Photographic memory and six Rubel Hossain
Rubel Hossain for some reason put a hex on me. For some reason I seem to have a near photographic memory when it comes to his bowling feats. No, not super eidetic imagery as to what time and day it was, what over he was bowling, what was the headline of that day, or the final score. No. None of that extraneous stuff. I remember the feeling, the ecstasy, the sheer exultation and euphoria his effect seem to have from the Svengali bowling.
Now Rubel Hossain is not someone you want to meet at the back alley in the middle of night. Stocky, well built- almost that of rapper 50 cent's feature- and statuesque ivory black chiseled figure he looks morel like a boxer than a fast bowler. A first of his kind. Add to that his aggressive slingy bowling, sometimes wayward, sometimes short-pitched, but when it lands in the zone, like a sniper crosshair's he seems to go right for the perfect kill.
I do remember the odd anecdotes how he loves motorcycles, how after a domestic hat-trick spanning two overs, he didn't know of his accomplishment, how he said he mimics Malinga after growing up in a tape tennis environment. Yes, I do remember these odd facts. But below are those moments in time which mere words cannot describe or encapsulate. Going by a memory witness to his testament, these are some of those glimpses of his efforts and effects which left indelible impression upon my memory forever. These are the moments when the avatar landed for darsan when his fury, vision and wrath that was unleashed.
1. A blinder of a catch
First time I saw Rubel Hossain in flesh and blood was oddly enough in my first time at stadium. I remember Fahmim Ferdous, a friend of mine, was sitting to my right, and my cousin Shatil. Fahmim was wearing a Lamborghini yellow t-shirt that I remarked. I am not much of Test person but when it comes to Fan Following and ego searching in Cricinfo website, nothing presents a grander chance than this. Test match is an acquired taste where mammoth totals are cumulative and work of labor instead of flash in the pan effects. Yet this flash of the pan moment, this flash of genius, this insight, this inspiration, this haiku burst of theta brainwave was forced me on my feet.
I didn't know what happened. There was no replay in stadium. Rubel was near out stands, and I am sure I remarked in Bangla to some effect: Why leak so many runs? But suddenly a batsman went full monte and it was a six. No scratch that. Someone interrupted. A bird? A plane? No Rubel Hossain plucked the ball off the sky in a blinder. In Bangla we call it: "lufey niyeche". Literally, grabbed it. Not sure who it was, probably Kane Williamson, but when Rubel jumped about a feet high, took the catch - an otherwise sure six- it took a moment for me to process what was going on. It was as if the dumbstruck feeling an avid birdwatcher feels when she sees a rare warbler or a tern.
Fahmim was the first to react: That's wow moment of the day.
2. Match winning debut
False memories are dangerous and it to mask the sheer delight of his debut's match winning performance I always thought it was a fifer till I checked and it turned out to be a four wicket debut. Rubel has done the damage. Why noteworthy? Because Bangladesh lost to Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka and was definitely out of the tournament. Man of the match was Shakib al Hasan whose controlled and gritty hard hitting of 92 runs took us home to qualify for the final. But it was indeed Rubel's deliveries that went straight into the heart of the matter.
I was at my Rina Apa's house. A cousin of mine. Dad and I watched the first session where he took the wickets and he thoroughly enjoyed it. I remember how my cousin's husband -Saif bhai- chided his son, my nephew, Sajid why he wasn't praying and I knew that he was a bit annoyed from the noise interference to his studies so he scolded him. However, I secretly knew, he was envious of father-son bond between us, and he took is a cricket lover. (Love you Saif bhai!)
So the platform has been set, but that's where Rubel made a mess.
3. Fall from grace
With a low total to defend, Bangladesh would totter the batting lineup at 6/5. First ball was a run out wicket, I later checked. Nazmul and Mashrafe shared the first four amongst them. The memories are bit saccadic and staccato since it was late at night, Mom was sleeping, and I didn't want to wake up so I was following Paltalk commentary. But I had to get up 5 times when wicket fell with headphones around my ears with lights and computer monitor turned off. I had to even sleep awkwardly with my head facing the near end of computer so as to be tethered to the feedback.
Rubel would make a mess and get a thrashing by Murali who guided the team to a win at death. As I check, he leaked 20 runs in an over.
Rubel was no longer my hero.
4. Kyle mills delivery
Over and over, so many times I rewinded the Kyle Mills delivery on Youtube that ended New Zealand's plight for first Banglawash. I was living in my own rented room. I was watching on laptop in sharpshooter position. As if I was watching the match through my lenscope because that is totally what it felt like: Assassination. A perfect yorker, a thud, wicket falls, Mills bowled...and the entire stadium e-rupts!
What a feeling!
Later I found out Ian Pont reveal in a forum that that week before Rubel was practicing at net and then after Ian placed a coin saying that would signal the end, Rubel would go forth to landing the ball pitch perfect.
But I could be wrong.
5. The wicket that wasn't
This one I don't remember the details but it turns out Braithwaite was the victim in West Indies tour of Bangladesh in 2011. I got a brief flash that stumps were shattered, and indeed two uprooted. But irony of all ironies! It could have been - it seems 8 for 1 - if not for the no ball. I could only imagine how gutted he must have been felt for it was a gem of a delivery. I mean two wickets knocked out. What else do you want as a Bangladesh viewer? But it was a no ball. And I don't think he got a wicket that day. Or did he?
6. Violence and larceny
Perfect symmetry is of nature's. I returned from a rain interrupted first ODI of New Zealand and Bangladesh. Now Bangladesh drew the Test series. So the match was evenly poised for anyone to take the game after rain interruption. I left the stadium ruing the fact of a Fan Following wasted. But it was another of those father-son bond.
The first time I leaped in joy in cricket was when a Pakistani bowler would a take a wicket to dismiss Australia out of the world cup. That was the cold night I remember when my Mom was served separation papers as right I jumped in joy my Mom's grave face entered the room. A mere child, I immediately knew what was wrong. And ever since then, I always felt guilt of being too euphoric.
However, Providence is the brutal judge who will force you to face the facts. This time when I was watching with Dad, my sixth sense told me something was up. The game was even-Stevens at the cusp and then what began could duly be called "violence and larceny".
First wicket. Sheer unbridled euphoria inside me. I was sitting next to Dad who was more circumspect and didn't react after Rubel's first ball. Second one, gone!! An entire psychic earthquake swayed inside
me and I was moved but no, I wanted more. Another. My loud voice thundered. Dad was unswayed. Another!! I could feel it. I could project it. I could visualize it. Like a North American shaman I could manipulate reality. I knew it it's gonna happen. I could feel it. This time my sixth sense too didn't lie. And then I jumped. I jumped in joy and sheer delight. It wasn't contrived. I did not plan to leap in air; it was a karmic retribution in the most apt sense to liberate me from the trauma I experienced the other night. If the first leap of faith brought tears from parents' separation, this sheer joy of delight was nothing but marriage made in heaven. And this time I didn't even have to support Pakistan, but Bangladesh. My Bangladesh! Even Dad cracked a smile.
I mean the feeling. It cannot be put into words. But they are forever etched in my mind's photographic plate. I could recall those events, run it,rewind it and fast forward it like a mind movie. And they are with me forever and wherever I can take them to.
I am not trying to eyewash the readers thinking these are not elaborations of photographic memory. As the deeper down the rabbit hole you go, more and more questions will always be asked? How many runs did he give? What was the colour of his shoes? Who was at the commentary box? Well, then why not at what angle the light cast shadow? Or for that matter, the decibel of the volume of crowd?
Eidetic memory doesn't exist. What exists are extremely powerful receptor for lifelong containment of these indescribable feelings and sheer euphoria. And if that doesn't suffice, if not Ramayana, I can always quote this own article of mine verbatim!