Like an oasis in a desert

HOCKEY YEAR BOOK By K. Arumugam

(Published by Field Hockey Publications, J-1/31, Flat No. D2, Khiriki Extension, Malaviya Nagar, New Delhi 110 017)

Price: Rs. 400

K. Arumugam is an avid chronicler cast in a different mould. True, figures fascinate him; but he also writes with noticeable flourish, often displaying a sharp eye to pick the negatives and evaluate them critically. The verve in his writing underscores a passion that blends beautifully with his love for hockey.

Over the years, the author has managed to introduce several new areas into the year book. For any hockey buff, the Hockey Year Book is a splendid companion, and a delight for those statistically minded. It goes without saying that HYB 2008 fulfils the expectations of the hockey fans.

The volume meticulously details what hockey is all about both from the Indian point of view and from an international perspective. The year 2008 signalled a cataclysmic phase for India in more than one sense — the height of the tragedy being the nation’s failure to make it to the Beijing Olympics. The author captures the poignant moments of the Olympic qualifier and terms it “a monumental, collective failure.”

A comprehensive coverage of all other competitions enhances the value of HYB 2008. Facts and figures are the soul and substance of the book. The results of various tournaments have been painstakingly compiled for posterity.

HYB 2008 is probably the only compendium available for hockey lovers. In the absence of any worthy literature in hockey, a sport that has seen eight Olympic gold medals, Arumugam’s work is like an oasis in a desert.

S. Thyagarajan