After my return from the States, I have begun to appreciate so many activities I used to take for granted here in good old, Chennai. I was bored out of my wits while abroad because of the lack of access and not to forget, sky high prices. While I was in Chennai, I used to go to the tennis court near my house on and off, simply to keep myself active and get a good morning start. However, I was regularly irregular because of my lack of discipline. Staying up late either working, reading or chatting and waking up in time to get to work did it for me.
All this changed after I returned from my onsite assignment. I decided to peep in and check on the ball boys and my tennis coach. I was welcomed with open arms and they encouraged me to play a few shots. We were all surprised that my forehand was still as good as it was before. I had such a great time catching up with the team including the kids who lined up everyday for practice that I started going to the court regularly. Even if it meant just 15 minutes of play, I made sure I worked out. I realized how happy and healthy I felt every day. I gifted the ball boys t-shirts and cakes for Christmas and the New Year. They promptly wore it the next day to show me the fit. I was glad to see them happy.
I enjoy hearing the kids talk and watch them compete against each other to collect the tennis balls, every time the basket was emptied. Actually, it is quite a hilarious sight. While you are playing, do not be surprised if you suddenly see a rush of kids running wildly all over the court. It only meant it was time to collect the balls. As a rule, all of us are expected to collect and keep the basket brimming. However, with each passing day I realized I just had to keep walking around the court acting busy, while the kids finished the task with great gusto. In under ten minutes, the work is done and you can resume your play again. The kids feel a great sense of accomplishment and carry on playing with a smug look.
Some days, I spend some time negotiating with the school goers not to call me Auntie. It all started with the ball boys referring to me as Madam. The entire bunch of kids turned in my direction to check out the Madam amidst them, who was treated with much importance in their presence. I was doomed. They tagged me as Auntie. I wanted to bury myself six-feet under. However, over time, I seem to have convinced them that I am chilled out and can handle being addressed by my first name, just like them. I assured them it was perfectly alright.
Each day gives me such joy and acts as a constant reminder of the simpler pleasures of life. I am thankful for my mornings at the tennis court.