Many people have the ability to make others follow their will. Some use their imposing physique, others use their debonair persona. Vipin had neither of these qualities, at least in sufficient quantity. But people somehow did as he wished. He didn’t deploy this trait too often, but when it came to convincing people to play football, no one was spared, especially when it was raining.
Ranjit was glad his flatmate had not implored him to partake. However, he was required to sit on the benches, waiting out the game so that he could give Vipin a ride home. Despite the thunderous downpour preying on him, he wondered just how Vipin had convinced him to do so.
He watched with tired eyes as people with tired bodies surrendered to Vipin’s fancy of playing football as long as it rained. Not all of them were professional footballers like Vipin, but Ranjit could see an inner conflict in everyone. Even the most ardent believers of football and rain being a match made in heaven found their bodies letting up. But Vipin’s excitement jumped from peak to peak.
Rainy days often convinced him to delegate his role as a goalkeeper and becoming an outfield player. His skill with the ball could embarrass renowned attacking players. Everyone always went through the three stages of witnessing Vipin’s skill: surprise, awe, contempt. Ranjit had seen them go through the first two stages. A distant clap of thunder echoed through the sky as he sensed the third stage approaching.
It all begins with a push and a pull. Vipin is too seasoned a player to let that faze him. Before they know it, the net bulges. Vipin runs around celebrating the goal, which only serves to exacerbate others’ disdain. The opposition then resorts to rash tackling. Vipin leaps over the oncoming bodies.
Rain collected in puddles all over the field. Those lunging into tackles don’t stop sliding for quite a while. Ranjit watched them jump at Vipin and then continue to drift away. Their bodies turn and swirl as they slither away. One player landed in a small pit beside the field. Another rammed into the wall behind one of the goalposts. Two almost slid into each other. None of them could stop him.
And so it continued, until he was running close to where Ranjit was sitting.
Vipin ran along the sideline. He chuckled as the wind slapped him with rain. His guileless enthusiasm made Ranjit smile. The flatmates’ eyes met when Vipin was right in front of Ranjit, and that prevented either to notice the player pouncing at Vipin.
Contrary to others, this guy went all out and jumped at Vipin as if they were in a wrestling arena. Vipin’s nimble feet and quick reflexes allowed him to sidestep and jump away. But that couldn’t be said for Ranjit.
Time seemed to stop for Ranjit, and his body froze with it. He watched the player flying through air in slow motion, getting closer and closer.
Finally, there was a collision on the field. Well, next to the field.
No one was concerned about that minor technicality. They were just glad the game had stopped.