I am a Bowling Machine…

Last week my nephew Ashwin came to me and asked about a machine he had seen on TV. He was watching some sports channel and there he saw a machine that throws balls to the batsman. He asked me what it was. I told him that is was a bowling machine. “Can you buy me one?” he asked. “It is too expensive; I don’t have that kind of money.” I told him. This is a scene that repeats very often. If show him a Ferrari, then the first question would be “Can you buy me one?”

Last Saturday, after lunch I was relaxing reading a magazine. Ashwin wanted to play cricket and for some time he and his sister were playing. Since my niece is too young, she cannot throw the ball as he wanted. He was getting frustrated. First, he tried to coach her on how to bowl well. But since she didn’t have the strength, the ball was not reaching him. So he came to me.

Aaachacha, can you bowl for me?

Ask your dad or mom.

They are busy.

I am tired.

Why are you tired?

I was working from the morning.

No, you were sitting in front of the computer; that is not work.

Then what is work?

When you work you sweat and you get tired. You were sitting in the room, the AC was on and you didn’t do anything except staring at the screen and typing.

I was not staring; I was reading…

Both are same… I was watching the TV since morning and I am not tired.

That is because you are young.

But you had your lunch.

You too had lunch.

I am not tired; also you ate more than me.

That is because I am bigger than you.

Then you should eat less so that your weight will come down.

OK [@#$%!%!]

Will you bowl for me?

I cannot field the ball.

Irene will do the fielding.


So, I left the comforts of my study and went to our dining room, which also doubles as the cricket ground. We made an interesting group—a batsman who will never get out (not even when he is clean bowled, he thinks he is W. G. Grace [1]), a bowler who cannot field and a fielder who believes that every time she has to pick up a ball she has to dive or skid.

The arrangement was that Ashwin will bat, I will bowl, and Irene will field. I sat at one end of the room and started bowling. Ashwin is a flamboyant batsman and bats with a lot of flourish as long as the ball is pitched straight. If I bowl spin or swings the ball, he will declare it as a ‘No’ ball. So my only choice was to bowl and get hammered. Since my fielder strongly believes in diving through the air or sliding on the floor before picking up the ball, she won’t even stop the balls that come straight to her. She will kick them away and then make a dive or slide and then pick up the ball—hangover of seeing too many ODIs and 20-20 matches.

So while the fielder was doing her calisthenics, the batsman was amassing runs at will—single, twos, threes, boundaries and sixers. Then came the new terminology—seveners, eighters, niners and so on. Soon he was nearing his double century and my arms and shoulders were paining. So I pleaded that we stop the play as I wanted to take some rest. Luckly, all the seveners and eighters had taken their toll and he too was tired. So we stopped and I was told to be at the same place at the same time the next day—Sunday. Sunday was the repeat performance, with Ashwin scoring a triple century and Irene diving and skidding and always taking her own sweet time to get the ball back.

Sunday evening I decided to watch a movie—Chak De. Both Ashwin and Irene were seeing hockey for the first time. During the movie they peppered me with questions. I told that I will answer all the questions after the movie. After the movie, I told them about hockey, how it is played, about the great hockey players like Dhyan Chand. I also told them that hockey is our national game and that we had won 8 Olympics Gold medals for hockey.

They were hooked to hockey and they saw the movie once again. Tuesday or Wednesday, my brother bought two plastic hockey sticks and a ball and now they are happily playing hockey. I hope their love for hockey lasts at least for a few months; otherwise I will again have to become the bowling machine!

[1] Once W. G. Grace, the famous English cricketer, was given out early in a county match. He refused to go out as he said, “They’ve come to see me bat, not you umpire. Play on!”


  1. mathew said,

    October 26, 2007 at 7:14 pm

    hahaha..reminds me when I had some silly bet with a kid..and after I won the bet I asked him to pay up..

    and this kid replies..”The bet was only if I had won “..
    I couldnt reply to such a retort!! ;-P

    It is actually very interesting to see kids plays especially if there is a slightly older one amongst the rest..The waY he will boss around never admitting that he got out!!..And the poor younger ones will have to play tandem to this old bully!!

  2. Paresh said,

    October 26, 2007 at 8:57 pm

    You can compile your posts about your nephew into a book titled Argumentative Ashwin. :p

    You lazy fellow-you get tired just by staring at computer monitor. And, reduce your weight by eating less. :d

  3. Dhanya said,

    October 26, 2007 at 9:52 pm

    Reminds me of Calvin 🙂

  4. thanu said,

    October 26, 2007 at 10:15 pm

    Haha… love this post. esp the dialogue between u and ashwin.

    Kids make new rules, I was playing chess with my collegue’s son and he goes, lets play circular chess, so things can move out of the board and get behind the opposing pieces.

  5. ashok said,

    October 26, 2007 at 11:49 pm

    way to go sir! 🙂 thats one heck of at 3am if u ask me!

  6. Fleiger said,

    October 27, 2007 at 9:21 pm

    Haha… With uncledom come great responsibilities 😉

  7. Anju said,

    October 27, 2007 at 10:22 pm

    Fleiger: “Uncledom” lol!!

    You will miss all this when he grows up! I keep praying that some of my cute little cousins remain static at their present age, but they grow up. So enjoy the moments while you can 🙂

  8. Fleiger said,

    October 27, 2007 at 11:11 pm

    @Anju: I found out quite early in uncledom that being an uncle means you have to obey all the commands.

  9. starry nights said,

    October 29, 2007 at 9:47 am

    Kids can come up with the most interesting questions. And always get away with it also.how are you doing Alex.

  10. Suji said,

    October 30, 2007 at 5:47 pm

    Kids can come up with the most amazing questions and observations. Its true…’child is the father of man’.

  11. anu said,

    October 31, 2007 at 10:04 am

    i was imagining you three playing together..

  12. Jo said,

    November 1, 2007 at 2:59 pm


    BTW, I loved the movie Chak De too. Not for the hockey, but many of the issues that the movie addresses.

  13. emmanuel said,

    November 2, 2007 at 12:38 pm

    Cute….. 🙂 So nice that u shared it…… 🙂

  14. Alexis Leon said,

    November 2, 2007 at 12:41 pm

    mathew : That was a nice way to bet…LOL. In my case the younger ones are dominating me 🙁

    Paresh : “Argumentative Ashwin” —nice title 🙂

    Dhanya: Reminds me of Dennis the menace 😉

    thanu : Yes, kids makes new rules… and circular chess seems interesting!

    ashok : Thanks Ashok…

    Fleiger : Uncledom; that was a nice one. Yes great responsibilities and obey all commands; I completely agree…

    Anju: Very true. All this fun will be over in a matter of years…

    starry nights: Very true… doing fine…Thanks

    Suji: What you said is very true.

    anu : Yes, it was very funny; but we enjoyed it…

    Jo: Nice movie… just loved it.

    emmanuel: Thanks buddy…

  15. Mind Curry said,

    November 4, 2007 at 1:32 am

    kids are just amazing..and so much fun..and so much more easier than adults any way!

    i have regular matches in my house with my bunch of nephews and nieces ranging from 2 year olds to 9 year olds.. its just hilarious and amazing and unbelievable how these kids play.

  16. Quills said,

    November 4, 2007 at 7:23 pm

    Long time since I blogged. Great read. I loved the exchange between you and your nephew. 🙂 So cute. Btwn, did you enjoy Chak De?

  17. Alexis Leon said,

    November 4, 2007 at 8:35 pm

    MC: Long time no see… Yes kids are amazing. One need a lot of stamina and patience to get along with them 🙂

    Quills: Yes, it has been a long time since you blogged. I read the recent one. Yes, I enjoyed the movies. Saw it twice. Not great, but good.

  18. Arun said,

    November 5, 2007 at 11:03 am

    Actually we used to do the same to our dad,uncles and all the elder cousins 😉

  19. deepu said,

    November 6, 2007 at 11:51 am

    Nice post and a nice blog… was late to find this… but found it anyway 🙂

  20. Madhavan Pk said,

    November 9, 2007 at 3:38 pm

    Alexis, loved reading it. I can picture the three of you at this. Smart move, cricket to hockey.

  21. Usha Madhavan said,

    November 10, 2007 at 4:32 pm

    Alexis, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and am in the process of going through the rest. I could visualise the new bowling machine at home. Madhavan and the kids together have broken most breakables at home, playing football and cricket (even now).

    Read through the RD article too. I am sure the article will inspire many.

  22. Alexis Leon said,

    November 10, 2007 at 8:19 pm

    Arun: I never had that opportunity as my uncles and cousins were too elder, but my dad used to bowl for us.

    Deepu: Thanks and welcome…

    Madhavan: Thanks Madhavan, But it didn’t work as they lost the interest in hockey and are now back to cricket. Too much cricket on the TV!

    Usha: Thanks Usha. Madhavan and the kids together have broken most breakables at home, playing football and cricket (even now). LOL

  23. Ann said,

    November 12, 2007 at 3:15 pm

    Good one Alexis. Your ability to write the events with full life in it is simply mindblowing. When I read this, I was seeing the whole scene in front of me. Good Work, Alex

  24. Pravs said,

    November 13, 2007 at 9:38 pm

    very interesting read. I could just imagine myself sitting in that room and watching you guys play 😀

  25. Anphy said,

    November 14, 2007 at 8:56 am

    i ahve become ashwins fan by now, smart chap 🙂

  26. Macadamia said,

    November 15, 2007 at 12:14 am

    I was laughing SO hard that I had to interrupt myself twice from reading your bog. The kids today are SO full of questions aren’t they? What’s even more amazing is the answers they come up with. God forbid 😀

    But one can’t help but admire the curious-young-stubborn-will

    Lovely post btw…

  27. smita said,

    November 15, 2007 at 9:29 am

    really to handle and to give all answes to the questions of kids need great patience
    very good post

  28. Saji said,

    November 16, 2007 at 7:57 pm


    so fascinating reading it. how simple things in life have profound meanings but in the mad rush and busyness of todays life we fail to notice, let alone enjoy these things.

    Reading your story in Readers Digest was very encouraging and inspiring.


  29. vinni said,

    November 17, 2007 at 8:53 am

    hi alexis

    very nice piece. i remember we used to do the same. mostly in hostel where we played in the corridors. was great fun, but ofcourse, each team had more than 20 players! LOL! was great fun!
    i read the article in reader’s digest. I am really inspired by ur conviction and resolve. would be glad if we could stay in touch. Hope its not too much to ask for. 🙂


  30. Rita Chandy said,

    November 20, 2007 at 3:53 pm

    My husband Jacob is a sports lover and exercise buff. He is 54 and I am 53. He is from Cochin and I am a north Indian from Lucknow. We live in Lucknow. I just read your account in Readers Digest and immediately opened your blog site. It has taken me close on to 2 weeks to read through the immense amount of info available. I suffer with spondy and staring at the computer (like your nephew comments) Jacob wondered why I was complianing of neck pain and why I couldn’t get off the computer these days – all I could tell him was you’ve got to see for yourself. Kudos Alexis you are a great guy and may God give the strength and courage to carry on being the wonderful uncle you are right now. Wish I could meet you just to be able to talk to you, it will be a treat for me. I will I will meet you on my next visit to Cochin, we have our home in Kalamserry and nothing will stop me paying a visit to Kakanad, even you wont be able to stop me. All the best and may the Lord bless you always with more and more courage everyday. Ashwin and Irene babies one day you will realise how lucky you are in have Alexis as your uncle.

  31. raginee said,

    November 20, 2007 at 4:32 pm

    Hi Alexis,

    Read about your inspirational story today only, and could not resist but to visit your blog. Didn’t know you had such amazing family and especially Ashwin. No wonder life could seen in such a simple way. Your patience with kids is also amazing. Can picturise all of you playing and relived our childhood. Raginee

  32. mary cherian said,

    November 20, 2007 at 11:00 pm

    dont know what to write . pray to god to give u strength .enjoyed reading .do write again bye

  33. chhuani said,

    November 21, 2007 at 9:53 am

    Last night i read your story that was published in Reader Digest, it was amazing. Then I surf your web, its really interesting site.

    Even God close one door HE open a another door . Through this you open a lots of doors in IT world.

    Hope that you live long and gives a lots of blessing to others

  34. Alexis Leon said,

    November 21, 2007 at 12:46 pm

    Ann: Thanks Ann.

    Pravs: Thank you.

    Anphy: Ashwin says Hi to you…

    Macadamia: Very true. Sometimes he tests my patience 😉

    smita: True, I can’t agree more…

    Saji: What you said is true. Life is fastpaced and people don’t enjoy the simple things in life.

    vinni: Yes,it was fun.

    Rita: Thanks Rita.

    raginee: Thank you very much.

    mary cherian: Thanks for the wishes.

    chhuani Thank you for your wishes.

  35. pallavi said,

    November 21, 2007 at 1:06 pm

    I read about you on this month’s Readers Digest. I like your spirit. I can wax eloquent about being yourself. But the reality in not giving up, impressed me a lot. WIsh you lots of life in your living years, because people like you do not depend on luck.
    Cheers for not giving up and peace

  36. Reshmi said,

    November 21, 2007 at 7:16 pm

    Hope you see the message I posted a couple of hours ago. Just to say keep up the good work. Bye for now

  37. Shiveeta said,

    November 21, 2007 at 10:33 pm

    very cute 🙂

  38. Akila said,

    November 23, 2007 at 1:53 pm


    I read about u in Reader’s Digest… You are great… remain an inspiration to everyone… May God bless you

  39. Reshmi said,

    November 23, 2007 at 4:51 pm

    Thanks for your all your advice. All understood and noted and acted upon! Keep the blogs coming, ‘BA’!

  40. Ashlesha said,

    November 24, 2007 at 11:48 am

    reader’s digest is why i’m even here! (i’m sure you haven’t heard that in a while 😉
    thanks for reminding me to look for the open windows!! and appreciate them!
    like how you write….i’m loving how original i must sound. couldn’t not write though.
    take care

  41. zahid said,

    November 30, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    That was so original and so fluent!!!! I loved this post. would continue reading more of ur pennings !!! loved it !!!

  42. Alexis Leon said,

    December 1, 2007 at 10:42 am

    pallavi: Thanks for the wishes and kind words. I wish you too all the best in life.

    Reshmi: I did. Thanks

    Shiveeta: Thanks

    Akila: Thank you.

    Reshmi: You are always welcome.

    Ashlesha: Welcome to my blog and thanks for the wishes.

    zahid: Thanks buddy.