table tennis
Racketeering. Check the Compass marks on the bat on the right. The bat on the left is my weapon of choice – much lighter. I used to play with the heavy bat, but now stick with this.

It’s been a couple of months in the new place and I finally get some competitive games in the table tennis room. Games were few in between as not many residents made the trek up to the games room. I saw the billiard board scraped a bit, but ping pong looked lonely i.e. till I made the late evenings my walk time and bumped into a couple of hard boiled paddlers.

Now with a couple of professionals for company, I get to play some real good games after a long long time. I guess the last long stretch of competitive table tennis was in my school days. Considering that, it took me only a few games to get into the groove. I may not win, but I can sure give these two pro’s a run for their money. They appear to be the Republic Day finalists that people were talking about. Few more consistent weeks at the table and I should be a considerable challenge.

While working out at the table tennis table it was also pointed out about a fault in my service game. I need to toss the ball a bit more to give the right impression to referees and ensure that there is some ‘air ball’ before its served. Point taken, my service game is curtailed a bit, but I am getting there.

Kamlesh Mehta
Kamlesh Mehta
Jan Ove-Waldner
Jan Ove-Waldner

Table tennis was always a huge draw for me. I wasn’t a great player but did enough to make it to the last 16 in one tournament – my best shot. I remember being influenced by Kamlesh Mehta and Jan Ove-Waldner. Both were wizards with the paddle, Mehta the Indian champ for nearly a decade and the Swede on the world stage. It was a treat watching them play, with Doordarshan‘s sport runs showcasing quite a bit of the game. The greatest thrill was getting the right angle to smash the ball across the table with the right level of aggression and finesse. It’s a game that tests your patience and hand-eye coordination to the extreme.

Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) approved bats from the ’90s still hold good for me. I use the light Shanghai bat while the GKI bats had to have a side scraped with a compass to enable spin. The bat remains in my possession with the compass marks. Still going strong with a good top spin.


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