Monday, March 19, 2007

Mix and match

Finally, India and Pakistan are bonded in true brotherhood. The 'let-any-random-team-saunter-over-and-beat-us' brotherhood. I did not watch the match but I heard enough about it from the very upset man who I live with. When we started watching the match, he was excited, I was ho-hum. When India had wasted many many overs and made only about 100 runs, I asked Viv, "Yeh kya ho raha hai yaar? I think I wanna go to sleep."

"Hmmm..." He said, and suddenly out of the blue asked,
"How many will India make?"

Him asking me that was really weird. I know less than 1% of the cricket he knows. But he looked really serious, as if he really expected me to come up with the magic number. But then he does believe that I can be freakily intuitive at times, which is a lot of pressure, I admit.


"192." I took a deep breath and answered fearlessly.

"Hmmm..."

"What do you think?" I asked.

"Hmmm... maybe around 210?" He said.

"Hmmm okay. Good night."

"You're really going to sleep?"

"Jeet jayenge yaar. Aise hi karte hain yeh log. Phir end mein jeet jaate hain." I said and went inside.

The next I heard from him was around 5 in the morning. "Waat lag gayi yaar." He said as he got into bed. I wasn't sure if I was dreaming so I did not reply. At a more usual morning hour, he gave me the details. So one of my predictions had turned out true (well almost, missed by only one run) and the other didn't quite make it.

It was called the day of upsets. And I had to deal with a very upset man in the house. You know the man is upset when he calls up his father-in-law and says, "I'm very upset." I'm sure my Dad must have freaked out thinking Viv had broken another hand or something, but when he found out what the upsetting news was, he found himself unable to console the chap. You see, my Dad is the kind of person who thinks that a wide ball is a ball that has a manufacturing defect, and a no ball happens when the ball is hit for a six so far they never really find it.

Viv also went to great lengths to describe how badly we played and how badly the teenagers from Bangladesh whacked us, and how badly in need of fitness our team is. I also had to hear in great detail how the layer of fat in Sehwag's belly bounced higher than the ball when he jumped after taking a catch.

And as the upset man described all this to me, I had a guilty feeling. The guilt of not feeling. And then it struck me - how detached I had become. Even though I still supported India, I would always support India, and would never be able to support any other team, even if India was knocked out. Not even countries that are close to my heart like Pakistan and New Zealand. And well, Cambodia doesn't play cricket so that's easy. But this time, I seemed to not even care about how India played. And that guilt was trickling in.

The last world cup had been so different. Viv and I were neighbours then. He lived in the flat opposite mine with two guys and I lived with two girls. We were all good friends and would gather in his flat to watch the world cup matches. On the days that India played, the guys would wear the team India T-shirts (I really wanted one, but they were too big. Besides, I hate T-shirts with collars. I wanted the team India cap very badly (still do) but somehow couldn't get my hands on one) and I'd either wear something Indian or wear something that had any of the tricolours. Even though I didn't know (still don't!) all the terms and rules of the game, I could sustain myself on the emotion that I felt for my team.

I remember applying for half-day leave for a match once, and my boss (who was also one of my closest friends at work) said, "I'd have suspected you're going to attend an interview with the competitors, but looking at your weird costume today, I think not." I grinned sheepishly. It was true - I was wearing a bright saffron T-shirt with some white text on it, and an army green short skirt. And dark blue shoes. But in those days, cricket made you so superstitious you lost all sense of fashion. I had put together all the colours of the Indian flag and I did not bother if they went together well or not. And hell, it was not even casual friday. And yet, somehow I did not care. You never know what could work with India (anyone remember the 'Whenever I wear a pink dupatta, Jadeja makes a century' ad from the ye olde days?). Even in school days, my sister and I would be watching the matches and if we played really badly, she'd say "Ok if we switch off the TV for 5 minutes, things will improve." And we would actually do it, and yes, things did improve!

During the last World Cup, India was playing rather badly in some match and just as I went to the toilet, Sachin hit a six. I still remember how Viv's flatmates insisted that I stay in the toilet for the next two overs. And I did. Only for one over though. The moment I stepped out, Sachin got out. Yeah, I got scolded as if it really was my fault. The freakiest part is - a part of me actually believed it was my fault.


And I guess that is why I got detached over the four years leading to this world cup. The superstitions, the suspense, the predictions, the heartbreaks - they were really getting to me. Not to mention the tears at the 2003 finals. I still remember the multiple face-washing sessions. It took me a very very very long time to get over the finals. And that's when I decided perhaps it was time for me to gently move away. All this was not good. It was exhausting and emotionally draining because that's all the mind could think of. Did I say mind? Cricket is not exactly a sport in which the mind has a say - it's a game of the heart. A game of heartbeats. A game of heartbreak. At times I actually wished it was simple, logical, practical. But it wasn't. I decided that I did not have to break away completely - perhaps I could just objectively watch a match or two (only those featuring India of course) but not get too involved especially during the World Cup.

And so I thought I could get by this World Cup without the madness of the last one. I was totally prepared for this year's World Cup - I was not going to get all upset no matter what happened to the Indian team.

But I guess my preparation was not enough. One match is all it took. One match which should have strengthened my decision to not get too emotionally involved, but the opposite happened. One match is all it took to bring out all the mixed feelings in me, to make me realise that cricket can never be about only one type of feeling - it's always a mix. The highs will be too high and the lows will be too low. That's how it is. Just one match, and I want to go over to the other side already. The side of upset people. The side of Viv and the likes of him. I think I belong there.

And sometimes being upset is not all that bad if you have someone to be upset with, nahin?



23 comments:

Sudipta Chatterjee said...

Gold!!

Sudipta Chatterjee said...

India jeete ya haare, mujhe sona mil gaya!! Yaay !!

Sudipta Chatterjee said...

Now coming to your post --- I can really really feel the sadness. And since you are so accurate with the predictions --- please predict a 150 run victory for India over SL and similarly for B'desh over SL. 149 hua to be chalega! :)

Neihal said...

I was a huge criket fan when I was in school....I missed school for test matches...forget the one days....I was crazy...but as you say...the emotional highs and lows got too much to handle...and I slowly started getting detached...I am pretty much now..... and dont want to start all the madness once again :D

"And sometimes being upset is not all that bad if you have someone to be upset with, nahin?"
TOTALLY :)

Thisisme said...

i totally agree with u..
i still cannot forget the india-sri lanka match sometime in '96 in which indian team got beaten black n blue by the SLteam..i cried with them :( and ended my messing up my exam next day! that was the day i pulled myself away from cricket..n now i dont even knw wat is happening in cricket! :-P

as for "And sometimes being upset is not all that bad if you have someone to be upset with, nahin?" TOTALLY 100%% correct :)

chandu said...

:((

satish said...

pata nahin, mujhe toh khusi huyee kee india haar gayee. ab sabke khilaaf toh haarte hee rahte hain, bechare bangladesh walon kee thodi khusi mil gayee, toh isnt that a great reason to smile for us as their gud neighbor.

anyway, i have lately been alot concerned about capitalism, WC being used as mkt strategy, and big fat guys making more money. so pakistan is out, and i hope india gets out too, giving those all fattoes a heart attack.

wow! do i sound like a communist?

saggi said...

I was reading the details in www.cricinfo.com about the India match, Pakistan losing to Ireland and in depth on Bob Woolmer's death - a heart attack I suppose and my daughter asked "what does Sayesha say about it" and we quickly jumped to the blog and there it was the latest on the match, the world cup and so on.

Had a hearty laugh reading it. Reflecting almost the sentiments of every cricket fan. Sometimes I have watched several overs, standing in one place, not wanting to move, since India is scoring runs...

But sometimes one really feels, is it all worth it. They have gone on to break Dhoni's house and Dravid has police guarding his house and family ... da coach dying of heart attack .. I doubt if the sports can be taken to such heights.

Having said all this I am also like viv, passionate about Indian cricket, support them over anyone though they lose and now analysing on all possible combinations for us to win and others to lose so that we reach the next round....

Good luck India.

Sakshi said...

Hehehe..
I guess I will be the lone commentor here laughing her ass off at this loss. I think humiliation is the only way the cricketers will be forced to change their corpulent,abysmally poor cricketing ways. We have too many dead weights on the team and Bangladesh just showed us how a team should paly. Brilliant cricket, on their part! We sucked - badly..

Iday said...

Nice post and a beautiful last line :)

I was reading abt Bob Woolmer's death and one of the articles abt him was titled "The Price of Passion". I think the price ppl pay is really huge and worthless.

I was a passionate fan of the Indian team. I can never forget the Eng-India finals when Yuvi-Kaif chased 320 odd runs. I was in college and the was wagging fingers to all English players, and felt as if i was insulting them in person :)

But over the years, I really have started to believe it is not really worth it. People in the game seem to have placed money above the sport and I only see the game reaching lower depths day after day.

Not surprisingly, i am not as sad as the normal Indian fan. In fact, deep inside, i kind of want them to exit ASAP - so that they are put in their right place.

Sayesha said...

#Sudipta,
//India jeete ya haare, mujhe sona mil gaya!!

Tumhe sona miley ya na miley, India ko jeetna hoga! :D

//please predict a 150 run victory for India over SL and similarly for B'desh over SL. 149 hua to be chalega! :)

Hehehe... abhi toh Bermuda wale ka margin dekhte hain... *touchwood*

#Neihal,
Yeah it's getting mad again... poor Dhoni's house... :(

#Thisisme,
//i cried with them :( and ended my messing up my exam next day!

Oh boy! :O

#Chandu,
Ab tu kaiku rota hai re? :))

#Satish,
//toh isnt that a great reason to smile for us as their gud neighbor.

Tera yeh line padhke Swades ka ek line yaad aa gaya - "your lamp giving light to neighbour’s house"! :/

//wow! do i sound like a communist?

Not really. You sound stoned for sure though. :/

#Saggi,
//and my daughter asked "what does Sayesha say about it" and we quickly jumped to the blog and there it was the latest on the match, the world cup and so on.

Oh wow. I am uber flattered. My opinion on cricket affairs matters to someone in the world!! Dhakki tiki! :D

//But sometimes one really feels, is it all worth it. They have gone on to break Dhoni's house and Dravid has police guarding his house and family ... da coach dying of heart attack .. I doubt if the sports can be taken to such heights.

Yeah man... all this is too sad... one of my friends was saying today "Cricket is a sport, not a religion. Treat it like a sport." What an ironic statement... :(

#Sakshi,
Guess we needed that reality check. Our batting today was awesome. :)

#Iday,
//But over the years, I really have started to believe it is not really worth it. People in the game seem to have placed money above the sport and I only see the game reaching lower depths day after day.

Hmmm... I'm still trying to make up my mind about the endorsements that our players are associated with. At times it really seems to interfere with their performance, and yet sometimes I feel like they do deserve all that money and publicity... sigh...

//In fact, deep inside, i kind of want them to exit ASAP - so that they are put in their right place.

Oh no no no! It will be four years before we can come back! :O

#Everyone,
I just finished watching India's batting. We made 413 runs - the highest score ever in the World Cup! DHAKKI TIKI! :D

It's 1.54 am and my eyelids are drooping.

Sayesha out. Tendulkar not out.

Liza said...

Yeahhhhh!!..i watched the whole match yday..slept at about 5:D.. it was awesome..all those sixes and fours.. doesnt matter if its only bermuda.. hahahahah .. :D..
lets win against Sri lankaa!!!:D

GO INDIA!

A big cricket fan:)
Liz:D

Neihal said...

Now that India has won rather fantabulously I wonder if those ppl will rebuilt Dhoni's underconstruction house :D

Sayesha said...

#Liz,
//awesome..all those sixes and fours.. doesnt matter if its only bermuda.. hahahahah .. :D..

Hehehe.... I can totally identify... sheepishly elated! :D

Fingers, toes, knees, elbows and ankles crossed for Friday! :O

#Neihal,
Haan yaar... bechare Dhoni ko dho dala... :(

chandu said...

that was before the bermuda match.
now the hope is still there :)

sowmya said...

*Sob sob*

*Sniff*

Er.. this is not about the match..

But my comment for the previous post didn't deserve that fate!! :'(

-Sowmya

Bivas said...

missed the bangladesh match as I was vacationing...achha hi hua...
last nights match was fantabulous though :D
It happens ony in...errr...with India...agar woh nahin haarte to kya WC itne dilchasp mod pe aata ;-)

Sayesha said...

#Chandu,
Haan yaar! Let's hope for the best! :))

#Sowmya,
Wat to do, tere paap ka ghada bhar gaya tha! Muahahaha! :D

#Bivas,
Yaar dilchasp and all is okay, but don't give heart-attacks to a billion people by messing up the first match itself, nahin? :P

Sandew said...

sleepless nights thank god india sri lanka is on satuday.
oh i am going to watch the srilanka bangladesh matcha as well. My boss isnt gonna be too happy with me :D

Rebellion said...

Haiiii, kya post tha Sash! Soo nice & true. I come in the same category as you dear and not to be talking about superstitions!! I can tend to be worse than that!!!

But you actually wore that dress to work??? Don't believe it, you are indeed a true (superstitious) fan haan :)

Sayesha said...

#Sandew,
Good luck to us yaar! :)

#Rebellion,
Hahaha, yes I did bacha... but when it comes to such superstitions, you win hands down! :D

sneha said...

i hd a throbbing headache for two days after our loss agianst SL
booooo
still cant get over that we r not in teh world cup anymore!

Sayesha said...

#Sneha,
:(