The Global Stars On Indian Turf
The Global Stars on the Indian turf, explored with the four star polo players who have consistently came to the country to play the sport of kings.
It reminds me of nothing less than a movie scene, probably, a behind the scenes glimpse of the production house. The bright golden line of the sun meeting the silver shine of the misty morning, and under it on the dew of the early day fog, stood four handsome guys, laughing over a cup of 'chai'. A little inquisitive, a lot more excited, the four dapper looking polo boys had all the limelight of the day, more for the way they rejected the 'green tea' to brew the tastefulness of the desi cuisines. The world they epitomised had truly stepped in the hue of the country...
A canvas of the world on the Indian turf...
Matthew Philip Perry
Suited in his olive green jacket and well fit pants, he was bend rightly on the blue pool table among the other two boys swearing over the stick with a bet to show them an intelligent move. With concentrated eyes, and focused lips, aiming, he moved his hands in measured inches, still eyeing over the direction of the ball, and with a sudden sound the ball hovered into the hole. The seriousness of the eyes changed into the spark of a childlike spark, and followed it, a cracking laughter. Matthew Philip Perry, the +6 handicap polo player, is nowhere like the one you would find him on the field. Stripping away his shade of a hungry player on field, Matthew cheerfully spreads a wide smile the moment we sat in conversation with him saying "Hello." His quick smile reminding me of the Matthew he is off the field, where every kid on the ground is familiar to him as they are to any Indian player. " Oh, India has always been pretty good." Turning back with a sudden jerk to get a catch of the polo match in action just behind him, he added, "I have made so many friends here", to which he looked up to pass a happy smile to Simran.
Being a man who had been into the sport since the age of 12, and one who has been to India for three years in a row, Matthew points on how the game can be enhanced here in the country. "I know the game has improved a lot since I have seen it in the country, but the one thing that is of importance is the fields. A few more fields can upgrade the level to an extent, for the fields here are not enough to the amount of the polo that is played here." Adding more to his understanding of the game here, he claimed, "The game here is more competitive than back in England, here a -2 handicap player plays as good as a +0 back in home." Adjusting back in his chair, he suddenly recalled dwelling into a memory lane, " The first year, I came to the country, everything was so difficult", holding on to a laugh of the pastness, he added, "especially the food." Unwrapping his veg wrap, he extended, "Oh, I can eat all sorts of Indian food now, with all the spices. It's been three years now that I have been coming to the country, it is more like a second home", he remarked while biting a big slice of his spicy wrap. Getting up for some ketchup, he suddenly sat back to add in quick whisper, "Hey, but don't tell this to people back at my home!"
The Indian Polo:
Matthew Philip Perry draws his attention towards the condition of Indian Polo where he suggested, “The only thing that we could improve in Polo here is the fields. Probably one or two more fields in the city ( New Delhi) can add to a lot of improvement.” Adding further he remarked, “ All we need is to took after the grounds, I know it has been improved as I have seen it myself in these three years, but I don’t think that’s not enough for the amount of Polo that is played here.” Putting light on the game once again, Matthew continued, “The lower level game here is much more competitive, as the players excel a lot making the game much more fast and unpredictable.”
The rust of introvertism lies in his grey eyes. A man of aura around himself, Gerardo Mazzini is the guy who will attract you with his wavy chestnut hair resting roughly over his dark eyebrows persuading the poetry of his long lashes securing his prepared grey eyes. Dwelled in the dark humor of wit, Mazzini would steal the light the way he walks towards you while wearing his grey jacket after a quick workout. Smelling earthly of horses, grass and polo, he sat with a smirk and another cup of chai, remarking, “ Well I am Gerardo Mazzini, a professional polo player.” Squinting his eyes, he enchanted his story from the days of the past, where he told us, “I started playing polo when I was nine, all because my father was in the army, he had horse, and once I started playing chukkers, I never stopped” and he literally never stopped.
Running fingers through his wavy hair holding a persistent smile he justified his passion for polo to my inquisitive thought, “ Polo is my life, I wake up thinking of Polo and go to bed thinking of Polo. Polo is all about competition and I like to compete.” Turning in his chair, his eyes laid swiftly over the fancy set table, getting back in his original position he pointed, “Back in 2001, when I came for the first time to India, I could not eat the Indian food. But now I have got use to the spicy food, I like that kind of food . Now I go everywhere and I can eat like Indians.” Talking about India, I asked about his memory of the country, “ Here it has been a pure experience, they share the love and care for you. Once, I had a match, but I did not have my equipments. I borrowed, knee pads, stick, mallet, and boots. Everyone here, came up for a help.” Standing up with quick hustle, Mazzini digged his hand to carry his boots over his shoulder and cup of chai in another hand, he went past saying to himself, “Now I will go to try on my clothes” and in a smirking wink gestured a bye with his eyes.
The Indian Polo:
Recalling the days of the past in India, Mazzini reflected, “ I have been playing here since 2001, it’s been 17 years now. Since then, the game has changed a lot, especially the horses. Back then, there use to be only Indian horses and no imported ones. As of now, the game has much more improved due to the importation of Argentine horses. All these things make the game a lot more competitive.” Comparing the texture of the game in India and in Argentina, he sharply recommended that, “ The fields are lacking here, they are obviously getting better, but the country needs more fields. The deal is, to improve the level of the game, you need to come up with more fields.”
Raul R Laplacette
Standing tall, every eye could remember the look of his face decorated with the tangend smile, luring eyes, and the boyish air. Holding the mallet over his shoulder covered in a blue jacket, Raul leaned on the tree with his eyewears on, and in a sudden chuck gave a flashy model smile. Affluently adapting to the taste of the country, Raul lifted his hand in a thumbs up remarking "thik hai" (okay) after the shoot before he began to walk towards us. The long face endured in the sharp jawline shadowed with the early morning shaved look united with the romantic smile made him no less than a model who could have been featured right on the cover of any global magazine. His masculinity as a rough player made his dotting face only more poesy; breaking the dream he comforted himself in the cushiony chair, "Chalo Chalo" (let's go), he said, signalling us to get into a talk about him an his sport, " Polo, for me has always been a family thing. I learned it from my father, who played polo and then my grandfather, he too played the game."
Taking a quick sip from his cup of tea kept just by his side, he remarked, "Infact, what I feel is, Polo must be induced in the younger kids, they are the future of the game. If that is not done anytime soon, it is hard for the game to grow." Looking around, he waved at a bunch of kids playing the game with hand made mallets, calling one of them and twitching his long fingers in the hair of the kid, Raul looked at us to complete, "They, they are the future. The investment must be made on them." Tapping on his shoulder, he signalled the child the carry on the game and reflected on the his time in India, " It has been just 20 days that I have been in the country, and I am battling with a rough time adapting to the nature of the fields," tossing his hands over his strong jaw line, he smirked saying, "but the house I live in is wonderful. They have welcomes me openly." Distracting with the noise of the game in action just behind him, he jumped in his chair with amazement, "Players here are fantastic , and Polo is wonderful. I used to play tennis as well," bending down he adjusted his shoes adding, "not that nice though."
The Indian Polo:
“People here are very passionate about Polo,” remarked Raul with a smile, and commenting upon the game in the country he continued, “ Polo is almost always same in every country, it is just a few little things here and there that makes it different. Per say, the horses; you need time to know the horses, you don’t know them and suddenly you are playing 6-7 new horses which you have no idea what they do. That is the difficult part maybe.” Multiplying his views he reflected, “The climate is great that it does not rain, so if they say there is a game, the game is there! And when it comes to the grounds, it’s just that they are a little bit bounchy, but then it is all about getting use to them.”
He will grab your attention, not because he is the bad boy of the guy, but for his quiet personality. His lean body, would pass by you subtly, making you turn heads, for he would sit among the crowd, but away from it, in a compose gesture of shyness. In a innocent smile he would escape meeting your eyes, and with slightly trembling lips break his words from his heart. Slowly picking his cup from the saucer, he started, "This is my third time in India, and I have been playing in Manipur all the while." Keeping down his cup by his side, he added, "But this is my first time in Delhi and it is great to play for Jindals", with a flash. Suddenly looking up to the cheerful voice of Simran Singh Shergill, Phil ducked in a mischieves smile with his tongue between his teeth. Teasing him, Simran brought the shy side of Phil to some covers for a while, after which getting into ease with the flow of the conversation, he opened to us about his view on the game, "I feel umpiring could be improved to a greater level.
I remember how once we did not had any professional player in the game and everyone started giving their viewpoints. This is although not bad, but it is also not at all professional." Wandering deeply now, he started to turn red when another though hovered his mind, "I think it is about the horses and the fields as well, we need a deep improvement towards them as well. Only if we have more fields, like we have back home in England, I believe the standards of the game can increase a whole new level." Meeting our eyes, he looked down once again to slowly pick up his cup of chai. The shy boy had the corner of everyone towards him.
The Indian Polo:
With a keen eye on the game, the +2 handicap polo player, Phil Seller notified his views on the Indian Polo, saying, “ The game here is very different from that back in my home country (England), but the players are competitive maintaining the game to a good standard. One thing that is lacking here in the country is the amount of grounds. Back home we have a lot of grounds that affects the style of the play, for Polo could be a lot more following but the ground here does not allow it to be so. That is just what is missing.”