Lessons from a Fall in the Football Field
One evening after a consultation with a dentist, me and daughter Diyah were returning home and thought of dropping in at Jithin's house after a long time.
From the gate itself I could overhear some voices inside. Amala, Jithin's wife was scolding his son possibly. "..told you several times not to go out and play. Look at the scratches on your elbows and knee. God knows if your hand is fractured." I reluctantly pressed the calling bell and the door was opened by Jithin's younger child Greeshma. I quietly asked her what's happening. "My bro played football with neighbours and fell twice. His hands are paining, dressing the wound..."
Meanwhile, Amala came out from the upstairs with a worried look. "His father encourages all these and he is slipping in studies you know." Amidst this commotion, Greeshma took Diyah to her study room and closed the door.
Confounding the misery for Amala, Jithin had to go to his factory to clear some consignments that had arrived from Mumbai despite the pandemic restrictions. I could sense the feeling of distress in Gautam, the gauze put on the wound was not proper and he was holding his right hand in 90 degree position without bending.
I told Amala not to distress him further and immediately called a friend who was an orthopedic surgeon. He suggested an X-ray from a nearby diagnostic lab and getting the wound dressed properly. The X-ray revealed hairline fracture and required casting. Luckily, the diagnostic centre had a small clinic with a doctor and nurse. They dressed the wound and put a sling and told us to come next day morning for putting the cast as they didn't have full time orthopedic expert.
As I dropped them home, Jithin just came and thanked me for the help. Just then Gautam's class teacher called and Amala lost no time in pouring her woes. "He is only interested in playing.. in two years he has to sit for board exams and we all know how difficult it is to get admission for PCM or PCB..."
I wondered what is PCM and PCB? Jithin said it is Physics, Chemistry Maths and Physics ,Chemistry, Biology. "She wants him to take engineering and Greeshma MBBS, what to do?" Schools start career orientation sessions from 8th Grade onwards inviting career experts to address students.
Amala handed over the phone to Jithin to talk and he was mostly listening rather than talking. After a while the call was disconnected but Jithin looked pleasant. As Amala went to the kitchen to make tea, Jithin said, " the teacher was appreciative of him. He was showing leadership qualities, good at debating and also good at maths and languages but not in science."
As we had tea and snacks, Amala expressed her worries about Gautam which put Jithin under stress. And soon the door bell rang. It was Nikhil and his wife , one a physical education trainer and other a cricket coach. On learning about Gautam's fall, they called him and patted on his back. " Boy be courageous, these are small mishaps. You must emerge stronger and these are lessons in managing crisis."
Amala wondered how a skinny fellow can ever make it big in sports. "He should start studying hard from now, even with all A+ it is difficult to get admission."
"Let him play and also allow Greeshma to play. New studies have shown that involving in sports is good for cognition and developing motor skills," Nikhil quipped. There is still time for them to choose their careers."Also don't worry about his skinny look, what is important is overall health."
"Uncle I read a quotation of Swami Vivekananda somewhere -You will be nearer to heaven through football than study of Gita," Gautam now seemed to have gained courage.
Like a typical parent, Amala didn't look convinced. Momentarily, atleast the father and son duo seemed to have dribbled well to hit a goal. And possibly till the next fall!
(NB: A University of Geneva (UNIGE) study has shown that physical exercise session as short as 15 minutes helps improve memory, including the acquisition of new skills. When a person does physical exertion, the body produces endocanobinoids, molecules known to increase synaptic plasticity leading to psychological well being as well. )