Last Ball


It’s almost 6pm in the evening of Sunday, the sun is almost setting down and the light is dropping slowly, if I don’t go home by 7 pm my dad will bash me out but Ricky is asking me to play one more match of 5 overs. I really want to play because they promised me that I will be the opening batsman. They usually won’t give me opening but today the ball was mine. Anyhow I won’t get a chance to play for next two weeks as my final exams are scheduled in near dates. I can manage my papa saying some story again same like last week, let me not miss this chance.

I started playing the next match, my team batted well and scored 48 runs at the end of the 5th over, actually we scored 50 runs but Ricky’s team cheated and counted one six boundaries as four but I am sure we have good spinner on our side, he can win match for us. Ricky’s team started batting, it is dark now but we are continuing because as bowling team we are getting benefited as the batsman can’t see the ball clearly. Though the required runs are just 6 for 2 ball, they are down for seven. I know if we get another wicket then we will surely win the match. I am fielding on the boundary line at long off the batsman then lofted the ball to long off, I dived and held the catch, that’s It I guess we are just one ball away from the victory. I know the 8th batsman was not a big strike.  Then Ricky planned cleverly and sent his 9th batsman who is a pinch hitter, now the chances are 50-50, if he misses we win, if we miss he hits it long way. I asked my spinner to drop a slow floated ball and said ‘Don’t panic, we will win this’ to boost his confidence, he then did the same but now the batsman ran down the track and made it into a full toss and clubbed it over my head again. I was interested to anticipate and catch it for few seconds but then I realized it flew over my head and dropped in those thick bushes. We lost the match, Ricky’s team is celebrating, all my team members left the ground with heads down. As it is already dark everyone dispersed quickly, no one came to help me in finding the ball. I can’t go home without my ball, it is the 3rd ball I got this month, my mom will never allow me to get a new ball if I leave this now.

I entered those bushes and looking for my ball in a hurry, everything is dark I am not able to see where my ball is, I am stepping around and tapping the ground to find it. Just few steps inside I was able to see my ball under those dry leafs, I then slowly stitched into the bushes to get that ball. There is a sound of some steel drum from my right side, I think it might be a dog or cat. Reaching the ball, I took it into the hand and turned back to go out of those bushes, now again I heard the same drum beating sound from my left side. I don’t want to look at that, it is already late, let me just reach home quickly before my dad reaches home. Moving few steps ahead that sound from that drums is getting heavier now, it feels like someone is calling me. I just don’t want to go inside those bushes so I just watched into it by bending down. There is nothing present there other than few empty rusted steel drums lying. I prepared to go back but then I saw one particular steel drum is shaking. My first instance after watching that was undoubtedly to run away, I am scared watching it but I am also curious to know what is inside it. Getting all the guts up I decided to walk closely and figure out what is there inside. Drum is still buzzing; it is making some noise but not actually a loud one. Standing beside the drum I slowly opened the cap of that drum.

I am stunned to see a girl inside, not a kid like me but might be some 25 year old. she was muted and tied. I guess she was beaten so hardly there is a lot of blood coming out from her face wounds. Suddenly then there comes two people who are carrying these drums to the truck parked away. I hided myself behind one of the drums. Those workers know that there is a girl inside the drum because she is continuously screaming and they can also hear that, surprisingly they are giving no attention. How can they be such a so heartless, that girl is suffering inside, I now planning to take her out of that drum but it is impossible because those workers are going continuous trip carrying these drums to the truck parked.

I tried to kick the drum and topple it so that the girl inside can crawl and come out somehow. Though the idea is good I am not able to do that because if there is any big sound in doing this process then I will get caught. Thinking all the possible ways I am making some signs to the girl inside saying I will get you out. Frankly I have no big idea or strength to save her but I am sure that I want to help her. Few minutes passed with all my failed trails then I observed the number of drums to be loaded is getting less, the next turn will be the drum with the girl. I need to hurry up and find a way to get her out. Those workers are coming to pick up the last batch of drums, I can see the expression of the girl, she is crying and had lost all the hope of escaping. This is the last second of chance for me to act, those workers are just a foot away. In these nervous movements I am getting no idea but I am sure that I don’t want to leave her un helped because she believed that I can help her. In a split second with no second thought I jumped into other drum which is just lying behind and closed myself in that. Those workers lifted up the drum without noticing my presence inside.

I guess they are placing us on the truck, I can only see some parts of the other surrounding drum through the holes on my drum. Suddenly it all went dark, this may be the pitch dark color we say. They might have closed the doors of truck, minutes later I started feeling the jerks and some metal sounds then I interpreted that the truck started moving. I then slowly opened the cap and peeped out of it, there is no one inside except the drums. With no much sound generating I somehow came out of the drum, now I am confused I don’t know in which drum she is in. Even I cannot here her voice now as the drums are making hell lot of noise rubbing each other. Keeping my ears on body of every drum I started figuring out the drum she is in. After finding the drum I quickly opened the cap and peeped in, she is there, she is there in it.

Time to plot some ways to escape. Quickly untied her and told her ‘Don’t panic, we will win this’. With no much delay I told her a plan which I framed with the knowledge of all the cartoons I watched. The plan is simple, as we are in the truck now there is no way to seek through so, we have to wait for the destination they planned to be arrived and then make our moves smartly. Till then I asked her to act tied and struggling, once we reach the destination depending on the environment we can plan further but to find out where we will in those large number of drums we had a pass code of ‘3 beats’ which means if we want to communicate something to the other person we have to bang the drum for 3 strokes and as a reply the other has to band 3 times again to convey his presence. Explaining this I noticed now the engine of the truck suddenly stopped, and the door of the front cabin are opened, we quickly went back into our drums and left no clue to doubt.

Again those workers are transferring us into the some old shed, I can only see some glimpse of the surroundings that too in ninety degree rotated view. After all the drums transferred I then gave a signal of 3- strokes and waited for few seconds for the reply, I am confused now why she is not replying. I thought my code signal was too low that it is not convey so, I then again banged 3 times with much force and made good sound now. Just a second later I suddenly heard Multiple sounds. What is happening is she gone mad I asked her to give just 3-beats why is she banging this many times what if some one of the workers figure it out. To conform I again banged 3-times, the reply is even more loud now. Wait! I heard the sounds are overlapping. So, it is not the single person who is replying back. I am shocked, I am not able to come to a conclusion that there are many people who are replying back at me. I tried for the third time, it is sure there are many people replying back.

Holding the breath tight I opened the lid of my drum and peeped out silently there is no worker out there, the shed is closed. Climbing out of the drum I stepped closer to one of the drums, I am feeling bit dizzy I felt like the ground and equipment around me are moving, my hands are shivering still I opened the lid of the drum. God! There is an other girl in that, same like the first one this girl was also tied and also bleeding. The replying was not only from two, there are many left I guess. I opened all the drums and found huge number of girls tied and being transferred. I initially untied few of them and then they also helped me to find and untie others like so the chain went on growing, in few minutes all the girls in those drums are out and everyone is untied. I can see those face breaking out with pain. I don’t know how to console them, If I had cried this way my mom will definitely have console me but for them they have no mothers present here. I felt very sad about them. It is so unfair on someone to take them away from their parents, I will now help all of them to go back to their families. Everyone is looking at me, I again said the same lines ‘Don’t panic, we will win this’.

Now the stage two of escape plan started, that Drum shed is huge and there are no openings to breakout expect those ventilators at the top just below the roof of the shed. We don’t even know where we are, our first aim is to figure out the location around our shed. The only way to find out that is to climb till the ventilator and peep out through it but there is no structure present that helps to climb up. We are finding ways then suddenly I got an idea of pulley suspension after finding a big rope in that shed. Now the constraint is how we will make rope suspend with a person tied, for that one of the girls gave an idea to make the support rod of the shed roof as the pulley to suspend the rope. For that we need to make sure that one of the ends of the rope runs over the rod and reaches down, we tried doing that but the height of the roof is very high to reach. How good force we are using to throw the rope up, it is still falling short of the rope. Everyone is losing hope after few unsuccessful trails, then I got an idea of tying my ball to the rope which is heavy enough to carry the rope till the rod. As soon as this idea hit my mind I directly ran to the drum where I left my ball, luckily I found it out inside the drum. Tied the ball to one end of the rope and started throwing it to the rod, after few hits yes, the rope over crossed the rope and reached down again. I tied the rope to my waist and asked the other girls to start the pulling action.

In that way I am pulled up and reached the air ventilator. Peeping out I was shocked because I can see only dark sky and shining water around. The girls from down are asking what is there outside, I don’t know what to say, I said ‘water and sky’. Now we got to know that we are in some serious problem than what we expected. Where are we? Yelled one girl from down, Damn girl! We are in mid sea. Listening this few of the girls literally collapsed, it is impossible to jump out and search our ways.

All our hopes to escape were collapsed, we all sat together with no clue, Now I am worried but according to cricket rules these is no ball that can’t be played we just need a right technique. The sun is raising again, I stood up and said come on girls ‘Don’t panic, we will win’, this time there is no much excitement or hope in the group. Few came forward, watching them everyone joined. I told them ‘now the light is coming in, at any time those workers may come and check, let’s make that as an opportunity, like in cricket we can follow tempt and get them out’. One of the girls asked so, what is the plan now.

Let all of us be in the same drums again and exactly when the guy comes inside I will try do something such that he will get some doubt and opens the lid of my drum, that is the time you people need to be proactive in the back ground, use all your skill and trap that person with no sound coming out, then slowly we can sneak out as the door remains open.

The girls are convinced with the idea and are ready with their plans. Few minutes later one of those guys opened the shed and entered in, as he came near to me I started banging the drum 3 times, he started walking towards me, I can see that from those tiny holes of my drum. He then slowly opened the lid and saw me inside. He was confused for few seconds; he was not able to figure out how I am inside. In those mille seconds of time two girls from back grabbed his legs back and other two girls packed his mouth with some big rusted metal bolt found there and tied back. I quickly jumped out of the drum and helped the girls to tie him up completely unmoved. We then dropped in the same drum and capped it tightly. I asked all the remaining girls in the drums to come out silently. Time to sneak out but then we don’t know who will help us out on the ship. The first moto is to get out of this closed shed.

Marie the first girl I saw in those drums asked me whom we will contact after going out, I said irrespective of the team’s there is always a guy who do things following rules, in cricket we call him umpire, in ship they call them Captain. Everyone accepted my idea to reach captain room as soon as we go out of the shed. We started moving out and almost passed few meters away from the shed then I heard a lady voice from the shed yelling ‘Please Let me go, Please’. Some one of us may get caught I guess, I turned back to go and check. Marie stopped me saying ‘be careful kid’ then with some confidence I again said ‘Don’t panic, we will win this’.

I ran back to the shed and trying to find who got caught, far away on the other end I saw a man holding a girl by her hair and grabbing. I slowly moved towards them hiding behind those drums. Now there are exactly in front of me, the guy is facing back to me and the girl can see me, I made some sighs to be alert. The rope with the ball tied is lying there, I picked it and shot directly to his neck, it rolled around his neck and stuck him up. I gave a sudden jerk pulling back, he got chocked and the girl in front of him pulled his legs down. We both together parceled him in another drum and ran out of the shed silently.

We all together slowly sneaked into the captain’s cabin and explained him the whole story, he then talked to the nearest port officials and arranged us a ship to return back to home. Again after meeting the families all the girls started crying but this time I am happy to see all their parents are there present to console them. My dad came to pick me up. I said sorry for not coming on time to home from playground but unlike every time he kissed me and we started walking.

                                                                      FEW YEARS LATER

I am playing against Ricky’s team, its just 4 runs to win from 2 balls. The batsman splashed the ball to off side, it went directly on to the road. Again we lost the match. I went running on to the road to pick the ball, I bent down and took the ball into my hand and then a pink scooter braked in front of me leaving some millimeters distance. I closed my eyes and stood still for that split second and then She told ‘Mickey Don’t panic, we can win this’. I opened my eyes slowly, it’s her Marie.  

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