The legend of 'Gooch'

The legend of 'Gooch'

An image of the stylish Essex batsman would flash before my eyes whenever I met him.

Recently, we inadvertently played the game of Chinese whispers. It so happened that my husband’s cousin had got hitched to a young man who answered to the nickname “Gooch.”  That was some time back. The reason for this christening, we found out from a “reliable” source, was that he had played cricket at some level at his birthplace, Hyderabad, and his batting style resembled that of the great English cricketer, Graham Gooch.

We were pretty impressed. So, the image of the stylish batsman from Essex would flash before my eyes whenever I met this charming young man. Thus, a legend was born around this young entrant to our extended family. 

Another wedding happened in the family lately and we all got together again. It was a loud, boisterous reunion after a long while. “Why is he called Gooch?” somebody asked. “Oh, he was a cricketer, a Ranji level player and, apparently, he batted like Graham Gooch,” my husband replied rather knowingly.

“No, no, he is named after an English football player,” another cousin considered closer to the cousin in question rebutted. “There has been no player who went by that name,” my son who follows the game keenly, waved his hand dismissively.

“Let’s ask the man himself,” came a suggestion. The young man at the centre of all the attention finally got a chance to speak. “I resembled a Chinese table tennis player named Gooch when I was young, hence the name,” he grinned rather tamely, quite embarrassed at the saga woven around him. “Lo! He has been named after a badminton player and look at all the stories going around,” I addressed my husband without properly listening in. “There it goes again, it’s not a badminton player, but a table tennis player,” somebody cut me short.

We all raised our hands in mock exasperation and had a hearty laugh. It surely looked like a round of Chinese whispers where the original message gets distorted by the time it reaches its final recipient and comes out as a completely new and, more than often, an amusing version.

Such family gatherings tend to generate a lot of gossip. Who is cosying up to whom, who royally snubbed whom, why somebody’s over-the-age son/ daughter has not married yet, who is seeing whom; such hearsay provides enough fodder for a few days at least after the event. It keeps the folks engaged as they can’t resist the temptation to call each other up to exchange notes.

It’s a fun pass time, though half the stories doing the rounds turn out to be far, far away from the truth at the end of the day as one discovers later. A game of Chinese whispers in real life, I suppose.
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