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Aching loneliness is different from solitary calm’: Sharda Ugra on being single by choice

As much as the fact hovers between corny and clichéd, this piece cannot be written without cricket. Cricketers, actually. They are part of my life story as a singleton/bachelor girl/spinster. The story is not about how I found one or two or three cricketers compellingly attractive and how they turned out to be heels and broke my heart and that is why I am single… Not even close.

It is more about how cricket and cricketers first made me process the idea of singlehood, and then understand how the outside world deals with it. When Kalpana asked me to write about being single (what’s the word here – deliberately? purposefully? purposely? stubbornly?) and I began to work through memories, cricket and cricketers kept showing up.

I remember precisely the first – and only – time my father asked me the “What Are You Planning To Do With Your Life?” question – code for shaadi talk. It was November 26, 1995, just around noon. I’d just turned 27, my Dad was driving us somewhere for Sunday lunch. There is a reason I remember the date and time but not where we were going. Cricket commentary was on the radio – India were playing New Zealand in a one-day match in Nagpur, and this madcap Kiwi batsman had pulverised our bowling. On Mumbai’s Eastern Express Highway, just after Nathan Astle completes his debut ODI century, my Dad throws a hand grenade onto the back seat.

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