Jagannath Metrani’s little finger on his right hand is his best friend. It has earned him fame in the carrom circuit although not a fortune.
Metrani plays competitive carrom with just his little finger. And just as one marvels at his skills, your eyes turn towards his left side that doesn’t have an arm. The forty nine-year-old Vikhroli resident reached the second round of the ongoing Swami Vivekananda Memorial State Ranking carrom tournament at Shivaji Park’s Bengal Club recently when he lost to Ashok Kharat 25-6, 25-11.
In a Hubli train accident at the age of seven, he lost his left arm and all but one finger on his right hand.
Metrani’s love for carrom developed six years later when he left his Karnataka dwelling and settled down in Mumbai’s Goregaon.
“After watching my neighbours play the game, I wanted to try my hand at it. When I expressed my desire to play, they ridiculed me. It was then I started practising on my own and worked hard on my game,” Metrani told MiD DAY yesterday.
He slowly began gaining acceptance and was no more someone who the neighbourhood shunned.
Carrom helped him find employment at a now defunct club in Goregaon where he taught carrom to kids. After the club shut down in 2004, Metrani was deprived of regular income.
He set up his own ‘club’ outside his home in Vikhroli. This helps him earn his daily crust while wife Sangeeta does stitching to feed their family of two kids. Metrani says the ‘club’ earns him Rs 150 a day.
Metrani was a force to reckon with on the circuit in the 1990s, a period that saw him reach No 2 in state carrom. Family pressures caused a dip in form and a few semi-final finishes in some events were considered his best efforts.
Despite losing on Sunday, Metrani was at the Bengal Club yesterday to watch current World Champion Yogesh Pardeshi of Pune.
Pardeshi was mighty impressed after watching Metrani play a friendly game yesterday. “If he can do all this with one finger, I wonder what he would have done with a normal hand. He is truly God-gifted and his concentration is outstanding.”
Metrani idolises Suhas Kambli, Arun Deshpande and former two-time world champion from Tamil Nadu Maria Irudayam.
Maharashtra State Carrom Association Honorary Secretary Arun Kedar plans to have a benefit event for Metrani.
Asked about how he is able to muster strength to play shots with his little finger, Metrani turned emotional. “You have watched me play. I need not explain too much, but I use all the strength of my little finger,” he said.
Some things in life are inexplicable. Especially when it comes to wonders like Jagannath Metrani.