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Shoaib's Saga

By Dhondy
March 8 2005

It was the start of the new county season, and the chill from the winter past lingered in the air, reluctant to let go. Shoaib walked along the deserted road, lost in thought, looking rather morose. He was depressed. The county boss had asked him to sort his mood out, and he had been to see the psychiatrist. Surprisingly, the doctor had politely declined to see him with this terse statement, "I don't carry out consultations with Rana tigrina", and had referred him on to another specialist round the corner.

Life really wasn't fair. It had been one thing after another. He still had recurring nightmares of Sewhag pelting him over point from the last summer. To get over his melancholy, he had made a special trip to Mumbai to meet up with the love of her life, a well known Indian star (One sided love that is. She never answered her letters). However, the security guy in front of the studios refused to let him in and said something mysterious on the lines of "There's a surfeit of villains in the industry. You'll have to come back later". What on earth had he meant?

Shoaib smiled to himself when he remembered how, on the way out, he had bumped into Shahid. Now there was an interesting character! There was a story doing the rounds that Shahid had failed the driving test five times. Finally exasperated, he had mustered up the courage to ask the examiner where he had erred. Apparently, the examiner had answered, "Hamesha ankhen band karke chalaya mat kar. Kabhi kabhi ankhen khol liya kar". Poor Shahid!

When they had met up that day in front of the Mumbai studios, Shahid had looked distraught. He ran his hands repeatedly through his long hair (damn, he had run out of hair jell again!). Shoaib had asked him what was wrong. Shahid had sighed. "Yaar, I heard that Govinda had run away with Rani. So I thought I'd pick up his bacha khucha roles. But the gateman said something very strange. He said, "there are too many heroines queueing up for Rani's roles." Yaar, main to Govinda ke bare puchh raha tha!"

Shoaib smirked to himself when he remembered the incident. Serve Shahid right for putting mascara on his eyes!

He was nearly at specialist's office by now. He straightened his tie and walked in through the reception. The young pretty receptionist looked up at him. Shoaib put on his boyish smile, mustered up his best Queen's accent and intoned, "Khanyouhalpmepleash?Ihaveanapphoanthmantwiiddaspeshalisht"

The young girl went very pale. She had never heard such incomprehensible sounds in her life. "Pardon?" she asked.

"Shorry.Khanyouhrlpmepleash?Ihaveanapphoanthmantwiiddaspeshalisht"

The receptionist was in near panic by now. "Sorry, I'll have to call my colleague. I can't quite understand what you are saying".

She called up an Indian lady who was an employee at the surgery. The lady spoke to Shoaib in her native language and informed the receptionist that Shoaib had an appointment with the specialist.

A few minutes later, he was called in.

The specialist looked at Shoaib. He had never seen a more magnificently muscled specimen in his life. " So what can I do for you?"

Shoaib was bristling. "I went to this shrink because I was depressed. He said he didn't see Rana tigrina and sent me to you. I can understand comparisons with the tiger because of the way I bowl, but I am not Rana. He must have confused me with my teammate Naved"

The specialist looked at Shoaib for a long long moment. His eyes were piercing, and Shoaib could feel them boring right through him. Finally he spoke, " I have to tell you this. Rana tigrina is the latin name for frog. And I..." , the specialist continued gently, "...am a vet".

As Shoaib moved past the desk on his way out, the young receptionist whispered to her colleague, "Why does he walk like that, arched backwards on all fours?"

The girl next to her arched an eyebrow, "Hadn't you noticed? He has hyperextension".

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