ANDHRA PRADESH

`Black day' turns into `field day'

HYDERABAD, DEC. 6. The `Black day' turned out to be a `field day' on Monday for scores of Muslim youth residing in the old city. Even as there was tension in the air in the entire `purana shahar', the youth were in a holiday mood and decided to spend the `self-imposed' holiday by playing cricket.

Soon after noon prayers were through, almost all lanes and by-lanes in the interior areas of the old city turned into cricket grounds where the `teams' indulged in their favourite sport. As police vehicles crisscrossed the lanes, known for being communally sensitive, children were out there in `full form' and now and then, the air was rent with shrieks of `chauvve' and `chakke' (fours and sixes)!

Policemen play too

On learning that there were no incidents of violence, a few policemen too joined the youth. "Cricket is my favourite sport and whenever there is a holiday, we play the game without even bothering about lunch," said Ashraf, wielding the willow along with his friends at Bhavaninagar. Are things peaceful? Did anything happen out there? The boys would ask visiting mediapersons curiously, before getting back to the game.

At Moghalpura, a few policemen too tried their hand at the gentleman's game. "With the tremendous pressure and tension we were facing for the last couple of days, I wanted to relax by playing with children. Though I wanted to try a few more shots, my duty does not permit me," shrugged a police constable.

It was not only a constable who wanted to unwind, but a senior IPS officer too joined the game. In one of the colonies at Moghalpura, the officer got down the car and walked up to the children who stopped the game abruptly. But, as soon as the officer said "Come on, give me the ball," the game started amid giggles and sheepish smiles. "I was playing cricket with the children and had a whale of a time," the official smiled.

And at the end of the day, there were more smiles in the police camp.

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