He was born a chart busting seventy centimeters long and was immediately nicknamed Chottu by an imaginative uncle. A nickname that would, in time, look ridiculous on who was to be India’s biggest sport export.
Chottu kept elongating unaided by any giraffe branded tonic or ruler inspired chocolate drink. And his early life was miserable. Wearing shorts at seven, when he was already five feet tall, made him a standout target for the usual pranksters at school. He needed chairs and tables to be brought in from senior school. He was a sight, walking around forlornly like a coconut tree in the school compound at recess.
The ring on the wall first caught his attention when he was eight and his life changed. He soon realized he could pretty much jump and put a ball through the hoop without a thought. The wall became his best friend. And nothing could come between them. He pounded away every free minute he had. At times, he had no ball. That did not deter him. Stones, crumpled cardboard and, sometimes, brown paper covered notebooks were all made to jump through his circle of joy.
Soon a senior spotted this wall creeper and got him onto the school basketball court. He was born again. It was like Tom had just met Jerry. By the time he was ten, he was topping six feet and easily was the senior team’s Magic. MC as he soon came to be known grew in leaps and bounds and became the sporting sensation of town. People came to see him running rings around teams from all over and they never went back disappointed.
And as fate would have it, an exchange program saw him in New York and suddenly he was not a freak. He was just twelve and already six and a half feet tall. And by now, he was lethal on the court. It was his court and when he was on it he took no prisoners. He was grabbed by the New York City’s second league Dramstick on a professional contract, smashing all previous records.
MC had arrived. And Chottu was a pleasant memory.
That is the long and short of this tall tale.