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World Cup… and some

April 4, 2011

So now that the World Cup is finally over, and we have even won that thing… there is a faint hope that we could get back to our normal working lives.

Except, the definition of a normal working life was thrown out of the window a while ago and all that exists now is sheer confusion. My friends, down from various parts of the world, just in time for the World Cup are flabbergasted about how much we turn around our lives for a simple ‘sport’. All these friends are non-Australian. If anyone could understand crazy dedication to watching a sport, it would be the Aussies. Others call it home sickness when we set our alarms to 3 AM to watch a sport… and a sport that lasts for 8 hours. Football lasts for about 3 and then two hours of celebrations and falls in the more ‘acceptable’ realm of wasting-time-for-sports category.

But while it lasted, it was amazing to see every single status message talking about cricket. The Australians got a little quiet after a point and on the day of the final match, there were messages about a footy match that was happening… but for most part, this is the power of social media.

The die-hard cricket fans are already calling me ask what plans for the IPL – the cricket version of the league matches, except we all have crazier names like “Royal Challengers” and “Knight Riders” that make it sound, to the uninitiated, like some archival knight game on Facebook. But nope, this is cricket and it involves the same fantasy level of money those games on Facebook talk about. Or maybe not this time around. I’m exhausted by the World Cup, still reeling with the win and I really don’t give a damn for the next couple of weeks about some local match, even if it involves Bangalore. And there are none of the crazy after parties to talk about, because they want a ‘clean game’. Would IPL have been such a hit if it had not combined the power of Bollywood – the only other thing India genuinely cares about – with the power of cricket?

There were other sponsors for the Kolkata Knight Riders but it was called SRK’s team. Ditto with Punjab and Preity Zinta, Rajasthan and Shilpa Shetty. It was a fantastic concept and I think Lalit Modi deserves credit, even if he made some money on the side and made a few others richer.

And honestly, given all the recent scams, I don’t care if some guy made money off his own scheme and offered contracts to other people. The matches were not fixed, it was targeted as pure entertainment rather than a sport (remember RCB’s cheerleaders?). So if a guy can sell cell phone broadband, stamp papers and worse things which really do affect the infrastructure of a company, a guy selling ownership of a sports team is not really that serious an issue. Particularly since everyone involved made money, including the BCCI, which is stinkingly rich to start with.

Without the frill parties, the cheerleaders and all those other glam things, what would the IPL be but yet another match? Who but core cricket fans would watch it with such enthusiasm?

***
The summer heat is on full blast. Afternoons make it hard to stay inside, though all the body wants is to sleep. My heart weeps every time I see a tree being cut, which is almost every other day, thanks to the metro work. I despair it ever being finished and I dread it being finished.

I heard about a leopard today that had entered someone’s house in a nearby town. While it is sad that the occupants have been driven out temporarily, I was more concerned about the leopard rather than the people. Frantic calls to a couple of people ensured that there was some help on the way and the leopard wouldn’t stoned or shot. Now all I can do is pray that the help reaches in time.

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