Everybody must have heard the word The Best Boxer, but The Best Looser, in the game of boxing is rarely to be heard. Whereas, On the other hand, the best loser stands equally eloquent and momentous, as the former. In most armies in the world, boxing is considered to be the finest test of a contender joining the army. It genuinely exhibits the most hidden aspect of a human being in the face of a visible and approaching punch, if lands at the right place will definitely show twinkling stars in broad daylight and quiet for some time, because after the first drop of rain, there follows the uninterrupted line of drops.
It was about 40 years back, once I as a Gentleman cadet heard for the first time in my life, that to get a commission in the army one has to fight 3 rounds of 3minutes each, a crude novice boxing. Before that I had only watched the boxing of the great Muhammad Ali on TV screens, having zero exposure to this game was not a stigma or plus point. Every cadet was to participate against each other, in their weight category. So we had our seniors our mentors and psycho/physical trainers/coaches. A mere fifteen days’ time before jumping in the boxing ring was graciously awarded. We have to keep pace with all other hectic and cumbersome study/training routines during light hours, with a complete night at our disposal. A constant lecture, threat, and challenge being engraved by every senior in our hearts and mind where you have to emerge as victor come what may! Otherwise… otherwise forget your dream of becoming an officer. The first and foremost lesson was never to duck, turn your face or show your back in the face of a coming punch on the nose, eyes and mouth areas. We were to take initiative in our own hands and attack our opponents with the single aim of knocking him down ASP. Simple! As easy as falling a log, or an ABC. It was a matter of do or die, less losing your bout.
So here comes the fine morning, when I was to enter the ring, the single aim of my life at this critical juncture to keep my childhood dream alive was, to win my fight comprehensively and gracefully. Still can vividly recount how the tick tick of the table clock kept me awake the whole night. Early in the morning, bowed my head in front of my Creator with a single petition, an entreaty to win my fixture with dignity and honour fairly. In the core of my heart and mind win was the only word now. I remained so obsessed with my own win that could not even fathom what all kept going around, who were the winners and who losers around before my fight commenced. It only came into being and alive, once my name was announced. I had one thing in mind a WIN, after the preliminaries, and the caution by bout referee here starts the first round.
In my mind, heart and soul were to take the initiative, hit my opponent with full force, to destabilize him for the further onslaught. Alas! The sheer velocity and momentum developed by both boxers culminated/landed Big Bang, right on my nose first, fracturing it instantly. Now the blood oozed like water gushing out of the fountain, and momentarily it was pitch dark all around…my feet lost balance for a second, but I regained/recollected myself with sheer willpower. Still, without feeling or fearing it, I was advancing time and again to hit the opponent. At times I could sense he was a bit reluctant, sort of fearful of my advances. The first round went. Came back to my corner and got a pat from the coach (senior) with a piece of advice to continue with the same zeal and zest. I simply ignored that my white vest has already turned blood red. In the second and third rounds, again and again, I charged to knock my opponent down with a flurry of punches, and succeeded in hitting quite a few, at the end of the final round I felt elated with new vigour, wild cheering, buck up going around in the arena. At the end of the fight got surprised, when declared to be a loser, but a Best Looser. At this announcement, there was more roaring, cheering happiness in my supporters. I was immediately checked by the doctor, supervising the boxing, at once evacuated to the hospital. I felt dejected being a loser, without envisaging the blood-soaked not only the vest but the white shorts also; even socks/shoes were red. I remained for three days in the Military hospital, somewhat enjoying the leisure and calm to have day-night sleep. But losing the game was a constant source of depression. After rejoining the academy, I got the surprise of my life, once the line of my seniors/colleagues started pouring into my room. Everyone was full of appreciation and pat. Even my opponent dropped in, paying tributes, he explained that after receiving the very first punch, my nose was bleeding intensely, and my face was completely soaked with blood, still I was charging towards him repeatedly. That he got alarmed, I should not be seriously harmed, because of excess bleeding. He appreciated my spirit, determination, vigour and zeal heartily. Then I realized being declared the best loser was not a trivial achievement. Since the best loser was to be awarded a medal along with the Best Boxer, and that comes as what may accept as an integrity case, the Best loser was destined to get a commission in the army. I did get the commission, spent 24 years, now being retired, and still can touch and feel my fractured nose.