Uncle Rufus was an excellent sportsman in his youth , a bachelor he turned into a coach with time and had coached many who became part of the state and the national team too .
He was particularly keen on coaching younger boys aged around 10 to 15 and even at a ripe age of above seventies a robust Rufus uncle would be in the Fort Cochin parade grounds come rain or sun without fail to train his wards every evening .
He is now in his eighties and i hear he still continues .
Shyam too had gone to his classes for more than three years ,Rufus uncle as he was fondly called was a fatherly coach he never chided the boys but loved them but was also strict with their physical fitness and football skills ,he made them play in heavy rain soaked to their skins or in blistering heat ,many of his older students would never fail to visit him when in Cochin and also help out in training others
Shyam too got an opportunity to see his favorite Rufus uncle recently .
there is a small side story in this
shyams mother always gave him the right amount of money for the bus fare and not a paisa more as he used to travel alone to his football coaching .
once in a while when i was free i used to go to pick him up ,
once he asked me if he could have some fresh cakes in the bakery hotel in Fort Cochin famous for its soft pastries ,so we both went there .
A waiter came grinned widely looking at Shyam and said
"hi shyam didnt see you for long time " ,
my son immediately looked at him and fiercely started nodding at him and pointing at me with his eyebrows ,but i caught it and asked the waiter so he comes here often is it ?
"of course shyam is a regular ",i looked at a sheepish shyam
" and what do you come here for ?
" well to have some pastries " ,
but " where is the money after all your mother gives you just enough for the bus "
" most of the bus crew know me well and take only half the fare so i use it to buy this "
,i was laughing inside but i acted angry and told him if he wants to buy pastry or eat anything he needs to ask and not do things on the sly .
one more lesson he learnt while learning football