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'Why do people run between the wickets to score runs?' Ali said, nibbling the end of his pen. 'That's how you score. It's the rule,' Ish said. 'No, not that way. I mean why run across and risk getting out for one or two runs when you can hit six with one shot?' Ish scratched his head. 'Keep your questions to maths,' he said and left.

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'I have figured it out. The young generation from the Sixties to the Eighties is the worst India ever had. These thirty years are an embarrassment for India,' Ish said as we lay down in the shop. We had spread a mat on the shop's floor. A nap was a great way to kill time during slow afternoons. It was exam time and business was modest. Omi snoozed while Ish and 1 had our usual philosophical discussion. 'Not all that bad,' I said. 'We won the World Cup in 1983.' 'Yeah, we played good cricket, but that's about it. We remained poor, kept fighting wars, electing the same control freaks who did nothing for the country. People's dream job was a government job, yuck. Nobody took risks or stuck their neck out. Just one corrupt banana republic marketed by the leaders as this new socialist, intellectual nation. Tanks and thinktanks, nothing else,' Ish said. 'And guess who was at the top? Which party? Secular nonsense again,' Omi joined in, opening one eye. 'Well, your right-wing types didn't exactly get their act together cither,' Ish said. 'We will, man. We are so ready. You wait and see, elections next year and Gujarat is ours,' Omi said. 'Anyway, screw politics. My point is, that the clueless Sixties to Eighties generation is now old, and running the country. But the Nineties and the, what do they say...' 'Zeroes.' 'Yeah, whatever. The Zeroes think different. But we are being run by old fogeys who never did anything worthwhile in their primetime. The Doordarshan generation is running the Star TV generation,' Ish said. I clapped. 'Wow, wisdom is free at the Team India Cricket Shop.' 'Fuck off. Can't have a discussion around here. You think only you are the intellectual type. I am just a cricket coach,' Ish grumbled. 'No, you are the intellectual, bro. I am the sleepy type. Now can we rest until the next pesky kid comes,' I said, closing my eyes. Our nap was soon interrupted. 'Lying down, well done. When rent is cheap, shopkeepers Will sleep,' Bittoo Mama's voice made us all sit up. Now what the hell was he doing here? 'It is slow this time of the day, Mama,' Omi said as he pulled out a stool. He signalled me to get tea. I opened the cash box and took some coins. 'Get something to eat as well,' Mama said. I nodded. Now who the fuck pays for Mama's snacks? The rent is not that cheap, I thought as I left the shop with a fake smile. I returned with tea for everyone. Mama was telling Omi, 'You come help me if it is slow in the afternoons. Your friends can come too. Winning a seat is not that easy. These secular guys are good.' 'What do you want me to do, Mama?' Omi said as he took the tea glasses off the crate and passed them around.

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