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One More for Cricket

This piece was conceptualized in the mind around 6pm, March 29th 2011. The time Blue vs Green flannels were tensing it out at Mohali, amongst the oxymoronic raucous raptures.

Towards the early evening, as I checked the score, I felt were not in a great position and hence dropped the idea of watching the last 10 overs of the first innings. Instead, I thought I ll venture out and run some errands and maybe drive around a bit.

Wow! OMG!! Crazy Country!!! These and such like exclamations spurted out as soon as I got behind the wheel. The roads were all empty. Like a war deserted town. Just that this war was going on live in present tense a couple of thousand kilo metres away. And as I drove around a bit more – as the India position looked worth a grin or a grinner - I saw traffic posts being deserted. Shops either totally empty and full house [with the entire neighbourhood glued to the tele].

Such is the power of the religion Cricket in this country. Such is the emotional drama associated with an India-Pakistan match. That the match was a world cup semi final, hosted in India, add to the colours.

A victory in such matches is an icing. However, the outcome of such matches is just irrelevant. The very fact an indifferent country gets so involved – that offices go half-day [thanks to day-night matches], baby-births are delayed, casualty wards come stand-still, the first family in watching the match, that too with bit lips [not the fevi! :) glued smiley and a wave] – is a startle. Beyond the frenzy associated with births and deaths [more the latter], no other event – not even a cricket match won against other heavy weights or for that matter winning the world cup – would attract such an attention.

This mass euphoria over one sport, or for that matter the country having one common issue [not even inflation attracts this kind of mass/media appeal] is matter which confounds. Why only cricket? Why do we play well only in Cricket? Why do so many youngsters naturally take to cricket – which is not the most popular sport in the world? This needs a doctoral degree in country psychology to answer. And am sure the answers of different people will not match.

One thing is certain though, that I throughly enjoyed my sorties in the empty BBSR roads on that 29th evening before reaching home in time to watch the last 5 overs of Pakistan’s innings and all the delirious chants and chats that followed in the streets and TV shows [espl the joker of the pack – Navjyot Sidhu – when he batted it never occurred, that he could have this drama dimension to himself] respectively.

Contrast the jubilant crowds after the match and the emptiness in the street during it – and that sums it all.

That is the only religion we have in India.

April 1, 2011


  1. Nicely Captured!
    Its a over-hyped game..we take pride at being champions among some 10 odd cricketing nations...what about India being a champion at Chess among 150+ chess playing nations...a dominant player in shooting et al!

    Fanatic lopsided rewards and celebrations is sick!!


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