Ours was a school known for academic excellence. We had never done well in any inter-school sports. But in 2001, we decided that we were going to win a prize. We were not going to train for all the events. We would put all our efforts into the 200 meters X 4 relay. Accordingly, I trained hard with the other four runners including Vishal the reserve.

On the day of the run our confidence collapsed completely. Our last and best runner Ashutosh was down with flu. We were shaken, we had trained Vishal for all the positions except the position of the last runner. Vishal himself set about to console us and assured us that he would run as the last runner and would not disappoint the rest of us.

All eyes were on him as he received the baton without flaw from Ronny who was the third man. The whole school began to chant, Go Vishal Go! And he went. We had never seen anything like it. He seemed to be seized by a demon, a good one of course, and dashed all the way to the tape leaving the other teams far behind. He made such a gallant effort that even the other schools cheered for him. When he touched the tape we went  wild. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Vidyalaya, Borivali (W), had made a mark for itself in the sports arena.

When our team was invited to receive the winner’s trophy, we pushed Vishal for reward even though I was the team captain. Vishal marched up to the stage and received the trophy. After the event we all gathered around Vishal and congratulated him and each other. Next, our own principal came followed by some teachers and parents to congratulate us. Before going home that day, the four of us went to visit Ashutosh at his home to show him the trophy. After all the victory was his as well.

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