Cricket and I have had a long, uncomfortable and interesting history. It has been in my life ever since the time I have had a man sitting next to me beginning with my father. I have wanted to write about it for a long time but I always felt that I would be biased and negative. So I've decided to tell you a little bit about the good things about cricket which ofcourse are few and far between but there nevertheless.
The very first memory I have is when we had a black and white tv and my father would sit in front of it and my mother and I would give him company. At this point I think I was too young to have had any real opinion. When my father shouted in excitement- 'Chakka!!!' I would happily clap along with him bringing the house down banging his palms against one another. I am yet to meet someone who can clap louder than my father or for that matter laugh louder and more openly than him. He clearly enjoys his happiness and cricket is a big part of it.
So let's talk about Pakistan. Yes obviously we want them to lose but what about Imran Khan. I still remember the slow motion shots of him taking a run up and his beautiful hair bouncing up and down. It almost made me wish he would get a wicket even when he was bowling against India.
In any case I have seen that whenever I show any real interest in a cricket match India loses. As a matter of fact if I root for any person or team they lose. If I make a bet on a sport I lose. If I play cards I lose. If I play scrabble I lose. If I play pictionary I lose. If I play tabboo ( this new game I've recently discovered) I lose. I always win at Ludo. I used to insist Anshuman play with me so I could win and be happy. He actually did play for some time till we both got bored of it and switched to playing rummy. I did win at rummy sometimes. I think I used to keep playing till I won. It made for long nights but finally I found happiness in winning and Anshuman relief in finally having lost.
So let's get back to cricket. One day a friend of mine told me that someone in the neighbourhood had got a colour tv. I was so excited that I couldn't hold myself. We ran to that house which was on the ground floor fortunately. We hung from the veranda wall and looked into the living room with the beautiful colour tv. Naturally there was a cricket match on. For a long time I hung from that wall with my feet dangling below and enjoyed the match with the green grass and colourful audience. It was lovely.
Then there was the time India won the world cup. Ravi Shastri won an Audi and the whole team sat in the car and roamed around the cricket ground. I remember feeling very happy. Unfortunately India has not repeated that feat. I hate to admit there have been times when I have sat in front of the tv hoping India would win and they lose and I feel cheated and it makes me wonder if it's me or them.
Earlier people loved cricket just as much as today but now when I look at the tv screen and go through the pre match and the mid match and the post match analysis. It makes me bonkers. Earlier I can hardly remember who were the commentators or for that matter who the umpire was. Ok I do remember Dicky Bird but that's just because he has a funny name.
Anyway I think nowadays the match has become more of a power point presentation when all that matters finally is whether the 11 idiots on our side can get the 11 idiots on their side out or not. Then there is the cricket technology no that is not typo it is not just technique which is totally another ball game but the technology. The stupid banners which come on in between selling cell phones and some little animated people come and dance when someone goes out. I remember one really nice animation of a duck walking along a player when he got out on Zero. Now that used to be fun.
Someone please tell the commentators to stop talking about the weather. It's like they REALLY have nothing better to talk about. I can actually empathise with Harsha Bhogle's daily struggle formulating the same question in 50 different ways so that Gawaskar and Shastri can sound intelligent about the freaking weather.
That's it I'm too pissed now. Even writing about it pisses me off. I started out with all good intentions and look where I am now.
So I'll give it another shot.
I forgive cricket for him.