Sunday, November 24, 2002

Red or Green

Pool is a game that I really love. Maybe because I am good at it; or maybe because I can play that game while actually I am thinking of something else. Or maybe because, it is so similar to carrom. My initiation to pool was when I was studying 8th. The table was half the size of normal pool tables but still it was good enough for me. By the time I had reached 12th year in school I was literally called the God of the pool table. I don’t mean to boast but the fact remained that if I was allowed the break, there was a rare chance that the opponent got to play because I would pot all the eight balls in a row. I had also (after much hard work) learnt how to pot the #8 ball on the break itself (according to rules if you pot #8 on break, you automatically win).

It so happened that there were quite a few other players who were exceptionally good. And one such person was by the name of Umesh, a wealthy tea planter’s son, from Calcutta. And it also so happened that one day I lost my pool game to him and boy, was it some news for him! Within the next 12 hours he had told the entire school, including the kindergarten kids, how he had beaten me fair and square in the pool game. To me that was ok, but being the prankster that I am, I wanted to hit back. And hit back hard!! It was Friday evening, weekend had begun and about 20 of us were relaxing in our exclusive senior students lounge. From the distance we could see Umesh walking towards the lounge and that’s when the bulb on top of my head lit up. I told everyone present to get with me in this prank and we decided to make Umesh believe he was colour blind. If he hit a red ball, we all were to protest by asking him why he hit green. And if it was green, to protest why he hit red and thereby cry a foul.

Umesh walked in and naturally asked me if I wanted to play pool with him. I said, “Naaa, I’m not in the mood”. A slight pause before he said “Why, are you chickening out?” A sigh from me and I said “Ok, lets play”. It was a classic act from all those present to just carry on with what they were doing. The game started and after a couple of shots he hit the red ball and on a very natural tone I said ‘foul’. He said ‘that was red’. I said, ‘no that was green’. He laughed but another person next to table said, ‘that is green, can’t you see’? Umesh was perplexed. Game continued and when he hit red I said ‘foul’ again. And this went on till everyone in the room agreed with me and within ten minutes Umesh was having doubts over the colours he was seeing. And finally he ‘fouled’ so much that he just quit with tears in eyes saying “Guys I think I’m going colour blind”.

Few of my friends and I consoled him by saying “Umesh there is nothing wrong with it. Lots of people go colour blind. Eat a lot of carrots and all will be well soon”. The prank continued for few more days and half the school knew about this prank and so all played along. Every lunch and dinner you could see Umesh piling on carrots from the salad menu. It all ended when a teacher came to know about the prank and called on Umesh. When he came out of the teacher’s room, well I can’t describe the face, but if you have ever seen a monkey that has eaten chillies, then it was pretty close to that.


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