The late David Shepherd is my favorite cricket Umpire and he would be the favorite for every cricket lover. I always loved watching him in action. He had a peculiar way of signaling fours. He had this tendency to shake his hands while signalling fours. Many of his fans still mimic this action while celebrating fours. Perhaps his most famous quirk is the NELSON hop. (The number 111 is known as the NELSON and is considered unlucky for the batsman). Shepherd would lift one foot off the ground whenever the score reached 111, or multiples thereof, they being regarded as unlucky by Shepherd in a ritual dating back to his childhood cricket team days. He died of Lung cancer in 2009.
Now, Why am I writing about David Shepherd? Is it because of the reason that this is Chronicwriter's 444th post? The answer might be Yes. But there is a better connection than the Nelson Number that is associated with this post. This post is about an unforgettable incident that made a friend of mine to hop on one leg like David Shepherd. Without much ado, let me get into the incident.
18th November 2005
It was a cold friday evening in a college in Cochin (A Southern State in India). Chronicwriter and his four friends (Midhun Raj, Anterson Antony, Joseph Pius, Shyam) were in a mixed state of mind. In another three days (21st November) they would be writing their MBA third semester exam on Advanced Operations Research Paper. The subject was one of the toughest in the third semester. They had no clue about the subject. They knew that only Mahatma Gandhi could help them pass the exam ( The college was accredited to MG University)
" Shall we go for a movie? ", Joseph Pius started the discussion as usual.
" No, You guys carry on. I am waiting for a call from my wifey (girlfriend)", Shyam gave his usual reply.
" Come on guys! Let us at least go to the ladies hostel and sing songs for them " , Midhun got our attention with this statement.
" What about Punjabi Dhaba for dinner", Anterson gave his suggestion.
"Or What about Cherai beach? It is just 18 miles from college", Chronicwriter joined in the conversation.
We started the discussion at 6 in the evening and it went on for an hour. We did not come to a conclusion yet. But we all had one Goal in mind " We wanted to have fun"
Finally we decided to just hop inside Joseph Pius's car and drive to any place, the car took us. ( In this picture, you can see Joseph Pius posing along with his Maruti 800 car). Joseph took the wheel. Anterson Antony sat in the front. Midhun Raj, Shyam and I sat in the backseat.It was almost 8 pm. We were about to leave the hostel when He asked us , " Where are you guys going?". We stopped the car to find who it was? It was our very own Butter. (Original name is not added for Chronicwriter's wellbeing). Butter was clad in a Banian (Sleeveless Vest) and a Lungi (Dhoti). We did not know what to answer him. So we told him that we were going to have dinner in Punjabi Dhaba. " I know that the car is already full, But still Can I join you guys for dinner?", Butter asked innocently. We were moved and we asked him to hop in too.
" Let me wear my slippers", Butter blurted out.
"No need to wear your slippers. We would just drive in and order food and eat it inside the car itself. So just come as you are ", Joseph gave a wise suggestion.
The next moment, Butter was also inside the car. He was barefoot and he was clad in his vest and lungi.
"Guys, Did you study for the exam? I have studied very well for the exam. I can help you guys if you need any help", Butter voluntarily came forward to help us.
The car did not go towards Punjabi Dhaba. It started moving in the opposite direction. Punjabi Dhaba is situated just 2 miles from our Hostel. It takes less than 10 minutes by car to reach the place. Butter suddenly got a doubt when he realised that we were driving for more than 30 minutes
"Where are we guys going? ", Butter again posed his inquisitive question.
" You will know soon", Anterson Antony replied from the front seat.
" But I need to come back to Hostel and help others in revising for the exam ", Butter's tone had a percentage of Uncomfort in it.
No one replied him. The car soon stopped near a Tasmac shop ( Alcohol shop). Two Crates of Beer were loaded inside the car ( Totally 48 beer bottles). Butter was now really worried. Butter would never forget that Friday night in his life. He never knew where we were heading too. He was almost on the verge of crying. The funny part of the story is that neither the rest of us had any clue on where we were heading to.
The clinging sound of the bottles were soon heard inside the car which was accompanied by all of us saying, "Cheers to Operations Research Exam". Butter was a Teetotaller. But the others were drunkards.
Chronicwriter used to drink those days. But One beer was more than enough to get him stoned. Midhun also was not into drinking. He would just take a couple of sips from the beer bottle. Alcohol was not at all necessary to get these two guys High. But the Trio of Shyam, Anterson Antony and Joseph Pius were Elephants when it comes to drinking. They could each gulp ten bottles of beer each without getting high.
The car started moving again. We were driving without a destination. Butter started crying. His cry fell in deaf ears. When ever he cried, we laughed at him. Suddenly he said , "Idiots I don't even have a pair of slippers on me." The only reaction that he got from us was our loud laughter.
He got pissed with us and he then delivered the most inspirational one liner ever," You Fagg@#$ ! I am just wearing a vest and a Lungi". Loud laughter erupted inside the car once again. (That is Butter in his Red Designer Lungi and White Vest, moments before he performed the Nelson Hop)
The car stopped after 6 hours in a place called Calicut with 5 drunk guys and one guy with swollen eye bags. It was early saturday morning and we had travelled almost 140 miles. Butter did not have any more strength to cry. The only reaction that he got for all his pleading cries was an irritating loud-group-laughter from all of us. The journey did not end there. Saturday morning was spent in the Calicut beach and very soon the car started its journey again. Butter was now happy because he thought that we were heading back to college. But his happiness was shortlived when he discovered that the car was moving further north. After a few hours, we were in Karnataka and we reached Goa in the Night. To add salt to the injury, we pulled Butter to a Night-disc and we all danced to glory. We started our journey back to college on Sunday morning. We reached Cochin on Monday Morning at 8 a.m. with a heavy aching head. The exam started at 9.30 am. We had no clue what we wrote in the answer sheets. The creative brain in all of us were in full flow and we managed to even write answers to questions that we never understood.
Click the picture below to have a clear idea on the Three day journey that we had before our semester exam. We are in good positions in different sectors around the globe. We have moved away from the vices too. Still these little old memories bring you that wry smile when you reminisce about it.
Note: Except Butter, all of us passed the exam with flying colors.