The Ringside View

My attempts at writing have always been stacked up in old diaries and scraps of yellowing paper.Time,neglect and phylum insecta however, always ensured that the gibberish i scrawled, never would see the prying gaze of an alien eye.Years later, i still scribble once in a while - this time in word documents stored in some obscure folder somewhere in the innards of my C drive.I am unearthing some of them and opening them up for the interested.To get what i call - The Ringside view.

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Location: Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Game

I came home from office the other day, to see a colorful pamphlet jutting out of my letterbox, promising cheap games of snooker 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Considering you wouldn’t get anything in Norwich (not including pints of beer and other things at Sainsbury’s) after four in the evening, this sure did come as a surprise of sorts. Here was this snooker parlor tucked away in some place called Baker Street working almost like a Las Vegas casino. And its cheap they proclaim in Arial font 24. At least, no more dropping endless 50p coins into the slot machine like a devout soul at the temple drop box.

So the following Friday, me and a bloke of mine decided we’ll go and get a game after office after all. With the long hours of Saturday and Sunday stretching before us like a never ending oasis, we knew we had hours at hand.

“Have you got the map with you”, I asked him as I jumped off the Park & Ride.

“Yup, in my head”, he quipped smartly, denouncing those who fired print outs when all they needed to do was use their bloody brains.

“Very true”, I replied. “Think of all the trees. But we should have got a darn print out all the same”.


“It’s two roundabouts after Chapelfield”, he told me. But then the funny thing with Google maps is, despite all the distance and all that, it still deceives you into thinking that it’s close enough for comfort. For example, if you go in and type ‘New York to Paris’, it very earnestly talks about a 3000 odd mile swim across the Atlantic. Take that.

But he had a sharp sense of direction and despite our wide ranging topics of discussion, he spotted roundabout one and quite a while later the sought after roundabout two. “At this roundabout, take diversion to the right”, he continued, like an expensive talking version of Google maps that you can take along for a game of snooker, provided its available in the colour of your choice at the nearest Argos delivery centre.

“Are you sure it’s this one”, probed the paranoid me. He pumped his fist, smiled and pointed at a small board reading Baker Street. I cursed my timing and decided to rest my sense of disorientation for good. It definitely was further off than we thought it would be. The roads looked desolate and the road stretched in either direction, forlorn and disinterested. We were looking to reach 85 Baker Street and soon found 49 progressing into 50 and higher numbers. Right direction alright. But one problem. What stood at these numbers were not houses, not shops but warehouses. Huge, ramshackle and neglected. And the deeper we ventured it only looked worse.

“This looks like a shady place”, he told me. “You reckon we go back”. Considering the increasing number of Martin Scorcese movies I’ve been watching of late, I was expecting Joe Pesci and a few mean looking goons to come out of the thicket any moment and beat us to bloody pulp. But we ventured, all the same in search of the green board. Man, we had balls.


If we had not seen the almost empty parking lot at the last corner, we would have turned back and left for good. A harmless game of snooker is not worth all this adventure I must admit. But it read Clarke’s and since we had braved the journey, we thought we may as well check it out. We went around the asbestos sheeted club house and through a grilled prison like turn table. A spectacled, ‘I’ve never ever smiled’ kinda man in a bow tie peered at us like we had just entered no man’s land.

It was dark like all snooker parlors are. It was smoky like all snooker parlors are meant to be. The smell of fresh brewed lager lingered. We looked around; 20 odd tables lay spread eagled with red balls in a triangle waiting to be dispersed. But hardly a soul.

“Hello mate”, I gestured. “Can we take one of the tables”, I enquired.

“Members only”, he replied matter of factly. “You become a member and then you play”.

“Oh ok then. We’d just heard about the place. Just thought we’ll check it out. How goes it then?” And as he walked us through the terms, we were already shuffling to leave. “Thanks then mate. We’ll be back in a while”, we smiled. He didn’t. As I stepped out of the turn table, I looked back to see if there was a camera rolling somewhere. And if Scorcese was beaming behind it screaming “Good shot ya fuckin bastards”.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

hehehe, good one .... who was the other guy ? Ramki ? what were the terms & conditions ? - Ganesh

May 05, 2007 2:30 AM  

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