Saturday, March 15, 2008
A Grand(ma) commentary on the state of cricket circa 2008
My elderly aunt from Pune (who had some questions about Brangelina in Pune earler) was visiting us. A typical, naturally superior Punekar, she is not a fan of Mumbai weather. That being so, and given that she is enjoying the eighth decade of her life, she spends a lot of time indoors, some of it , watching TV.
Living with a typical Mumbai middle class family with a single TV connection, and several cricket mad members, sometimes she is forced to watch cricket, instead of, say, an old marathi movie. Being intrinsically a smart lady, she learns new things very fast. This time she ended up watching the CB series finals(with all the associated commentary), which she did with great enthusiasm, quietly lighting the diya in the puja room when India had 2 overs left to bowl. (Imagine hundreds of grandmothers doing this across India, and you start sympathizing with the Indian Gods, all 64 crores of them...).
Basically interested only when Tendulkar is playing, she is firmly convinced that in particular , guys like Symmonds and Hayden are up to tricks, and are basically, bullies. And the less said about Ponting, the better it is. She doesn't trust him.
She finds this whole auction stuff confusing. Have we sunk so low that we now sell people ?
"All this drinking of Bournevita and Boost, riding motorcycles ,playing cricket on top of municipal buses....they earn so much. Where was the need to sit around and get sold like cauliflower ? " she asked, simultaneously disdainfully throwing cucumber peels into an already burgeoning trash bag, a fine example of her multitasking capabilities while watching cricket.
Someone tries to explain the IPL and ICL stuff.
"You mean they actually paid so many thousands to the guy who started the nonsense in Sydney ? Someone called him a monkey and he went crying to the judge ? Who gave which bad words to who, and our newspapers have nothing else to report ?
We tell her its not thousands , its hundreds of thousands, even crores....
"For what ? And why get the supercilious chap who keeps chewing and spitting stuff the whole day ? All, that chewing and spitting stuff into your palms and rubbing them. Chee. "
By mistake she once saw an ICL match in progress.
"It wont work"
"Where is the need to have girls is missing clothes, dance to show what's missing, everytime someone hits beyond the fence? Are they hitting the boundary to bring attention to whats happening at the boundary line ?"
Then she read in the newspaper about some team from the south planning to display Indian dance moves at the boundary line, to "honour" our "culture".....
"What have we we come to? Vinasha kalay viparita buddhi......I remember someone trying to have classical sitar performances in one of the fancy restaurants at the Taj at one time, and how everyone crticized the move. And here we go , doing tirakita-dha on the boundary everytime someone whips the ball past the white line. Do you ever see anyone performing ballet moves and piroetting behind the goal post when a goal is hit at football matches in Italy? "
What completely gets her aghast is the people who are supposed to be buying these teams.
"Looks like you have to be a dancing actor, a modern actress, a daruwala (sorry Mr Mallya, thats what she calls you), or shining industrywallah to have a team of your own. I mean I have heard of people buying and gifting jewellery, clothes, even houses to family members. Do we now look forward to news items that scream across headlines saying "XYZ of PQR industries buys Yuvraj Singh for the team, to commemorate his daughters engagement or something ?"
Then there is this thing of Shoaib Akhtar. Doesnt impress her at all. All show, and more trouble, is how she describes him. Fails to understand how he was a choice in the first place, forget someone bidding for him.
All this fuss for 44 days of the year ?
"Our team was playing cricket so well recently. Such a good example and inspiration for little boys. Work hard, don't get distracted by stupid idle talk on the pitch. And then they spoil it all by selling themselves for money.
She thinks all matches should be like the CB Series Sydney and Brisbane finals. Indians playing as Indians, Australians as Australians; each playing proudly for their country, and not primarily for money. No need to have weird mixed teams.
And like she says, putting a totapuri mango in a hapoos basket, doesn't make the totapuri mango a hapoos.
But there is just one thing that bothers her no end.
How can anyone think they can BUY Sachin ?