was the living room.
A young man was sitting there when he entered. He was of Sagar’s height and build but looked 5-6 years older. He had a clean cut, chiselled face and a hooked nose.
“I am Alan, Alan Bright,” he said sounding like James Bond. His smile was friendly and his grip, relaxed.
“I am afraid I didn’t recognise you,” Sagar said, as they sat down.
“You don’t know me. I am a correspondent from Sports Scan. I’m sure you must have heard of it.”
Sports Scan was the premier sports weekly of the State. Sagar was an avid reader of the magazine. “Of course, I subscribe to it. But I don’t remember having seen your name.”
“I joined just six months ago. You might not have seen my by-line because they don’t give new entrants a by-line immediately. If you remember, in the last issue there was a report on the Inter-School Football Tournament held in Vijayawada. That was written by me.”
Sagar did not remember the report but nodded out of politeness.
“Sagar, I want to take your interview for Sports Scan.”
“My interview? But, why?”
“Come on, in the last inter-school championship you single-handedly won the match for your school. It was one of the best innings I have seen. I am doing a feature on the budding sports people of the city. I shall be covering different sports and for cricket I have picked you.”
Sagar fidgeted a bit. “What kind of questions will you ask?”
“Only routine questions like, how long have you been playing? Who is your role model? What is your ambition, etc.?”
“When do you want to take the interview?”
“Today is Friday. Tomorrow evening I have a small get-together at my flat, which is in Masab Tank. Why don’t you come over at 7:30 pm? The party will start around 8 o’clock and we can finish the interview before that.”
Sagar hesitated. “Why don’t you ask me your questions right away?”
“I am not prepared. Moreover, I have asked Brijesh, the photographer also to be there. He can take your photo, dressed casually, at my house.” Alan looked at Sagar and then asked. “Do you need to take your parents’ permission to do an interview at my place? If that is a problem I can talk to them.”
“No, no. My parents hardly bother about such things. Okay, I’ll be there by 7:30 pm.”
Read on to Chapter 20
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