Joga Bonito

April 19, 2008

Master | 19th July 2007 | Bombay

In 2007, you would have expected Jayjay to be happy. Everything seemed to have happened as any ordinary person would have liked it. He had a job. He stayed with friends in a small but comfortable lodging in Mumbai. The salary was good, and he had his bike. Jayjay even bought a fancy mobile phone, something he had never had before.

But something, evidently, was missing.

“I couldn’t sleep well at night anymore, “Jayjay reminiscences.”I just never got tired at all. I was too comfortable.”

The truth didn’t hit him like a thunderbolt. It accumulated on him till the weight of his depression was too hard to handle.

“Looking back, the fact that there was nothing specifically wrong made it worse,” Jayjay says, humbly.

“I have been injured or penniless, and you know what to do in times like that. But sometimes when your life’s cluttered you just can’t see the world the way you liked it.”

These days he is back into training. He’s jogging. He’s decided not to think of his job. He spends time on the ball. He gave away his phone to his friend Master, who was recovering from a knee injury.

The silence helps.

“Once you get started, once you find that you love this game, it’s easy to come back to it. Football forgives its wanderers,” Jayjay says, his interest in Gibran and Wordsworth showing through. “I think the best thing about this sport is how everyone loses their way at least once. It strengthens your love of the game. You don’t feel like losing it twice.”

These days Jayjay is back to being a fit 72 kgs. Slowly but surely, he’s scoring goals. He has scored 4 goals in 9 games for Malabar FC, but 3 of them in the last 4 games. That’s a definite sign of improvement.

And does he think of life after football? Jayjay smiles at the question. “It’s easier if you don’t think. Life’s much easier when you are running with the ball at your feet.” Life’s getting better for Jayjay. And for those of us, who have watched him play, know he’s getting better too.

Amen.