Posts Tagged ‘IPL’

Pitches, Balls and a Full Circle

May 20, 2008 3 comments

The Indian National Fetish of a Sport – Cricket; has come a full circle, not just metaphorically but in actuality.

It makes a very interesting case to put under the viewing glass so to speak. Pun intended. A sport that originated as an entertainment format, mostly popular amongst our Imperial Masters; infact one of the chief contributions of ‘The Raj’ to the nation, has returned to its roots – entertainment.

In the olden days of The Raj, we would have Gora Sahibs – settled, visiting, delegating; their days through the warmth (both social and climatic) of the subcontinent. They would have the Bhooras and the Kacharas and the Bhuwans all around them spend their time working deriliously through the heat while they would play a little, chit chat a little, screw a little (probably a lot), drink lemonade and repeat. Bliss. Entertainment at the very core.

As colonials however, the British did great good by first setting a legacy, then leting it permeate so deep into the society that inherently all their colonies became second Homes of the Queen. Soon we had nations playing it… and Not a couple of thousand square miles of land but a Full subcontinent, and just as many more – captured by frenzy of what their Gora Sahib’s did, we all picked up a Bat and a Ball and there we were! Now it just so happens that as a race, we’ve always been decidedly dedicated and serious about our stuff… If it be entertainment, then so be it! Nothing wrong with it… just what we are; a bunch of very serious people.

Of course, no master could tolerate their slaves bettering them! I mean, how sad does Captain Russell Look when Bhuwan Beats Him! Bhuwan – you did bad, you agitated the Brits. Come on Man! He had a potential girlfriend watching and you made him look bad… Not Good Manners. But more on that later.;

Enter Cricket as a sport.

So, all the cricket playing nations got into it – this time as a sport. With zest. With Vengeance. And Cricket became not just a sport but a passion so unparalleled that it belittled every other sport. Before we knew it, we were doing it all over the place. In gullies, in little rooms, on roads, in schools… every where you could have space to swing two arms. Naturally, this does to Cricket what Brazil does to Football! Everyone makes the sport sportier, more passionate, more involved. Streets would run empty when there was a big sporting rivalry! Nothing above Pride in this country after all.

Enter Me. And I inherited all of it. Before i knew how to tie my shoes, i knew how to swing a Bat. Maybe not well, but thats the entire Brain thing inside my head, which is oh so obvious and needs no mention… it had to be balanced by little less skill for playing Cricket. So then I did what 98% of India, that plays mediocrely does – Watch cricket. Live Cricket. Worship Cricket.

Down the line, actually before this entire scheme of me coming in and spoiling the fun; there were people who were born with such prowess that they knew they were special at the sport. That’s when it became a game. A Game where there were a few Good Men. And wherever there are Good Men, there is bound to be some stakes… In a fast commercializing world, all games were HUGE pots of Moolah! That was when some people realised, the wise ones ofcourse that people are so emotionally involved with it that they would invest moolah! And thus started Betting in the game, on the players, over the teams, fighting for the winner!

Now, i was a kid then but i wasn’t actually Naive to the entire scheme, but then I wasn’t averse to the idea of people making moolah over some thing that i actually worshipped; Pujaaris do that anyways! But then there was the prospect of More Money – by controlling the Betting. eh? Fix it, man!

And fine men, men i respected, those I devoted 9 hours just to watch play came on this route. I was 15, I guess. Some retired, some died mysteriously, the others just stumbled to appear clean. But the facade of naivete was broken. I gave up this religion.

Then there was a time of dismal interest in the game, general dishevelment I guess, there are bound to have been more like me who turned from staunchly religious to agnostic as regarded their stand on cricket – after all, why spend 9 hours on something that someone already knows all about! Naah…

Then there was Mandira Bedi. And Her… lets just say Sarees. For those who realised, that was Glam, entering Cricket. Cricket became more than a game, it became a TRP war… and all is fair in love and war.

Circa 2008. Enter IPL. Cricket goes back to where it came from. A form of entertainment; unparalleled as a moolah generating factory; unequivocally strong as a TRP Hoarder; Dazzlingly glamourous to the ever-willing-for-titilation audience.

Entertainment – Sport – Passion – Religion – Game – War – Entertainment. Everything that has a Beginning… Has an end. (Thank you Wachowsi Brothers)