Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Jawa, My Ring Finger and 'Coolie'!

Jawa was a very popular motorbike manufactured in its factory in Mysore, under Czech collaboration.  
What has it got to do with my ring finger?  Do not be surprised if I tell it is a cricket match!
So those who know a bit of cricket will understand this write-up better.


An advertisement of the bike from the 60s.  [click to enlarge]
Even now, many fans have preserved them as vintage bikes long after the factory was shut. 

"Ideal Jawa" had a very fine cricket team with highly experienced and talented players.  My club The Mysore Gymkhana and "Jawa team" had good rivalry.  Some of the players were from our club. 

In 1982, precisely, 26th July, we were meeting each other at the historic Maharaja's College Ground.  My talent as a young all-rounder was on the up-rise and I was our team's No.3 in the batting order along with being an opening bowler. 


2009 photo of the same ground, which was a 'turf' in 1982. Same end batting on that day.

We were batting first that morning.  The pitch [playing area, also called the 'strip'] was unusually and undesirably moist.  We learnt that the groundsman had overwatered the previous evening.  Cricket and wetness are inimical.  Our opener David Purushotham struggled and succumbed soon, as it was difficult to bat on that 'spongy' surface with the ball playing tricks. I went in to bat and was beginning to get the feel of the wicket.  

Jawa's fast bowler Sridhar was bowling with good pace, from the southern end. I had glanced a boundary and was on 11.  His next ball was fast and pitched on a 'good length', in cricketing terms. I saw it clearly, prodded my left foot out to play the forward defence as I would, by habit and expected the ball to hit the bat. But instead of  the ball hitting my bat, it had stuck my 'bottom hand' glove [right hand] holding the bat.  The ball had taken off the surface more than it normally would, due to the slight wetness.  I ran a single writhing my right hand.  I knew something was really wrong.  Removing the glove and examining, I saw the ring finger in a weird position!  Our senior opponents feared a fracture.  Dinakar, 'retired hurt' 12, recorded the score book.  That was the end of the game for me.  I was very disappointed.

David took me on his scooter to the X-ray clinc, fingers tied together with a kerchief. Fracture was confirmed and the X-ray was taken to K.R.Hospital's orthopaedic dept.


Dr.Manjunath was on duty. After local anesthesia to the finger, he very skilfully joined the pieces back in position.  My middle finger and little finger acted as supports on either side and the three fingers were to stay plastered [not cast] together for 6 weeks. I was walking out of the hospital with a sling and was to be back in two weeks with another X-ray to see the progress. It was a good job he had done.

In recent years, I keep reading the news about one "Dr.Manjunath" of K.R.Hospital accomplishing some good things in the field of orthopaedics and I never stop wondering if it was the same person who had set my bone right.

After buying the prescribed medicines, David and I returned to the ground.  My eyes were closing on their own. I was very groggy from the injection, so I was dropped back home to be welcomed by my worried mother and aunt. I was to become a left hander for most things till that healed.  This handicap brought out my left-handed skills. I was brushing my teeth, combing my hair and washing my face with the 'odd hand'.  Scrubbing during bath and pouring water from the mug was yet another skill I got to exhibit on myself.  I had to use a spoon to have my food.  My pajamas had the thread belt and tying it was another challenge!  I could button my shirt with support from the handicapped hand.

The fracture was not a pain, but missing the Mysore Zone "Under 25" selection trials greatly was, because as I mentioned, my talent was blossoming at that stage.  The timing of this injury was hard to take.  The selection was taking place 3 weeks after my injury and I was watching it from outside with my slung right hand.  Cricket teaches us hard lessons on realities.  The groundsman's carelessness, Sridhar's pace and my bad luck merged to rule me out of the game for at least six weeks.  The batting gloves I borrowed from Girish Nikam [who was not playing in this] for this match also did not offer the expected protection.

I went to work and managed to write slowly with my two free fingers, the thumb and the index while the other 3 enjoyed the rest! I could draw money from the bank, return the thirty eight rupees David spent for my X-ray and medicines on that day.

On the same day my injury happened, another injury was making headlines - hindi movie hero Amitabh Bachchan's injury on the sets of the movie 'Coolie' at Bangalore University campus. It had shocked the entire country.  Such was his popularity and fan following. It was a miracle that he survived from the jaws of death, more than once. I resumed my cricket slowly and so did he to acting but it took him many months.

If the movie Coolie recalls Amitabh's accident, my finger fracture reminds me of Jawa through Sridhar!  I can still visualize that ball and still think how it had kicked up.  It took some confidence away from my batting for a long time and I guess Amitabh stopped making his own stunt scenes thereafter too.  This is one cricket match I will never forget.

1 comment:

Umashankar27 said...

Very touchy....nostalgic too ....thanks for sharing Dinakar sir....