Thursday, 18 December 2014

World War 'P' ...

“All Men Have Animals In Them. And Sometimes They Just Need A Push Of Competition To Unleash Them.”

-Mahaakshay Chakraborty.

It was a sunny day in Mumbai. For a change it wasn’t that hot either. The wind was blowing from time to time and the drivers in their cars were showing mercy to each other by not pressing the horn every second. The ambience was just about right. Well, right enough for the events that were about to follow. For most of the mumbaikers it was just another day. But for these 12 individuals, a day of sports, fun and adventure became a day when boys became men. Or should we say, when men unleashed their true animals in the face of competition.


The Following is inspired from actual events.

The names of the men and women have been changed in order to conceal their true identities.

Chapter 1:

The Preparation …

It was decided that among the 15 men who wanted to play Paintball, only 12 would enter the gaming area. Amongst these men were the ones who have been here before and there were few who would be playing this game for the very first time. After the Camo suits and helmets with scratch marks were given to the men, their names were called out one by one to confirm their part in the games. Hands were raising one after the other and in the echo you could hear shouts and screams of excitement from the crowd which gathered around to see 12 men pierce paintballs at one another at a speed of nearly 75 kms per hour. At first, all these 12 men where psyched and pumped for the adventure that lay before them. But as soon as they entered the arena and heard the crowd roar, some of them started to second guess themselves. Amongst these men was Veer. A handsome young man stepping inside the arena for the very first time. From a distance you could see veer standing all in confidence and sheer positiveness. But if you had a closer look at him, pass through his beard, you could see that he was afraid and his fear grew more and more when he was hearing the referee pass on the basic instructions. “Your helmet is for your protection. You remove it, is on you!”, “Always stay 10 feet away from the enemy.”, “And whether you like it or not, these paintballs when hit, really hurt and sting.” These were the Basic instructions which were heard by the 12 men participating on that day. But unlike Veer, Michael had already heard those lines a year before. He wasn’t a rookie anymore. But a man determined to defeat the enemy at any cost. And even though he was already sweating cause of the heavy armour he was wearing, he was just silently waiting for the referee to finish his duty and get on with the match. Once the instructions were laid out, the teams were told to go their respective zones and wait for the whistle for the games to begin. The teams did as they were told and waited with awaited breath. While some were in a state of fear, others were engulfed in a rush of adrenaline. But all of them had one thing in common. The urge to win at any cost.

Chapter 2:

Capture The Flag …

The teams were in place. Their boots were pressing the hay beneath their shoes. The crowd was waiting with excitement. Veer and his team were the ones in the Blue and Michael and his team were the ones in the Red. All the Paintball guns were the standard edition series with a single trigger mechanism which fired one bullet every time the trigger was pressed. The guns had 250 balls in them and the only way to win the 1st game was to go and collect the flag which is placed in the centre of the arena and come back to your base without a ball splashing up in your armour. If you are hit then you are eliminated and then any other member of your team of the other team should go through the same process until one team wins. Team Red was all pumped-up and ready to take the Flag. Too much was on the line this time as Team Blue had openly challenged team red and insulted team red to kinda break their morale. Maybe in some deep level of the sub-conscious, team blue may have gotten their way but there was no way team red was going to let that affect their judgement. Team Blue did have Rick on their side. From appearance Rick looks like an ordinary joe with pyjamas and wearing Superhero Tees. But his brain is a completely different story all together. He is what we call an Intelligent Human Being who believes that planning and strategising things instead of going out all guns blazing is a more calculative and effective way of winning. That kind of an intelligence was something Team Red didn’t have. If this Paintball competition was being placed in America, it would had been called the Jocks V/S the Nerds. But now, there were only seconds away from the first match and before they could raise their guns and get ready, the whistle blew and the game began. From a 3rd person’s point of view, it was a sight like out of a movie. Well, the movie 300 to be more precise. These 12 men starting rushing towards each other and as soon as they saw each other in their sights the balls started flying in the air and hitting the pavements and the walls and the bunkers which were kept for cover. Team blue looked as if they were looking for cover more than hurting the enemy. But Michael from Team Red took advantage of this and ran for the flag. Within seconds the flag was in his hands and he was running back to his base. it was literally like an action sequence from a movie. Michael was running and dodging the balls while his team was giving him covering fire. Team Red took advantage of the panic and confusion of team blue and within the next 20 seconds Michael reached his Base with the Flag and emerged victorious. The crowd erupted in cheers and joy! Team Red themselves couldn’t believe they won so fast. But all of them knew that this victory would only ignite the animals in Team Blue.

Chapter 3:

Elimination …

The 1st round belonged to Team Red. The team was in high spirits and all pumped up and ready for Round 2. The elimination round. In this round, the players from both the teams have to make sure that their opponents have been hit by the balls and the balls should splatter on impact. Until the impact has been confirmed by the referee, the match continues. So, both the teams were ready and both were planning the break down, as to how to defeat the enemy. Al though Veer was shaken and trembling after Round One, he was closely listening to Rick from behind his helmet. In team Red, Michael was giving firing positions to his squad and he told Rambo aka the Builder to be at point and distract the enemy while Bub aka Nice Guy and Shane would come from around the corner, pass the tyres to lay down the enemy. All the plans seemed to be in place and then for the second time in the day, the whistle was blown and the round began. For the first 5mins, both the teams were playing it safe and crouching themselves behind the rusted bunkers and the tractor tyres. But as the minutes passed by, both the teams started getting more aggressive. In a matter of seconds players from each team were hitting each other and getting eliminated left, right and centre. It was a war zone. Well, a paintball war zone and everyone was just trying to hit each other. But when Michael and Rambo were ducking behind the old, ruined jeep, Michael felt Vapour appearing inside his helmet. He knew that would become a distraction for him and he made the call of going out and cleaning his helmet. The referee, seeing Michael’s hand raised paused the game for Michael to leave the premises. The players at that point of time got a moment of rest and recuperation from blazing paintballs firing every where. A minute later, Michael wore his helmet again and was back in the battlefield. But what happened next was completely unexpected. As soon as the game resumed Michael peeked out to find Rick, who was hiding behind a cemented wall and in that very instant Michael got hit on his helmet with the ball hit by Rick and before he knew, Michael was eliminated, mid way through the elimination round, the same Michael who bravely captured the flag in the 1st round. Al though, Michael was hugely disappointed by his carelessness, he didn’t give up hope on his team and his team, including Bub aka Nice Guy and Rambo were doing as planned and laying down their paintballs to team blue. But this time around members from team blue, including Rick, Veer and Kill John aka Hacker were suppressing huge amounts of fire on team red. It looked like Team Blue was taking the win but fortunately, time ran out and the referee decided the 2nd round to be a Draw. Things were beginning to heat up as both the teams were now high in adrenaline and both knew that the 3rd and last round would surely declare the winner of this hellish war.

Chapter 4:

Balls Out …

Then came the final round. The balls out round so to speak. In this round both the teams have to empty their weapon cartridges in to the enemy until their ammo runs out and by the end of the round whichever team has the highest hits on the other, that team emerges victorious. And if or the other team manages to hurt their opponents to the extent that they can’t compete anymore. Both the teams now became very serious. You could see the intensity in their eyes. Both wanted to win equally. While team blue wanted to defeat team red, team red wanted to kick team blue’s ass right to timbaktoo. The crowd was also excited and people even started laying bets on which team would win. The referee called out and said, “Are the teams ready?” All the players gave the signal of a yes by nodding their heads and standing in a fierce position. The whistle blew just seconds later and the 3rd round was on it’s way. Bub, Rambo and Dick aka The Designer went balls blazing ahead and were very soon bombarded with paint balls and within moments where put to rest. They were really hurt and due to the pain they were unable to continue. This put team blue in the advantage and this was a sign for the end for team red as team red only had two members left. Michael and Lucky. As team blue was closing in on team red, Veer became excited and started doing the victory dance even before the round was over. The crowd knew that was the very first time, Michael would be witnessing his humiliating defeat. But then, amongst the cheers and the roars, Michael became still. Behind the iron-clad wall which he used for cover, he saw that he only had 30 bullets left and only one other team mate to plan an assault. But Michael didn’t call out for lucky. He just sat there and closed his eyes. And with his eyes closed, sweat rolling down his cheeks and his fingers at the trigger he searched for the voice within. He searched for the Warrior within. The man whom he has been with since he was a child. The warrior who inspired him to fight and to always win. The soul which he knew was made of steel. And the will which was forged through battles. And then Michael did the unthinkable. He removed his helmet and through it across the area from team blue was closing in. {Al though that would put Michael at great risk and an elimination from the referee if the referee thought it was getting too dangerous for Michael.} Seeing the helmet come towards them put team blue in a state of confusion. Was Michael quitting and letting team win or was this a sign that the match is over? And before they could come to a conclusion, they saw Michael emerge from the wall. “Lucky, covering fire!” he yelled and all the heads turned towards the right where Lucky was hiding. Within mili-seconds Lucky laid down nearly two members of team blue and before team blue could understand what was going on, Michael started firing and with perfect precision took out two more members of team blue. Veer, found cover behind a pile of tyres and Rick also found the same hiding place, just nearly missing the barrage of bullets which were being fired in his direction. It was now 2 on 2 and with only 60 seconds left on the timer, the crowd became silent. Even the wind stopped moving. It was like God put a pause on the rotation of the earth and he, himself was waiting how this round would turn out. When Michael came to check on Lucky, he knew that Lucky wouldn’t be able to continue as Lucky was hit multiple times on the leg and he wouldn’t be able to continue. As lucky was taken out of the arena by the referee he gave one last look to Michael. And with that Michael knew what he had to do. Michael took 3 deep breaths and fixed his eyes on the hiding position of his enemies, giving them, the 1,000 yards stare. It was like a Tiger waiting for his prey. But now, instead of the prey to come close, the Tiger would leap for the kill. And then when Veer and Rick were ready to finish the match by eliminating Michael, Michael jumped above the tyres right in the line of sight of Veer and Rick and before they knew it, he took them out with the 10 bullets he had left. Right then, the whistle blew and the round and match were over and the people sitting in the stands jumped high with celebration as they saw an exhilarating match with Warriors giving it their best all in the name of competition.

Chapter 5:

Conclusion …

The match was over and in the end Team Red won. All the men later congratulated each other and thanked each other for the great experience they had just a few moments ago. Al though Michael was bruised and battered by the falls and the dodges, he knew this was his best Battle yet. And when team Red raised their hands in Victory and Roars of Claps and Hoorahs when silent from the crowd, Michael went aside, to a lone corner and stood still with himself. He knew that was only a Paint Ball Game. That this was nothing like Actual Warfare, where brave men and women put their lives on the line. And even though all the others will laugh and drink and tell tales about this day for only a few passing moments in their lives, this victory, this moment would always and forever be a part of Michael. For Michael knew that he was always chosen by the gods. Chosen to fight and endure and persevere and to never give up. He knew he had a warrior in him and he knew that by by playing and winning this Paintball Match there, on that day was only the beginning of the conquest, the warrior within him had. Before he was about to leave and join the rest for Beers and Pizza, he just looked up at the Blue Sky and said, “Thank You.”

The End.

With All My Might,

Your No.1 Fan,

Mahaakshay Chakraborty.

"Courage, above all things, is the first quality of a warrior."