Friday, September 17, 2010

The Last Insult: Short Story

Disclaimer: This story is fictitious based on certain true incidents.

Comments/Criticism is most welcome.

All men are equal, but some are more equal than others.

Larsen Gangte was born in the easternmost part of the country, the land of dawn lit mountains, Arunachal Pradesh. A piece of neglected landscape which draws attention of daily newspapers in the country only when there are disputes with China. Born to a local administrative officer with the State Govt. and a housewife along with three other siblings, Larsen’s life has always been a struggle. But one thing Larsen’s father didn’t fail to impart into the soul of Larsen was the pride of being an Indian. Larsen’s father never made him realize that they represent only 3.8% of Indian electorate and are represented by a meager 25 members in a house of 547, more importantly he failed to educate him about the preferential treatment he would be meted out once in open world.

Getting a decent education was such a difficult thing there that Larsen automatically began to be interested in sports. Larsen’s father was a big fan the hockey sensation Dhyan Chand. Every night Larsen slept listening to the stories of the golden period of Indian hockey and how Indian hockey team is the only one in the whole world to win 8 gold medals. The story of the finals of Olympic final in 1932 at Los Angles where India beat United States 24-1, Dhyan Chand scoring 8 goals is the favorite for Larsen. Along with these stories Larsen could sense the disappointment in his father for not being able to play hockey. It was then that Larsen decided that he has to play hockey for India one day.

But being from one of the most backward and neglected corner of the country never helped. He joined a boarding school in Delhi to continue his education so that he can also start playing hockey. Though the family had very limited income, it somehow managed to pay for these expenses. Larsen never dreamt of the kind of reception he would get in Delhi. He was looked up as a complete stranger. His limited knowledge of Hindi didn’t help either. He soon became the fun element of the class. Regularly being referred as a “chinki” and being looked upon as a foreigner became a part and parcel. Larsen though remained focused on his goal. He became the captain of his school captain and was one of the finest players in Delhi.

When he was 18, he went for selection to Indian team. Players from all over the country came for selection along with the selectors from their respective state. Poor Larsen was the only one who had no backing, but managed to get selected solely based on his merit.

His entire family travelled from Arunachal Pradesh to see the first match Larsen would play, but the captain of the team made sure that the players from his own state and from the same region were in the playing eleven and Larsen was made a reserve player.

Indian team travelled to Australia for the world cup that year. Coincidentally Indian cricket team was also in Australia at that time. It is at that time Larsen realized the kind of importance Indian hockey players have in this country. The hockey players were given a meager amount of $ 14 as daily allowance during this trip. Larsen saw cricket players pocketing easily in excess of 100 crores each year from contracts from BCCI and the advertisers, even though it was not the national game for the country. Displaying a large heart, the Indian hockey team’s players told reporters that they would go ahead and play on their own expenses in the World Cup if the apex body, Hockey India, was out of money. The only concern for them was that there was no assurance for the clearance of their dues in the future as well. After a tough fight and media pressure, hockey players managed to get match fees of 25000 INR per match.

Against all odds, Indian team managed to perform well in the world cup and Larsen was the key player. He gained popularity and acceptance among all members of the team and for the first time in his life, he felt that he belonged to the group. Indian team managed to finish 3rd in the world cup which was a proud moment for the entire country. Indian Govt. announced cash prize of 25 lakh for each player who was the part of the team.

Larsen and his family’s joys knew no bounds. Finally their prayers were answered and finally Larsen was a hero. The team and Larsen were given a hero’s welcome to India. Larsen became a national hero. All news channel with camera crews reached Larsen’s place in Arunachal Pradesh. Larsen was all over the nation.

However, a rude shock awaited Larsen and his family when he returned to his home. Something happened which even his father had not anticipated in dreams.

Even before a victorious Larsen could reach home, a letter asking him to send the copy of his passport to prove that he is indeed a citizen of India to claim the prize money of 25 lakh reached his home. Apparently, some doubts were raised because it was discovered that the ancestors of Larsen were from China who migrated to India almost 2000-3000 years back. It was Larsen’s father who received the letter. All his dreams that his son was finally accepted all over shattered in a single moment. He tore the letter and decided to let Larsen still have his dreams. As for Larsen, he never knew of THE FINAL INSULT and he kept waiting for the prize money to reach him which never did.

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