December 3rd, 2014: It seemed as though PGP students of IIM Shillong were waiting for the arrival of this day with more anticipation than that of the first day of placements. After several breath-taking matches that had been held throughout the course of the tournament, we were left with two deserving finalists. These two individuals had proven themselves to be the personification of dexterity with the paddle in hand. When our beloved Hostel Committee sent out the mail for the match between Vangal Srinath and Aditya Kansal, all of us, almost simultaneously, realized two things – firstly, that this match was going to be one for the ages and secondly, that this match would give the winning batch ultimate bragging rights.
The first set showed everyone why the two players deserved their spot in the limelight. Smashes back and forth coupled with intricate shots from both ends, provided the crowd with entertainment of the highest quality. Vangal and Aditya were treating it more like a chess match, rather than a ping pong game. They were going neck and neck, and before we knew it, “Deuce!” shouted the referee. Vangal eventually won the set, but Aditya gave a quick, calming glance directed towards his batch mates and we instantly knew that this was far from over.
The second set was dominated by Aditya Kansal. He managed to figure out a chink in Vangal’s armour and exploited it like a shrewd tactician. The huge crowd from the senior batch were worried to say the least. The fact that they would have to lose to their juniors was something that was simply unacceptable to them. However, despite the incessant rants of the senior batch, Kansal remained unfazed. With forehands as strong as steel, and a defense as impenetrable as iron, Aditya managed to beat Vangal by a huge margin of eleven points, thereby taking the second set.
As the euphoric juniors cheered for Aditya, silent seniors wondered if the third set would be a mere formality. However, just as the juniors were beginning to prepare for the celebrations, Vangal hit a smash that startled Aditya, as well as all of his junior batch’s brethren. Suddenly, Kansal was down 6 points to 3 and that is when things started to go downhill for him. Vangal seemed to have ice water running through his veins, and the task at hand, was becoming increasingly difficult with each of his calculated and precise shots. One last smash became the final nail in the coffin for our ‘Kansal’-ting club member and Vangal’s hand was raised in victory.
Even though Aditya sported a smile on his face, we all knew that deep down, he was really disappointed. Vangal, being the sportsman that he is, congratulated him on a hard fought battle. Aditya’s supporters were ecstatic to say the least and Vangal was the man of the moment. Hugs and handshakes throughout the recreational room, was a fitting end to an exceptional table tennis tournament organized by our Hostel Committee and saying that we are in eager anticipation of next year’s tournament, would be a gross understatement.
This article is authored by Sumon Chaudhuri, a student at IIM Shillong. He is enthusiastic about marketing and has a flair for theatricality in almost everything he does. He also enjoys writing and is a proud member of IIM Shillong’s Literary Committee, Symphony