SEARCH | HOME
YTSA Family Sports Day ... A Love Story
To follow Hollywood and Bollywood’s formula for a hit by planting a love story into an important event as in Titanic, Pearl Harbor, 1942 A Love Story, and Bombay, we call this, our story YTSA Family Sports Day ... A Love Story. See for yourself if this story has the necessary mirch masala for the makings of a block-buster Bollywood film. All the characters and names in this story are fictitious. Any resemblance to persons living or otherwise is purely coincidental. So, please, don’t sue us.
The Singh household was bustling with activity on the morning of Sunday November the 18th. Having been given persistent warnings that the Young Thai Sikh Association (YTSA) Family Sports Day was to start at 9:00 sharp that day, Harpal Singh was somewhat concerned to find himself running late. He opted to do his morning prayers, the Japji Sahib, while getting ready grooming his beard, instead of his preferred serene, meditative posture with a Gutka in hand. While his lips mumbled the sacred verses, he could not keep his mind from wandering in anticipation of the day’s upcoming events. He had been unanimously picked by his two team captains, man and woman, to head the Blue team in volleyball, a sport he was famous for since school days. He was a bit anxious about playing along side the young boys, the ones that now call him uncle. He secretly wishes they still called him Praa, just like they used to only a few years ago.
Harpal’s wife, Pohli, opens the bathroom door to announce her entrance into the bedroom, already sporting an athlete’s outfit. She pauses to study herself in the mirror. “Too tight,” she thought to herself, and decided to change her T-shirt in an attempt to conceal the little bulges of fat that other’s needn’t know she maintained. She thought of the good old days in Waverly, when she, lean as a model, had led her Red house team to the top. Harpal’s resounding conclusion to his prayer awakened Pohli from her lapse of daydream, as she was hit hard by reality. “Chairball,” she sighed to herself, “what in the world is it? They should have just let me play basketball!”.
“Ji, is Simran awake yet?” She asked her husband. She has been addressing him as “Ji” for many years now. Not that she’s old fashioned and couldn’t address her husband by name. Just that when they first got married, her in-laws appeared to sneer with disapproval whenever she called out for “Harpal”. She even tried to address him as “Listen”, just to find out at her couples share party that “Listen” was enough to turn nearly all the men’s heads, as if a mobile phone went off and each man instinctively had to check if it was his. “Ji” was unique enough she had decided, and, besides, her in-laws seemed to appreciate the show of respect associated with the word. Before Harpal could respond to the question, Simran knocked on the door. She came in immediately without waiting for an invitation, putting on a sulky face to show her dissatisfaction for being forced to participate in that day’s family event.
“Sonia just called, Dad. She’s not going, I told you none of my friends are going!”.
“Simmi, you will have fun, betay, you like basketball!” Harpal responded.
“Too many events, Dad, it will just be a disorganized mess; even Sonia’s Mom said so.” In spite of her words, Simran was quite eager to attend. She had learnt from a very early age that it was easier to make demands from her parents when under protest and wanted to milk her forced participation for all it was worth. Fact is, when she found out her parents had signed her up, she made sure Raj, her college boyfriend, also paid his 50 baht due to join. It was going to be a challenge, though, to meet Raj among the watchful eyes of those she called “Indian Spies”, especially with her mother known to be the top agent among them.
“Yes, Simmi, there are really many events,” Harpal responded, “But I’m sure it will turn out well. You have to give them a chance.” Harpal was referring to giving the organizers of the event a chance with all the effort they had apparently put in. Three divisions had been set up: Men’s, Women’s, and Youth aged 10-14. Even separate activities were planned in the auditorium for children under 10, to make sure every family member was in on the fun. “Let’s see now, reading from the events list here, they have basketball for all 3 divisions, chair ball for women, volleyball for a mixed team, soccer for 2 men’s teams A/B and for youth team. Also, track and field.”
“They even have track events, Dad? What’s this, the Olympics? I hate track and field!”
“They have tug-of-war, 100 meters dash, relay, and distance running for all 3 divisions. Should be fun, ya?” Pohli could sense that Harpal was trying to reassure his daughter of something he too was not so sure about. After a rushed breakfast together, Harpal drove the family to the Thai-Sikh International School, reaching at 9:15. There was plenty of boy scouts to assist with the parking. Each then reported to their team to get their color T-shirts. By chance, all 3 were in different teams: Harpal in Blue, Pohli in Green, and Simran in Yellow. Simran’s love Raj was also in Yellow, a coincidence Simran took as a sign that destiny had a hand in. Fate, she believed, had bound the two of them together.
It was a beautiful day, by international standards, with relatively cool winds and plenty of sunshine, although some were concerned about its skin-tanning potential. The Singh family missed the opening flag ceremony, but made it in time to listen to a shabad by the school choir followed by an Ardaas prayer to start the events. The family then split to play their roles for their respective teams, meeting each other once again for a quick lunch and for occasional cheers, whenever possible. After an eventful day where each activity moved like clockwork, the medals were distributed in the evening. The team scores were then announced by the loud speaker-wala with a surprising stalemate: “The first place goes to 3 teams Red, Green, and Yellow, each with 46 points followed by Blue with 45 points.” The final team points were posted on the score board as shown in the table below. The sports day was then concluded with an Ardaas, right as dusk settled in with the 6:00 p.m. sunset.
Harpal then drove his aching body home, his family alongside. After getting on the main road, Harpal appeared to have mustered enough strength to start a conversation. “So, Simmy beti, maza aya, enjoyed your Sunday?”
“Yea, Dad, I had a great time, you should have seen the look on Jyoti’s face each time I made a basket. She didn’t even score one basket, just kept fouling me!”
“Ji, how did they manage it, it was really well planned, na, so many things going on at the same time and very much on time,” remarked Pohli. “I toh really like chair ball, I promised Bannu and the gang to include it in this year’s Happy New Year Party. Should be fun, na?”
“Haa, Pohli. I think YTSA has really proven they can host big events, that too professionally, with 300 people participating. Very impressive. I hope they have this more often, at least once a year.”
“Yea, Mom, I wish Kaka was here for this too, he would have loved it. When’s he due back from Mussoorie?”
“End of this month only, Beti. Would have been nice to wait for the kids from India, but then all the coming Sundays have weddings, and no one would like it if this was organized on their wedding day, you see.” Answered Harpal.
“Ji, such good facilities they have, na, at Bangna school? Why don’t we put Kaka here only next year. I heard it is now a very nice school and also those sweet children doing the Kirtan in punjabi, I really like the environment.”
“I was just thinking the same, let’s see. He can then do his GCE’s and go to college. It is a good option.”
“Dad, how does it feel to be on the last placed, Blue team?”
“Arey, Simmy, it’s just fun and games, I don’t take it seriously. Besides, we are not the losing team, we came second, just that 3 other teams came first. Besides we only lost by 1 point. Also, don’t forget, ha, my volleyball team got a Gold medal.”
“Okay, Dad, so my Yellow basketball team came last, but at least our team total score was numberone.”
“Pohli, can you give me money for the expressway, I don’t have any change, ” asked Harry as he approached the toll booth.
“Ji, you can give them 1,000 baht bill also, they’ll break it for you. You’ll just take my money and then complain I spend too much.”
“Don’t be so stingy, Mom, it’s only 40 baht.”
“Arey, Simmy, who was that tall, black loafer boy cheering so loudly for you?” Pohli quickly decided to change the topic, realizing she could not defend her decision to deny her husband a small change.
“He’s Raj, my classmate in college. Besides, Mom, it’s called ‘Dark’, not ‘Black’. You know without him the Yellow team would have lost the finals football match and our team would come last. He was the team star!” She proudly proclaimed.
“Wah wai, you seem to like him very much. Ji, you know this boy? He’s the son of Bhatia, the brother of the Sandu of Sukhothai Textile’s Puah’s son, the one that walks crooked, na.”
Simmy was lost by her mother’s family connections. In College Physics she managed to understand Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, but her parents’ “Theory of Relatives” had always been somewhat beyond her comprehension. Harry, though, spent only a moment to trace the family links. “Acha, acha, his father’s shop is Chai Yai Fabrics, right? Their shop is having very good export business these days. Simmy, he seems like a nice boy?!”
“Yea, Dad, soon as he’s rich, he’s no longer a loafer, right?”
“I never said he was a loafer, Simmy, that’s your mother’s words. Anyway, is he your boyfriend?” shot Harpal. Simran was caught off guard and just could not field the direct free kick question.
“Dad! What kind of question is that? No!”
“Good,” Pohli quickly interjected, “I toh cannot see any beauty in that boy, he’s so black”.
“Mom, he’s dark, tall, and handsome, okay. Dark is beautiful, unlike in your old generation, get with the program, Mom. Besides, he’s beautiful inside too, and that’s what really matters.”
“That’s what they say, na, when there’s not much to see outside, they then talk about inner beauty.” Pohli joked.
“Pohli, don’t be so shallow, wai, he must be a good boy, if Simmy thinks so. You talk too much, no wonder your friends call you ‘Pohli the Zaada Boli’.”
“Yes, yes, they call me Zaada Boli only, and then if I don’t come to a share party, na, they complain it’s no fun or even cancel it!”
Just then Simran thought this was an opportune time to open up to her family. After all this was a day they had all come together, enjoyed the outdoors, opened up to each other. “Okay, Dad, Mom, I have a confession to make.” The trembling sincerity in Simmy’s voice stopped her two parents from bickering to turn their attention to her.
“What is it, Simmy, Beti,” asked Harpal.
“Raj is my boyfriend and we’re in love okay. We’ve known each other for over 2 years now.”
“We’ve raised you for over 20 years, dear, and you think we couldn’t tell, Simmy?” Harpal responded. “Actually Raj’s father had already asked his friend, uncle Gurdyal, to signal me to make the first move and ask for his rishta. Don’t worry Simmi, I’ll talk to the boy’s father and make the necessary arrangements.”
“Simmi, beti, you are growing up so fast. Raj sona munda hega, he’s handsome. I was just joking before.” Pohli quickly retaliated.
“I know, Mom. The two of you are really the best parents one can have. Thank you for making me come to the sports day, I must say it has been the best day of my life!”
And the family returned home very pleased with the day’s events. They felt closer to each other after spending a fun day together. As this is a fictitious story, we can safely say that they lived happily ever after. Probably.