Why I didn’t watch the World Cup Final

Edited to add: Link added at the bottom of the post.

Well, the simple answer to this one is that I was simply not interested. This one is for Kiran and Jammie and Monika and Abha and all the rest who think I’m a spoilsport. Actually, I’m just not into sports!

I played  on the school basketball team and also did some sprinting, long and high jump. I enjoy the outdoors, walks, treks, holidays. So you’ll never catch me in front of a TV for 8 hours straight. Unless I’m watching Dexter of course in which case I’ll peel my eyelids back and hold them up with clothes pins.

When I started dating the OA, one of the things I subtly ascertained was that he wasn’t a cricket fan. Sporty, fit, active, he is more the football, squash and basketball enthusiast. And I’m good with that. The games last a couple of hours and I am more than capable of keeping myself entertained for that amount of time, or even, *shudder* following him to the game and cheering.

But it’s hard to sit by and watch other games get sidelined. As a journalist I’ve interviewed so many sportspersons who have no sponsorship. Who are put up at filthy hostels with rats and dirty loos everytime they go to play a game. It’s really hard to feel much enthusiasm for a bunch of pampered men who are raking it in. Those other Indians represent the country too. For far less money and fame. They get no endorsements, no free houses and bloody hell, most of the time, no proper training either.

This is nothing new. I’m not coming up with something the media hasn’t discussed before. But the very same media also tells you that Dhoni’s wife is fasting for him. Excuse me? Who gives a flying… er.. rat’s arse about her fasting? Not I for sure. And this is exactly how media frenzy builds up. Constantly talking about cricket, shoving it down our throats, on the TV, in the papers, everywhere. Some of us  might not be interested.

How about the female boxer who comes from a far flung part of the country and leaves her family and friends and faces discrimination while no one bothers to watch her compete. During the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, the stadia were empty during most of the events. No one, but no one, bothered to go watch the other events. Why? Where are all these sporty people who bring the city to a standstill during a cricket match. Did they bother with the golds we won in wrestling? Or in shooting? or hockey? How many of you can tell me who Rahi Sarnobat and Anisa Sayyed are without googling it? All I heard right through was bitching about how India was letting us down with the poor preparations and no one thought about how we were letting ourselves down by not bothering to show up at the stadia for events. The tickets were easily available (except for the opening and closing ceremonies) YET there was no junta. How about the fact that THIS was history in the making too?

As for the kind of money people spent on buying tickets in black? Here I’ll add that its your money to earn and spend as you please, so I’m not about to get preachy on how much charity you could do with it. But when I hear of the endorsements and the money the cricketers are raking in for games on which they only put in as much effort as the other sportspeople, I can’t help but wish Pepsi and Reebok and Boost and all the rest would put some more into their CSR and less on making TV commercials that convince my kids that if Dhoni drinks Pepsi it can’t be an awful waste of time on empty calories. It just makes me mad. For every win they bring India, it makes me sad that the role models our kids have keep convincing them to buy and consume such shit. So personally, I am no fan of these sports people.

Speaking of money and how they have become heroes, how about the real heroes of this country? The jawans, the police, the teeth-chattering at Kargil. Why not give them some of the crores that are flying around so freely. Rumour has it Dhoni has endoresements worth Rs 200 crores coming his way. I don’t care if Pepsi wants to print that on jackets, but please, send it to those who are really working on the Indo-Pak border. And what, what, what is with the SMS doing the rounds about  Lanka Dahan and Ram smiting Rahim? Are they funny? Who makes them up? Who passes them around? Do these people have dayjobs? I also feel terrible about the way we treat Indo-Pak matches. I mean seriously, get over it. Anyone who imagines this is a way to build bonds is kidding. Who are we kidding. We’d have been devastated if we lost to Pakistan. Never mind how we fared against other countries. So really… what is this? An extension of the whole Indo-Pak issue? Then come out and say it. But don’t turn the game into a pseudo-war. It loses its dignity.

Finally, I hate the way we allow it to bring life to a standstill. I see people wearing the tees, putting up the flag, painting their faces and I’m wondering what the deal is. No offence intended to anyone who does it, so don’t go all troll-ish on me. I love a good competition myself, but it just seems like such a terrible waste of time which is why I am not part of it. We’ve won a world cup before. We’ve been playing sports for years.  But I find that in every matter we are getting OTT. All our  celebrations that are getting bigger and louder and crazier. Be it festivals, weddings or birthdays, our celebrations seem to be getting more wasteful and more annoying. More in your face. Drunk driving, wasteful expenditure, women being molested, bombs going off through the night disturbing the very young and very old (all of whom have an equal right to their lives and sleep). And that, dear friends is only when we win. If we lose, we’re unable to take that in our stride with a modicum of grace either. Accusations of match fixing, burning of effigies, destroying property, it is endless. Must we be so rabid either way?

We often talk about simplifying our lives, teaching our kids to be fair, just, balanced, sensible. I feel that in one fell sweep we wipe all that out with our cricket excesses. Pubs cash in on this madness with big screens and beer deals. Everywhere there are parties being held to watch the game together. Every festival, particularly in complexes such as mine ends up being a cash cow. Stalls are put up. Everyone comes down to shop, spend money, dress up, waste time, miss the point of the entire initiative/festival. Such completely vulgar displays of wealth that make the stomach turn.

Which is what makes me seem like a spoilsport. Go scream, shout, dress up in cricket gear, whatever, but if you call me for a party to watch the match, I’d much rather stay home and finish my murder mystery. I realise the OA would like company so on the day of the Indo-Pak match I made mutton biryani, called over some company and took myself off to finish up an urgent story I had to submit. And up to there, I am fine with it. But to expect me to waste a good Saturday evening glued to the screen, is maddening.

My FB status after the win said – “Everyone happy? Okay, great. Let’s get back to regular programming.”  Because I was bored stiff with the minute by minute replays happening on every status update. It’s a social network. They put up what they want. I write what I want. Within minutes I got loads of boooo. And how unindian. And don’t be a spoilsport.

I agree to the spoilsport. But unIndian? Why? I’m happy that India won, in a rather detached way. Because it makes no major difference to my life. The road outside my house is still dug up. Gurgaon still gets barely  12 hours of electricity a day. Binayak Sen is still in jail. I could go on. But I won’t. I don’t mean to be a killjoy. The thing is, it’s hardly a sign of being very Indian or very British or very Pakistani to watch a match and celebrate a win. I want to see the people who think they are being very Indian, actually get up and do something more for India. You know, like pay their taxes honestly, pick up a gun to guard a border if required, do something about that 40% who live below the borderline, plant a tree or two. So what is this whole thing with putting up Indian flags, waving them as you race down the roads and what not. How many of these people went to help the rest of the country when the Tsunami hit?

Someone says cricket unites the country. Yes, it does. For about ten minutes of screaming hysteria and bhaichara. Give it 24 hours and let them lose that high and we’re back to hating the other community, demanding reservation for ‘our people’ and refusing entry into various institutions on the basis of caste and creed. We’re back to refusing to consider that boy/girl our child wants to marry, we’re back to raping and murdering to enforce positions of power and what not. So really, that sort of temporary, farcical unity makes me laugh.

The thing is, its not hard to get swept into a whirlwind. For the little while that I sat with the OA to watch the match, I was also on the edge of my seat. But then I took a step back and asked myself if I was on the edge of the seat because I actually gave a damn or because of the knife-cuttable(sorry!)-tension in the room. You know those parties you don’t want to go to but go along anyway and eventually end up enjoying yourself even if its not something you would have personally chosen to do. It was something of that sort. And I asked myself – Is this something I want? Believe in? Endorse? The level of hysteria, wasteful expenditure while around us the country goes to dogs? It’s all very well to say, look at football madness in XYZ country. That country in the West isn’t as poverty stricken is. The contrast not half as vulgar. Every time someone pays 1.5 lakhs to buy a match ticket in black, I cringe.

I can see exactly what a damp squib I sound like. But I hope you will all do me the courtesy of seeing it from my perspective just as I do from yours for one quick moment.

Tomorrow my kid might take up skating. Spend as many hours practicing as Sachin or Dhoni. I feel sad that he will never get the chance they are. I feel bad that his success will be lost in some random test match. I feel terrible that my kids are going to grow up to join in these excesses and think that a match is an excuse for people to get drunk and go screaming down the road bursting crackers.

To sum it up (because apparently I haven’t said enough on the matter) – I am happy for the cricketers, happy for their fasting devoted wives, happy for their sponsors, happy for the viewers, happy for the country. I just don’t want to be dragged into the whole forced mania and neither do I like it disrupting my life. All I want is some space for the disinterested. Amen.

Edited to add: Here’s a post someone led me to. Read it for another point of view.

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278 thoughts on “Why I didn’t watch the World Cup Final

  1. I’m not a regular cricket watcher. I watch when India plays, and plays well at that. It’s just national pride. That’s all. I follow India’s tennis attempts and followed the Commonwealth Games as avidly as I followed cricket.

    All said and done, I don’t think anyone is denying what is happening or the lack of events in other sports and how we as a country should support them. Similarly with all the other problems we face as a nation. But, I think this is a moment of national pride and that is all I’m looking for from something like this.

    That Sachin Tendulkar was feted and that Dhoni was the leader shows that common middle class kids have risen to where they are, right now. I didn’t like that they were all given a crore each and all that jazz, but that should not rob anyone of the pride and glory that this championship has brought us.

    I wouldn’t call you UnIndian or spoilsport, it’s just your perspective. I don’t agree with it and like everything else, I’m only going to try to convince you 🙂

    Good luck with the trolls.

    • LOL! I love how the trolls are anticipated. In this case, if people want to disagree politely, they are welcome. Else, this is my new policy starting today and right now – I will hit delete and not waste my time on them. My blog, my rules. You want to comment, remember your manners or else ship out.

      That said, yes, I totally admire the middle class boys who rose to the top. But aren’t the other sportspeople middle class too? And this is less about them and more about the way we have started behaving. The amount of money spent on watching the game, makes me feel bad. I pulled my kids out of a school where the parents and children made a vulgar display of their money. I find that most people are doing the same with cricket. Big cricket parties, firework displays, team uniforms bought to sit and watch, a projector. Why are we crossing over into the realm of vulgar display everywhere? That is what puts me off the most.

      • Agree about the vulgar displays.. the latest fad here is to show off your huge tv by throwing cricket parties..

        But atleast for me personally and most people I know, cricket is about memories of 80s and 90s.. about a childhood spent sitting in one’s drawing room with parents, uncles, aunts and cousins and watching India get beaten in every Sharjah match.. Those were the simple times..

        This time too I spent watching it thousands of miles away from my parents.. still being on skype with them and going back to that simple times..

        I hate it when people who have nothing to do with the game occupy TV channels and give out gyan about the game… I find it most revolting.. I just want the old times back with Gavaskar and Ian Chappel in the commentary box..

        I also agree with your comment about all the other games..

        And don’t even get me started on IPL..

        • precisely. my grandfather played football and badminton at the national level. my father played cricket and was a boxer. my husband was a boxer and plays atleast 2-3 other sports. i come from a family that actually plays and doesnt just sit and watch and call that Indianness or sporty.

          and the news channels are full of some poonam pandey wanting to streak naked across the pitch. really? and this is the gentleman’s game?

          • please go ahead and delete this.. but well to a comment which almost agrees with all that you said I just found this sentence in your reply ” i come from a family that actually plays and doesnt just sit and watch and call that Indianness or sporty.” pretty provoking. Esp when i have made comment about my personal experience of watching it with my parents..

            I thought that you had invited chat, but well if you want to turn every other comment into an argument, I am sorry that I commented here..

            • hey. i apologise. it was more chain of thought than a response. not in the least bit meant to be an insult. more to say that yes, i come from a family that is big time into sport and I’ve never had the gall to call anyone unIndian, so how come others get off doing that by just watching it on tv. i actually agreed with everything you said and sort of drifted off into a thought. i’d delete it to show how i didn’t mean it at all, but that would just end up looking like i am meant it and am deleting it to deny it. so again, sorry.

  2. Honey, I really feel bad not saving some of the snacks from the cricket parties…the real game is going to begin in a little while in the comments section here. Ooh I am going to park myself in my chair now and see the first salvos being fired,spin ball, seamers all.
    I think one good thing happening from the World Cup is that you found out what people REALLY feel about the Other. For so long some people have been really good disguising all their prejudices, appearing all civilized but occasions such as this, with all the “exercises in nationalism” oh its like someone just performed a narco test on my timeline.

  3. I do not approve of anything that disturbs the other person’s space. But some people grow up watching cricket and understand the intricacies and prepare a background of history and culture attached with the game. So, please do not in a sweep of generalization disrespect everybody who watches cricket. I share your concerns regarding other sports not getting their due. But hey life isn’t perfect. You should know that by know. And please do not tell people how they should live. It has never worked and never will. Invest your energies in more useful pursuits.
    One more thing, for a guy who has watched 6 world cups wanting India to win and waited for 19 years, it is a big deal. I know it is not more important than reducing poverty (or other stuff you mentioned). But it still is important. It is a different element of life that some people feel connected. Supporting sport is in a plane that is entirely different. I personally do not think that watching a sport for 8 hours with nervous excitement means I don’t care about India. So, live your life happily do what you can and let others do the same. Once somebody encroaches into you space you are entitled to complain. But to simply say everybody else is wrong because they do not fit into your way of life its just plain wrong and to put it honestly immature.
    Remember everybody has a choice and once you start telling what that choice will be you the results are dramatically worse!
    To end, nobody should force you to watch the game and in the same way you should not force your morality on them when all they are doing is watching a match.

    • erm… I think your response proves my point. I have written about why I didn’t watch the match. I don’t remember telling others not to! I rest my case about the hysteria of fans who don’t even stop to read before responding.

      • If you had to rest your case you should not have written the blogpiece MM. You explicitly complained about why people watch the match for 8 hours and celebrate after it rather than take care of the country. Isn’t that enough to imply you don’t want people to watch cricket but rather something more productive in your eyes.
        let me put it in a language you will understand. You have two kids. From your blog i realize you do have a household help. What if I suggest you get rid of the help and do all the work (with the help of family) on your own and spend that money in charity. Same with the money you spend on any luxury. Would you do this? No. Becuase you determine how much money you are comfortable spending on you. So in similar fashion dont impose your “false morality” on others. There is never an appropriate amount of excess. How do you define excess. Excess for you is a necessity for others. So do not talk of absoultes when one does not exist. People choose to love cricket and react the way they do based on what they think is appropriate not based on what MadMomma thinks.

        • Actually yes, but I didn’t send out a memo or make it a policy. Its an opinion. I am guessing you go around reading opinions because you are interested in a variety of them. Not to shut down someone who you disagree with. If that were the case you should simply not read blogs.

          I have a maid to take care of my children while I work. If you are suggesting that I abandon them on the roads while I go to work, then I guess appealing to your reason will be a waste of time. Any structure works in this way. Be it a CEO of a business who ensures that he has 25 people holding together various positions or a woman running a house who ensure that someone comes in to sweep and someone else to take care of her children in her absence. By making such a ridiculous point you’ve lost all credibility. So anyone who needs childcare is displaying their wealth in a vulgar manner? Or are you suggesting that all women should sit at home and breed and cook? In which case I will not even bother, just leave this comment here for even the cricket loving parents to take care of you!

          Yes I agree that excess for me is necessity for others. But if you’re saying that getting drunk and whooping down the streets like a maniac and endangering other lives or setting off bombs all night while kids have exams and old people have trouble sleeping, then clearly you’re not even a person I am willing to engage with after this. If the comments get more aggressive or rude, I will stop publishing them. You have been warned. There are plenty who disagree with me in the comment space, I suggest take a leaf out of their books and debate this further only if you can do it with an iota of manners.

          • I don’t support MM on this issue but the ‘let me put it in a language you understand’ is rather condescending, Naveen. Especially when it comes from a man to a woman. Believe it or not, we do have lives beyond our kids and it’s a choice we make to make kids our lives.

          • see MM, you seem to betaking everything I write in a negative manner that I did mot intend. When I said about the kids, all I am saying was you chose to employ a maid because it is necessary for you. An outsider can say it need not be. Its the difference between your definition of necessity versus the outsider’s view. So, do not interpret it as some MCP statement.

            Regarding the excesses, i wrote upfront that anything that affects somebody else’s physical space is completely inappropriate but do not bunch everybody who loves cricket into that category. there is a distinction between good cricket loving people who do it because they enjoy the sport.
            Also, you do not watch cricket because you plainly do not enjoy it. It is as simple as that. To say you do it because there is poverty in India and so on and so forth is inaccurate. You are rationalizing your dislike for the game.
            Anyway, i will stop here.. I am kinda scared on seeing how you might misintrepet this now!
            You have already thought I am an MCP.. looking to forward to see what you think now 😛

            • Yes Naveen, it is rather rude to say “Let me tell you in a way you will understand”
              Why? You think a woman only understands in terms of kids and maids and cooking? No brains huh? I feel bad for the women you mix with. Or then I feel bad for you, for the kind of women you’ve had the chance to mix with.

              Employing a maid has nothing to do with anything. Any growing establishment, be it a home or a business, needs to employ people to take over auxiliary functions.

              I didnt bunch everyone. I am not saying every cricket watcher runs around disturbing peace. I am objecting to those who do. If you arent running around getting drunk and bursting bombs, then you can’t be objecting to my post, you’ve got to support me!

              AND you are totally misreading my post. You should re-read it. I said I do not enjoy the game. Period. BUT, increasingly , I am growing annoyed by the increasing disparity in the way sportspeople are treated. Even those who enjoy cricket feel the same way – read the comments. If I am rationalising a dislike, what do you imagine they are doing?

              Please don’t make a joke of this being a misinterpretation because I take great offence to sexist comments where you explain to a woman only in terms of maids and kids. The OA too manages to go to work because of the help taking care of his children. I can bet if a man wrote this post you’d have not “explained” it to him in such terms.

              yennyway. peace.

            • For you information, even if the post was written by a guy, I would have written about the maid at home. So, I didnt write this thinking it came from a woman. so, stop making ridiculous comments about the women I mingle with. It is just unfortunate that anything a guy writes is viewed in the prism of sexist comments.

            • Ah. so now it is ridiculous is it? Did you notice that someone who totally disagreed with my larger cricket post also found it sexist? If you didn’t mean it, perhaps this is time to rethink these kinds of statements. And also the larger argument behind it because I find it faulty too.

              Also – the line “let me tell you in a way you will understand” ? rude and condescending to man or woman. you won’t get many civil responses after direct opening like that.

            • “let me tell you in a way you will understand”

              Ok, I wrote this in my flow of writing. I did not mean it to be condescending. If it came off that way I apologize.
              But I still do not agree with your premise. I will leave it at that. 
              Also, try not making comments about the women in my life. Its very insensitive and in poor taste.

            • Well, if you don’t like insensitive comments, you’ve got to start by not making them yourself. My comment was merely a response to yours. Now we’ve got to stop this back and forth because we stopped being constructive about 3 comments ago.

            • MM, on a completely different note from this topic but just related to this one sentence from Naveen. My boss says this all the time..let me explain this in a way you can understand better and then he gives me the example of diapers. Now..just bcos I have a toddler, you dont have to explain everything to me in terms of diapers only. How come, my male colleague who also has a toddler at home, doesnt have to be given such ridiculous examples. I told him that I can understand other terms that are not related to kids and when I am at work I dont want to be judged as a mom.

            • If he really thinks you are incapable of thinking beyond diapers, why the hell has he employed you? How annoying. I wish there were an easy way to smack him and say its a mommy habit. :p

            • Very annoying indeed MM ! And I ery have made it very clear to my boss as well.

  4. If a female boxer is not gettting money.. that is not her fault. SDimilarly, if a chawla is gettting money, then also.. it is not his fault. I am sure you do not like Rajnikanth movies, but I dragged my parents to see his ‘Robot’ when it was released ( and this was my first hindi movie in 3.5 years in a theater).. why?? coz I wanted the spectacle.. I wanted to be a part of the rush, the whistles.. etc. ( it is a different matter that I was dissappointed coz it was not a typical rajni movie ).
    To an extent I can see from where you are coming from.. cricket in India has become like a fat punjabi wedding.. out here in US, I still follow each and every match ( but on cricinfo) while doing my work (be at office or at home). It quieter, painless, and bothers nobody. Heck, while taking kids to swimming classes or even doing gardening, I am still reading commentary. So yes, I can understand the stand still part of your comment.. but cricketers earning money.. it is not their fault

    • I have never said it is their fault. Everyone wants to earn money. I just think its sad that they are the only people considered worthy of being role models. Really sad, when cricket has seen more scandals than any other game.

  5. Hi MM,
    You make plenty of valid points. And I admire you for not getting dragged into the game. I used to be a cricket fan in India but have lost interest since I moved abroad. But after the semifinals, I did follow the scores online. Growing up, I enjoyed the excitement surrounding cricket — it’s a great escape much like our Bollywood and Kollywood movies.

    And during the soccer World Cup last year, there were several African and South American countries that came to a standstill. In fact, so many African countries were rooting for Ghana when it was the last African team left. So sports madness is not just limited to the rich West.

    • Maybe not, but its something I find rather off-putting… .which is why I didn’t watch. Also, its even worse when it happens in the poorer countries because you’re really shaking your head in sorrow and wondering why those funds cant be put to better use. This post is just a response to those who felt it was unIndian to not get excited. It seems there is no room for the disinterested anymore.

  6. aww mm. you know youre a cut above the rest right? you feel more for the right things. what you are saying everyone will secretly agree with but when they cannot deliver, they will get on their righteous high horse about living and letting live.
    because you were the only indian friend who didnt booyah me after they won, was why i even commented. I dont know what its like over there but here in pakiland we cant get too smug about anything- not even a worldcup victory before we are brought shattering down with some bad news. so we take what we get- we celebrate what we get- which is why a day of watching the match in peace with people i love (im assuming even terrorists are gripped by such a final) was a gift.

    i dont think youre a damp squib and youre totally entitled to feel as annoyed for the celebrations disrupting your life and nor d i think for a second that youre unindian for not being thrilled beyond reasonable belief by the world cup victory. give me the credit of knowing that theres a lot more than cricket that defines countries as diverse as ours.

    • LOL! no I am not. Dont say that or more trolls will come in. But let me tell you, half the reason I have been so annoyed is because thanks to the blogosphere I have so many not good, but GREAT Pakistani friends. Everytime there was an anti-Pakistani SMS doing the rounds I got more pissed because I was so unable to relate to it. I have good friends who are supporting the other team, so keep it clean. I’ve played sports and I can’t understand the kind of venom that gets into people where the game is concerned. What is scary is that it doesn’t feel like a game anymore. When its a Indo-Pak match, it feels like we’re going to war. And when its any other series, its like a big shaadi in a small town where the shamiana takes over the road and you’re can’t get to office.

  7. Speaking about being un-Indian, I told a girlfriend I didn’t know the world cup was on (I really didn’t) – she said I should return my indian passport. That was nothing. I got a message in my inbox on FB from a guy I haven’t heard from in years, He said he didn’t want to bother me but I was the only Indian in his FB list who did not comment on the World Cup win and what my deal was!!!

    I never watched cricket in India so no reason for me to stay interested but yes, I definitely have gotten the unIndian bit. And like you I am not hypocritical about it – I don’t follow any American sports. They are long, wasteful, consumerist and frankly involve TV which I don’t like. I love tennis so I make the exception there and that’s not a sport that inspires nationalistic passions.

    As someone who ran track (I ran 100 and 200 metres and won bronze at the state level and retired at ahem 14) I can tell you what you say is true. I used to excuse myself from school for meets and people didn’t even know what those were. I stayed in those rotten accommodations, there were hardly any good sports bras/shorts/ shoes available for running. And running is such a leveller – I remember girls coming from rural Maharashtra, no spikes, just running barefoot. That kind of raw talent, there was no coaching to harness and I’m sure those girls like me think wistfully of those days, like a dream that never happened. I retired because my coach moved and I was entering Xth. We all know what is more practical between studying for boards and training for track.

    Sorry for the long comment, it struck a chord.

    • precisely. if Reebok sponsored the shoes for the girls team we’d see some action there too. but no one cares. we’re building 11 guys into demigods and it hurts no one except perhaps people like you and me who fell out of sport because of lack of support.

  8. I like cricket but no more than basketball or hockey or swimming. I feel so isolated while watching hockey matches it’s depressing.

    Also, “vulgar display of wealth” – so apt. I think it’s something genetically programmed into us. I was getting treated like shit by a friend. Today it came out that I used to live abroad when I was young (though we both live abroad now) and suddenly I’m getting queen treatment. What is wrong with us people? How superficial can a society get?

  9. Yep. Pub-going fist-pumping face-painting beer-ingesting tee-buying fan.. you’re talking about me here. I watch cricket. Live cricket. Will probably support only that. Unapologetic and not ashamed. Why? Because it’s genuinely the one sport I like. Because it’s the one that was passed down to me with my genes I suppose. Why cricketers as the only role models? Because that’s the sport I follow as well as millions of others, and brands will associate based on numbers. Why the show of money? Because if I spend on something I love to be a part of once in 4 years, I will. We shop, entertain, dress, get educated the more expensive way.. I hardly see simplifcation in anything I do or plan or see myself doing; our generation is inherently capitalistic and there’s nothing sad or scary about it (that’ll be China).. I thought it’s simply natural that we’d do whatever’s more fun, as long as it’s affordable to me right? As far as endorsements and contracts and private leagues are concerned, it’s their way of making money.. and in fact, that’s the way to go for other sports as well.. so why spite it? And why the rivalry against Pakistan? Well, why do the Yankies hate the Red Sox? Man-U and Arsenal? It’s just that. The hatred SMSs are not supported by 90% of the cricket-watchers – it’s like the 10% spoilsports that will send mass hate messages from the Shiv Sena to all Vodafone numbers on Maharashtra Day or something.

    I will never understand why my not supporting hockey and supporting cricket harms any sport. Which country does not have one VERY popular sport? All I see is increasing encouragement to all sports in the country.. it cannot and probably will never reach the hysteria that surrounds cricket.. and as favourites go, we have to live with that. Why will anybody go to watch a shooter or a boxer if they have zero knowledge and/or no connect with the sport and little interest/time to invest in the sport? How do we suggest a viewer grow this interest, just because CW Games are on? I’d still say that Twitter and social networks were abuzz with CWG news and there was very similar joy. Personally, I thought it was compensatory but that could be just me. So yeah, I really could not give a damn.. I’d never say they let us down and I’d congratulate them for their performance but I don’t see why I should be guilty of liking something better than the other.. that’s just bizarre. Maybe a success in skating will be lost in a boring test match, but does that make it any less of a success? If my kid chose to excel at skating, I’d love it.. but I’d tell them that the sport has a limited visibility and a small audience in India. It’s the truth but there’s nothing bitter about it. There’s always a hobby, a degree, a holiday destination, a car that’s liked better than others by most people.. we can break away for the sake of breaking away, but I don’t see why you should if you have the right reason for following it in the first place. In case you feel like you are following it just for the sake of feeling like a part of the herd, by all means, break away. It’s not that here. These are actual people who remember cricket incidents as far back as 1980’s with every little freakish detail, and it comes with being fanatically in love with it?

    Also, why the Indian-ness associated with it? The same reason Spanish fans associated national pride with their soccer victory? Individual sports all over the world ARE less about national pride than team sports. Nadal or Federer get personal accolades, hardly ever for their country. They win titles that add up to their kitty not so much their country.

    Lastly, MM, like you say, it’s for 10 minutes that it disrupts our normal lives. I think they’re mostly always the most needed 10 minutes. You clearly don’t. I do see this from your perspective, but the fanatic’s side needed to be said. Do hit delete in case you find this rude or too long.

    • Neither of the two. Its a very valid and polite opinion. am happy to have the other view here.

      that said, i am not disputing most of your points. simply pointing out where I find it crosses the line between passion and vulgarity and loses me as an audience or support. naturally with a billion people feeling differently, it doesnt matter what i feel. which is why i can only talk about it on my blog and leave it at that.

      two points – one, most of the people who actually indulged in what I find OTT are exactly those who otherwise would draw the line and get totally vocal about how some party they attended was a vulgar display of wealth or something. how come they don’t see it when they are doing it themselves?

      two, most parents complain about disney marketing barbie and mickey mouse on tiffin boxes and bottles and how kids are manipulated into spending money. where is that clear sight when one is manipulated into spending money on a projector, or at a pub or buying teeshirts… all when you are simply sitting at this end of the tv and watching a match. is that not manipulation of your mind? if you get carried away in that manner, can you blame your child for wanting to be part of whatever it is that his generation is hysterical about?

      its all just food for thought.

      • I dont know why that is vulgar. Because there’s shitloads of money involved, is it? Also the analogy with Punjabi weddings and big parties that people have done to death – I may not making be the most popular comment here, but really, what the hell is up with moral guilting on grounds of what some spends on personal expenses and how. Maybe there are apparently better ways of spending money, but that’s one person’s perception against another. Why do people not call owning big houses or having an unbelievably large education fund for your child or having superfast internet vulgar? In a country where millions live on rent/ dont go to school/ havent heard of a computer, that should also be vulgar.

        For your second point, I know some people do that. I do too. But I have very different views on this manipulation business. While we always say that today we are the most exposed to marketers, funnily, we are also the most de-sensitized to ads, today. So it’s not manipulation when you still go and buy an overpriced t-shirt, it’s an excess you go for irrespective of the marketing, just because you want to be a part of the hoopla. Plus, why would people want to create an unnaturally ideal mini economic market in their children’s mind? We all buy brands today, and shop in malls very often. They will too. They will have to learn what to buy, what affordability is and how to spend na, at some point? Or is it that we are hoping that malls and this disneyfication of stuff will cease to exist when they grow up? Or that we have convinced them that whatever we do own right now is what we absolutely need.. because that’s not true. And that is more dangerous because such kids think that their parents didn’t go for excesses and having wifi at home/2 cars/blackberries/a huge ass wardrobe was the most basic of needs which they take for granted in a countrywithstarvingmillions.

        • If we were looking to write popular pieces I wouldn’t have written this post. Cricket is this country’s second religion and people like me are not appreciated for our POV.

          I am not even going down the moral guilting route because as I said in the post itself, what you do with your money is your business. That doesn’t mean that people who are watching you, can’t have a different opinion. Yes, everyone has a different level at which it becomes vulgar display. To you this might not be it, to me it is. Precisely why it became a post on my blog! Isn’t that what blogging, perceptions and opinions are meant to be? Or are you for the first time in the history of commenting here, going to say that I shouldn’t have an opinion? :p Let me also remind you that I have no idea about your personal life and how much you indulge so this can’t be about you. It definitely is about a lot of people I know who invited me to such indulgent parties and I have to say it goes against all my personal beliefs.

          I don’t believe ALL our kids will ALWAYS shop in malls unless all other markets go out of business. This isn’t about malls at all actually. Its about knowing where to draw the line. This time I draw the line where it enters my home, my personal space, my professional life and so much more. As for the starving millions, yes, those of us who can, do give as much as we can, without advertising. But everyday, in every choice that we make, its nice to stop and think about what it says about us. But sure, we can agree to disagree on this point too.

          • Agree to disagree. At no point did I mean that you shouldn’t have an opinion. Your opinion here is, I’d say, far more understandable than the general viewpoint of money being a dirty thing. I should do a post on that some day – my dream is that that post will have comments from people who’ll call me an irresponsible, unsympathetic creature but Warren Buffet shall endorse 😀

            • i have to say that I might have agreed with you 6 years ago. but I’m a changed old woman now and having had the brat and bean, a lot of my opinions underwent a change. sometimes I shock myself 😉

            • err.. i have to say i sort of agree with neha, and with you as well.

              didnt do the tee-buying etc but yes prrrayed like a nut in the last few overs. esp’ly in malinga over. phew. whataay match man.

              but yes, it does get vulgar and OTT. what i object to most what our honourable chief minister mr.yeddyurappa trying to join the party by giving away land to the winning team. excuse me, but are we still like in a rajashaahi type of situation where the sarkar ‘gives away’ land to those who please him?

  10. Agree with everything you say and to add to that my 2 cents. Has anyone else found it icky the way prizes are being given to cricketers by the own states. So Punajb gives it to Yuvraj and Harbhajan not others from different states etc and what I found a ironic was the Gujarat government deciding to honour Patel and Pathan who are both Muslims from a state with a bad record on minority rights. If they want to honour the team shouldn’t they honour them all. And seeing the comments about Pakistan and Lanka on FB makes me want to un-friend people.

    • okay thats another point i forgot to make although i cringed when i heard it. what is with this state honouring? one minute we’re all one big united nation, the next we’re only honouring our local guys? strange.

      • Talk of state honouring…any ideas why Yeddi (Karnataka CM) wants to give 50X80 plots to the entire team ?? If the state wants to honour their players..there isn’t a single player from Karntaka. All i can think of is a new scam in the name of prizes.

        Can’t agree more on your post. I am not a big sports fan. And cricket the way it is now puts me off completely.

  11. Excellent post. Ten minute national unity, a lifetime of race/religion/caste/language/region hatred.

    BTW, how is it that the hard work of eleven men, suddenly belong to 1.21 Billion – 11? Always wondered about this ‘our’ victory bit:-) I mean, it was Dhoni’s property that was destroyed years back. No one wanted a share in failures…:-)

    I love the fact that finally, I am going to see a post where most of the commentators won’t agree with you:-)

    • thats my point. Suddenly we’re all, oh, our men in blue. and yet wasnt it sometime ago that they made a procession and took Saurav Ganguly’s dead body past his house and painted the building black? i mean this is the edge of hysteria i am talking about. is there no sense of balance? one minute you’re offering to get naked and streak on the pitch. the next you don’t know what it means to support them when they are down.

  12. Being married to a guy for whom Cricket is one of the top 5 things to live for… its hard not to get infected by his passion and enthusiasm…I understand that everyone does not need to be crazy about this sport but for those who feel that this disrupted their life I have 2 things to say… 1) the extreme madness lasted only for this one week of the entire world cup with the semis and finals.. So consider it like a festival going on and 2) its the prefect time for you to take the day/days off for personal time since everyone else is busy watching cricket ….Its v v sad that no other sport or sportsperson is given as much importance and opportunity to make money the way cricketers are but that is not a reason to dismiss the passion many feel for this sport. Its the same in many fields of life.. Some people benefit much more than the others.. People and corporates did spend a lot of money during the world cup but that does not mean that most of them dont do their share of charity…In the end the burden lies on the politicians and the govt to spend our tax money in improving our country’s infrasturcture rather than pocketing it…
    Bottom line there is a reason for this madness and its hard to deny the fondness for this sport in our country…cricket is played in every form..galli cricket, corridor cricket, cricket w an alluminium foil as a ball and tiffin box as a bat…its everywhere.. so why wouldn’t 100s of people go crazy for these 2 days to witness India make history after 28 years. After all we did beat the best teams in the tournament and with a good fight…It is sad that nothing else in this country has given soo many people a common joy and reason to celebrate…so even if you hate the game and dont wanna spend hours watching it…I think its worth feeling nice that something gave a billion people a reason to smile… You are not unIndian in any way if you dont share this passion… because you are passionate about other issues but all im saying is that there is a reason for this madness and this world cup is a BIG reason to be proud of our men in blue…

    • hey sweetie 🙂 good to see you here. I know your husband and my brother and about 40 of you watched it together. but there is a huge diff between the way you did it in the US and the way its playing out here. for 2 days i had a story to file and no one picked up the phone! its unprofessional to do that during work hours, no matter how passionate you are about something. i am passionate about a lot, but barring sickness i’d never just ignore phonecalls for hours. that was my snapping point.

      • Exactly.. that is why I understood where you are coming from. But having said that, making demi-gods out of 11 or 16 people.. media ia responsible.. just like for every Khan we have, we have thousands of other actors ( be it films, drama or nautanki),, for every Tata, we have thousands of enterpreneurs/business person.. who are forever unnoticed. That is the way mankind is.. unkind.

        I bet, you did not watch Ind-Pak match at last commonwealth games.. I did.. despite that wife was annoyed coz she had other plans ( and we are together only for 2 weekends a month). The moment I watched the intensity of our players, I just said to my wife.. give me 90 odd minutes and than I am all for you and kids throughout the day. It was worth it. I also remember watching alomst 5 hours everyday, the asian games of 1982.. after that I decided not to watch Indian atheletics at all coz it was so boring (the word depressing still has some kind of hope attached to it)

  13. MM, am somewhat confused by your post – are you saying you are not UnIndian or that you were being regarded a spoiltsport or just that you don’t care for Cricket?

    Cricket hater – sure, I know plenty of people who don’t like the game or the hoopla around the game. Plenty of them in India itself – doesn’t seem a big deal to me…

    The thing about being called a spoiltsport – I’d say so what…most of us have a few things we are not into, that the world around us seems to expect us to adore (Dexter comes to mind – I hated the show! :)) – no harm in being called a spoiltsport, since you aren’t, in reality, spoiling sport for anyone.

    As for the UnIndian comment – blah. So many things seem to count as UnIndian nowadays – from wearing or not wearing certain clothing, to celebrating a certain way, just add this to the list….

    Coming to the excess surrounding cricket: My Cricket crazy family was appalled at the monetary gifts being given, and I’ve listened to several rants on that theme from others as well – don’t think you are alone in that. Perhaps a concerted movement is needed to let officaldom know? Lack of funding/attention for other sports…I hate to say it, but market demand has a huge role to play here…there is gender parity as well – women’s cricket is pretty sidelined isn’t it? India needs the equivalent of Title IX first – but sports is so far down the list of things that needs gender parity that I have no hope for it. Interest in relatively obscure games – that’s the same the world over….there have been recent debates here about women’s basketball and women’s golf being relegated to unfavourable times on TV as the ratings show lack of viewers…some of it is because more men than women *Watch* sports (I think in the US the numbers are roughly comparable when it comes to participation) – but it exists. In all honesty, I am not inclined to shell out money for tickets to a game I am not interested in, simply to show my support, unless I personally know the person participating and/or had a role in them picking that sport (like my kids Taek-won-do for instance…I do find TWD tournaments boring, but they’re my kids so I go watch) . I think people get into sports for various reasons of their own – they don’t need my support to validate their choices. Official support – sure – but again, that needs legal changes first.

    Lastly, lack of sportsmanship – I think 26/11 put the seal on any good feelings aam-junta may have had towards individuals from Pakistan. At least, that is my take from talking to people here…

    M

    • all of the above? 🙂

      and its sad if 26/11 makes us hate them so much no? then why bother to play a match against them? what about sportsmanship? the spirit of a sport doesnt allow you to feel that way towards people.

      and i’m glad you made the point about money. my grandfather, uncle, all cricket crazy. but being cricket crazy doesn’t mean that you don’t see what is going wrong. thank you.

      • 26/11 makes us pakistanis hate whoever did it too. its just that like the rest of the world i dont equate those people to us. i think i felt the same shock horror sadness and digust when i read of what wa shappening and many ane evning spent walking at that exact spot or sitting at the taj having coffee hoping to spot a filmstar came to mind. i dont think any hatred any bias anything will end till we realize that what defines the madmen is not what defines the country. sorry for this tangent mm, but i couldnt help it. not looking to start an argument but 26/11 made me physically ill- not only because i loved my mumbai visits but because i feel the shared history make the bond special. playing india is always like playing a sibling- thr rivlary is fun and chemical as long as it doesnt get nasty/

    • i disagree M. we still think our pakistani pals (from the london days) are some of the best folks in the world. never met more sorted out kids.

      • Replying to both Jammie and Chox – I don’t think there is personal animosity between folks from the countries who know one another – rather, public opinions of the countries is what plays into sports rivalries – and Pakistan-as-bad-guy is now firmly established in the public consciousness. One of the reasons the final didn’t seem to attract as much jingosim, at least, here – is that SL is not really in the public consciousness, IMO. Our local American public radio had a segment on the match and its importance the day before. They talked about the history of the countries (as usual), and invited comment from some talking heads – The Indian rep said something (banal :)) about sibling rivalry, and wanting to win on home turf…the Pakistani person’s talk was very different: he talked about how important the game was to national psyche, and how last time the Pakistani team lost to India the team could not be seen in public for fear of repercussions for months and ended by stating that leaders are asking fans to please not burn buses or harm public property if Pakistan loses. The host then went on to talk about relations between the two countries and how 26/11 exacerbated all past issues – with some soundbites about lack of justice to victims. The tone was very clear…

        Also, my feeling was that in S.India at least, there was no major bad feeling against SL – the excitement in that game was almost all directed at the game itself. The N.Indian association with Lanka Dahan, while rude and racist, is obvious isn’t it? Lastly, I should own that I personally razzed a cousin-to-be unmercifully after our win – He’s from SL, and was watching the game with his fiancee (my cousin) and her family – poor guy got all kinds of welcome-to-the-family-you-poor-sod messages…and took it in the spirit it was given – no malice. (And threatened us with dire repercussions, but that’s different)

        M

        • i was responding specifically to your line re goodwill towards individuals from pakistan.

          and i don’t know M. you don’t get this north india-south india thing at least in the big cities these days – its a big hotchpotch of folks from all over the country.

          • Gah, I’m being more than usually inarticulate then – my feeling was, people sending nastygrams about Pakistanis were not thinking of individuals – but of the country-as-an-entity to rally against…makes more sense?

            And my parents say the whole N/S divide lives large in good ol B’lore for sure – at least where they live (N.B’lore)

            • see thats the thing about india – i can make a statement about it and you can contradict it and both of us would be right! precisely what i love about it!

            • I wish the trolls would take a leaf out of your books. You and M are two of my oldest readers. And you guys often disagree. And we’re still friends. I am horrified by the number of people who think that disagreeing with me means that they have to be rude, abusive and finally march off in a childish tantrum. Frankly, I think we’re better off without them 🙂

  14. I love reading your posts, even when I disagree with what you say, ESPECIALLY when I disagree. It still makes a good read. Valid points too. But I am joining the mass hysteria 😉

  15. I do not follow cricket, or any sport to be honest. During the last two matches of the World Cup, the hype just got to me. And I think I had a great time cheering for India and witnessing the victory.

    That said, I fully agree with you on all the points you have raised in this post. You do not follow cricket for the reasons you have mentioned, and that is completely your choice. I do not understand why you need to give explanations for the choices you make 🙂 Don’t bother about idiots who ask you to justify your choices and opinions.

    Having said that, it is your FB status message that bothered me at some level. People in our country are extremely passionate about cricket. Emotions are running high. After reading your status msg, it seemed that you are dismissing and disregarding their sentiments. You said in one of your earlier posts yourself, that you do not have to relate to people in order to be sensitive to them, right? Doesn’t it apply to this case as well then?

    Apart from this, you’re reasons for not being involved in cricket are perfectly valid. You resent the hysteria that follows the game when other sports are neglected and in dire need of sponsorship. But I think, actively trying to promote other sports and encouraging people to be more involved with them would be a better way to deal with it instead of having a negative outlook towards cricket. That way, at least your energy is spent constructively. Getting mad and not watching cricket doesn’t seem to help. Just my opinion 🙂

    Am I classified as a troll?

    • I think this being sensitive thing is mutual. I got SO many people saying, hello, how cay you NOT watch. why so boring? how can you not watch our country playing? As though watching a match on tv is patriotic. by that argument a 1000 terrorists probably watched it too and i would like to know how patriotic that made them. I finally figured sensitivity is a two way street and gave up being sensitive on my part.

      I am not trying to help other sports by getting mad. They are two separate issues. I do feel bad about other sports being neglected. I don’t watch cricket because I am disinterested anyway. I am not a sportsperson myself, and particularly after my knee injury I am totally out, but I do encourage my kids to play other games and I wish others would do it too. Kids who are interested in other games are often told by parents that there is no future in them. they are forced to drop out and choose some career that might not interest them. i find that really sad.

  16. Ok..I am that cricket fan. I stayed up all night at a friend’s place to watch the finals and was bloody happy that India won the world cup. I have no issues sitting glued to TV for those 8 hours because that time to me is precious and exciting. I also celebrate each family member’s birthday by donating to a worthy cause. I have volunteered my time and money during different occasions for different causes. Caring for India and watching cricket need not be mutually exclusive.

    But the one thing I have to agree with you on is the wild celebrations and hatred against Pakistanis. One night of flag waving and the next day the same flags are seen lying in the drains. Pak / terrorist jokes making rounds. The very nature of these acts is very unsportsmanlike.

    And to all the sports fans out there…sometime do checkout the inter-state hockey matches in stadiums. Punjab Police vs Air India can be just as exciting…can’t believe the same matches are made to look so dull with lack luster commentary on television.

    • no listen, i am not in the least bit saying that watching cricket for eight hours is not on. why shouldnt you? but there is a whole world of difference between you and the drunken bums pouring out of the pubs after the win, endangering lives. this would not be acceptable at any other time but the cops turned a blind eye. Why? A death caused by one of them is not death?

      I agree, caring for India and watching cricket need not be mutually exclusive. I am only talking about the pressure to conform and join people for what is to me, a very boring eight hours. most people cant seem to take no for an answer and end up calling it unpatriotic!

  17. Your points are valid. Each and every single one of them. While I still believe cricket gets us all together, even if it is for those 8-9 hours, I don’t like that no other sport can claim of doing the same. It’s not fair, I know. While I follow cricket avidly.any match any country any format, and while I am cricket crazy(guilty of painting face and wearing Indian team jersey:)) those anti Pak mesgs made me see red. I love this game but I see your point too. 🙂

  18. You are right, the other sports are unfairly neglected. Its evident that it takes a lot to build a sports empire, any empire for that matter. We have been independent for only 60+ years, Cricket has come a long way during that time, the cricketers didnt make millions when they started. 1983 put us on the world stage and this recent win was immense, it was extremely overwhelming to show the rest of the world, most of which thinks that we are just a densly populated bunch of geeks. To show them that atleast 11 of us had not only the skills but the will and stamina to achieve the goal in a sport thats played all day, cannot be put to words. Having said that, I understand your points about other sports, I guess what I am saying is every other sport needs time to evolve and find its own place, hopefully in the next 30 years we will see some change, just like we did in cricket. I think we are gearing towards that in Tennis and recent wins in the olympics. Thats my $.02.

    • good points. i really worry though, that the sports will not evolve if someone doesnt quickly adopt a couple of them. and then the IPL madness starts. Again, if some of this were invested in the football leagues across the country, it would make a world of difference to the game. football, like cricket is also a gully game. why not encourage it too?

      • MM, I was a cricket crazy fan. Although not so much now, I still sit for 5 days *gasp* and not just 8 hrs to watch a match 🙂

        Having said that, I am also appalled at public money being thrown away (forget BCCI and other corps, it is their money to do what they want) by the Govt to these already uber rich men in blue. I also heard that they want to give tax exemption for these awards – whose money are they squandering away, anyway? And what is with declaring holiday (for those who don’t know, Saturday was declared a State Holiday by Maharashtra, not sure about other states) for a cricket match and then a victory? Wasting public money like such is what gets to me…

        Wrt corporate pouring money on other sport, don’t think that will happen unless India becomes a force to reckon with at the international level in these sports. Even cricket in the early 80s was not a rich game – the winners of the 83 cup earned paltry money – and the WC win is what propelled the game towards massive popularity which translates to the big bucks. With Paes – Bhupati, Sania Mirza, Saina Nehwal achieving success at the international level, we see some recognition to these stars and their sports as well, although not to the level of Cricket – but with time and a consistent array of performers (stars), am hoping we will get there.

        In all this mayhem, did you know that Paes-Bhupati won the Miami open for doubles and are ranked World No.1? It was hardly covered and apparently, Mrs.Bhupati was busy watching the WC finals, that even she did not catch the Miami Open doubles final. Howzzat?

  19. Brilliant post, MM. I did not watch most of the matches because I simply don’t care for cricket – I am not even taking up the larger/ greater causes, you spoke of. I don’t like spending 8 hours of my time on it, so I won’t. That said, I did watch bits and pieces of the finals.
    What amused and angered me, was all the activity on Facebook – for everyone who says it is just a game and nothing more, all our FB pages spoke a different story. There were dirty, rude jokes against the Pakistanis and the Lankans, I had friends who were ‘attending Lanka Dahan’. Seriously, this is the spirit of sportsmanship? How?
    I don’t mean to diss the folks who are in it, for the sake of the sport alone. I am 27 and I know a whole lot of people my age who grew up thinking Sachin Tendulkar is god – a lot of these friends also, surprisingly, were nowhere to be found on their Facebook/ Twitter pages/ otherwise, in the last week or so.
    What alarmed me is the spate of the ‘sudden fans’ that appeared out of nowhere – the verbal diarrhoea on the internet (the number of FB and Twitter updates in the span of those 8 hours!)made me wonder how many of them were actually watching the match!
    While I don’t mean to generalise, there is a section of people out there, for whom an event, ANY event is simply a tool to pander to the image they carefully construct of themselves, online. The cricket world cup played beautifully well, to serve that purpose.
    In any case, like you said, it took less than 24 hours for all the drama to die down. In less than 24 hours, there were people dissing Afridi (on the basis of an obscure newspaper article), bad jokes about south Indians (thanks to Sreesanth’s bowling debacle) and ugly caricatures of Malinga doing the rounds. So much for Indian-ness (I am still frothing at the mouth at that ‘not watching world cup equals no patriotism’ shit.)
    P.S: Pardon my own verbal diarrhoea. 🙂

  20. wow, MM you are on a roll eh? remember reading your FB status and having a good laugh. agree with many points you made, particularly the support or lack thereof for other sports. i commented on kiran’s post too and mentioned how Gopichand, mentor/coach to Saina Nehwal is struggling to keep his academy afloat with very little funds and no help from govt both central and state. alas!

    • well you’re another sportsperson too. what do you think? how do you think others sports can be encouraged? how do you think some sanity can be brought about?

      just remembered a kid whose birthday party was cancelled because none of the other parents wanted to bring their kids for it, because they were watching some match – can’t recall which one it was. i feel terrible for that 6 year old who must have waited all year round for this party.

      • seriously? thats awful…i cant imagine how the kid must have felt.
        yes i was a sportsperson too in my last life and experienced the discrepancies when it came to funds and amenities with the game of cricket being favored over others. we used crib about it all the time. it was sad back then but things really havent changed much. i was disappointed reading about Gopichand’s struggles- this is the all england champ, someone who made his country proud with this win and several others, who is now dedicating his life to nuturing young talent, saina being one of them and he is running out of options and hope. you ask how other sports can be encouraged-just the way cricket was. one of the comment ors mentioned that indian cricket team proved their worth and talent by winning the 1983 WC thus deserving the much needed boost/support. i ask how many times will the likes of Saina, Abhinav or Mary Kom have to prove their worth before the the govt/sponsors start paying attention to them?
        see MM- you got me started now. I better stop before others ask you to boot me off.:-)

        • what nonsense. we’re hearing their side everyday. why not ours once in a while? precisely my point. how much longer do saina and abhinav have to prove themselves?

    • ha ha! did I mention I LOVE Aakar Patel. The OA is sure I’ll run off to camp outside his house someday. He always gives you a refreshing POV. And I completely agree. People talk about taking to streets spontaneously in the US. Thats all very well but have you seen Indians take to the streets? women are sexually harassed, there are stampedes at temples and God help you if you go in a rescue effort. I was watching the Japan situation on Tv and its amazing how they are disciplined. Here, people would have come to blows over the rescue packages.

  21. We Won! We Won! WE WON!.

    No amount of your killjoy attitude is going to wipe that smile of my face 😀

  22. I watched a cricket match after almost 12 years when I saw the finals last weekend and it was a feeling of great joy to see India win. Being away from India I did not witness any of the madness you mention but I did hear about it. I have mixed feeling about the whole issue you bring up. There is no debate in favor of the vulgar display of wealth. With you there. Regarding this type of celebration….well I think it is something India is actually picking up from the West. I am probably the same generation as you and when we were little, after a win in any Indo-Pak match there would be some patakas here and there and thats all, right? The videos I saw of people flocking to streets and dancing is something very new to me. A similar new phenomena are peace marches and lighting candles…do you recall such happenings when we were little? Here in US I see cars with decals demeaning a rival University and pretty rude at times. Cannot support such behaviour but it exists.

    As to why only cricket in our country…I think its the only team sport in which we have some world class capability and that too against teams from far more superior nations … superior in terms of Progress and economy. The only other team sport that India ever shone was hockey and honestly there too the popularity was pretty much due to the rivalry with Pakistan. Once the Europeans and Australians got into the game, we lost our shine. People like watching team sports where they go in as equals and sadly cricket is the only game where we do against the rest.
    Soccer…it was popular enough once upon a time but never were we good enough to compete at the world stage. Now I don’t know what kind of support the early generations of cricketers received from the govt to prosper but somewhere in the timeline past they proved themselves and paved the way for this current lot. They were not the endorsed, rich breed like we see today. So my point is that the game succeeded in our country due to the success that we enjoyed in it.

    • Yes, a few patakas are nice. I dont even mind peace marches and lighting of candles because all this is peaceful and not disrupting public life. But hooligans start off shrieking down the road and before you know it they are zipping down the roads on bikes causing accidents. No one stops them because you smile indulgently calling it the cricket win excitement. except that after a while it builds up and with mob mentality you have them standing on the roadside and drinking, driving by some young girl and dragging her dupatta off… it just ends up being hooliganism. and because it is cricket, it ends up being forgiven.

      i appreciate all your other points.

  23. Hi MM,

    Every word you said there feels like it has been stolen right out of my mind. For the last two weeks, the paranoia has been unbearable.
    Somewhere deep down, it hurts everytime I see a bungalow, crores of rupees, land, and everything possible being gifted to the cricketers. I have no grudges against them or the sport, but having been an ace swimmer who has seen her coach, parents, family, friends and self hunt like crazy for sponsorship for a sport that she loved. (still does)
    The other sportspersons that India has made don’t give a damn for any of the above mentioned materialistic things, all they long for is acknowledgement and a little bit of appreciation from their countrymen. But almost all of the time they are at recieving end of plain shoddy treatment.

    I had a coach who spent his life winning for the Maharashtra state and spent his late sixties doing rounds of government offices asking for a one room flat that he was granted in sports quota and of course which he was being denied because he didn’t have enough proof. Last I heard he passed away, and I am not sure if he even got the flat he deserved.

    For the last couple of weeks, in office or amongst friends, I have stopped explaining why “I am playing spoilsport when I really am a sportsperson”. I could not explain beyond a point that its not the sport that I hate, it is the attitude of the followers that gets my goat.

    And yeah, filthy hostels with rats and dirty loos. Tell me about it. How about having to move benches and desks of classrooms in random schools to make place so that we can sleep the night before our tournament?
    I once went to Switzerland for a privately organised tournament and believe me, they treated me like a queen. Why? Just because I had travelled from really really faraway to participate in a sport event they had organised! I am not surprised why many parents take the decision to move outside India when they see a talent in their kid. It may seem unpatriotic to others, but what really are the options?

    Anyhoo, thanks MUCH for writing this post. It is an amazing insight from someone who isnt really a sportsperson. I mean, if I said all of this, many might think I hate cricket cos I love swimming but that’s not true in your case. Your opinion is unprejudiced! 🙂

    • Thank you 🙂 thats the nicest thing anyone has said on this post. Arun said, how does it hurt when a cricketer earns. Well it hurts all those like you or Sukanya who have slogged their butts off at a sport and been treated so poorly. As a stereotypical Libran, unfairness bothers me hugely. And there is nothing fair about these guys being given cars and crores when they only put in as much effort as Saina or Gopichand. I really hope that the country will think this through. I don’t imagine the aam junta on the streets will, but I do hope that those who read these comments will hear it from your mouth and give it some thought.

      • To Arun: Like I said, it doesn’t hurt when a cricketer earns. It hurts when you don’t (earn even a word of appreciation) when you have put in equal effort AND achieved just as much. It hurts cos you don’t know where you went wrong. Why the disapproval. Why the govt babu said after seeing my sea-swimming pictures “Ye aise picture toh koi bhi bana sakta hai chowpatty pe jaake” It hurts when you see your father coming home feeling shameful and guilty while telling you that the babu he just met said this.. It doesn’t end. Sorry for the senti dose, but you guys asked for it 😀

        • Pre IPL, all cricket players were not earning.. Some, especially representing UP,MP,Orissa,Kerala were actually ashamed of it. I know personally so many of them, where they were just ashamed of showing their faces to their Dad. I was on verge of being selected for CK Naidu trophy (without my dad knowing) but opted not to. I know 2 budding football players representing UP.. one turned as a hitman, the other an inspector. I know so many so called cricketers who still rue the politican patronage they lacked, or that *day*, when their performance was not just up to it.. All I am saying is that before IPL, cricket was not easy.. not everybody made money. Kind of compare it to the crowd preparing for IAS, and still flunking the exam.. not everybody gets into public services..

  24. Great post, MM. Now tell me, WHY are people going to my blog from yours? (How, that is. Where’s the link?)

    What I hate about cricket season is what Aneela wrote above. All the jingoism, the bashing of the other side. Where’s the ‘sportsmanship’ that sports are supposed to infuse?

    • I have no idea. 🙂 maybe one of your insightful comments? and yes, that is what I said. I’m a friend of Aneela’s and of Jammie’s. I don’t relate to these people who are bashing ‘the other side’. What other side? Its just another country we’re competing against. Not the battle of good against evil.

      • I think it was the post you wrote about how people deal with religion (or the lack of it ahem! ahem! Unmana) in their life.
        This public service announcement was brought to you by Aneela. Kindly continue supporting me and mine.

  25. I totally agree with you… I sat through the match just coz i was at a friend’s place and there was nothing much to do…. but cant say i was much interested… my problem is i dont think this is completely an honest game anyways…… and i am not interested in watching a game scripted by someone… i wouldd rather go to a movie and do that

  26. Hey MM, we live in a country where cricket is almost a religion and Sachin et al are treated like Gods.And hence the support to the sport from a million fans and the capitalization on it by business honchos. Do you think all attention is given to cricket only and not to the other sports? Why do you think there were a million tweets and posts on the hockey world cup and CWG debacle? Of course people care.
    Cricket in India is at its pinnacle and to develop any another sport to garner that huge a support and viewership will take will require an enormous effort. I dont see that happening in the near future.
    How many children today know hockey is our national sport and not cricket?
    You see the 10 minute unity and minute by minute score update as farcial, but I sure enjoy the frenzy however shortlived it is. As someone said, it brings back vivid memories of childhood and galli cricket- things that are dear to us.
    I agree to your point on viewing the Ind-Pak matches in a different light which belittles the purpose and spirit of the sport. The ones who do this deserve a tight slap. But again, I know a lot of Indians who praised Afridi for being graceful.I do not agree to this ‘Bleed Blue’ bullshit and ‘dedicating’ the WC to Sachin yaada yaada. See MM, amidst tensions between India and Pakistan, the Pakistani team is able to come to India, play and reach home in good shape. That by itself is a great accomplishment.
    You may not like being glued to the TV for the game, but please dont jeer at the ones who do.
    I sure feel your angst. Sania Mirza’s dad was a rich man I heard that helped her in many ways and Abhinav Bindra had similar reasons. Do you know about this girl called Ilavazhagi, daughter of a rickshaw driver in Chennai who is actually a world champion in carrom? I’m more than stupefied how this girl did not get recognised!
    The average cricket fan is not to be blamed.

    • Hey CMCK
      All your points taken, but I am not ‘jeering’ anyone at all. Merely stating the case for oh.. just a miniscule percentage of us who don’t want to watch cricket, and taking the liberty of speaking on their behalf. As you can see from the comments, a lot of them agree. We all know that cricket is the game of the masses and Sachin is God to the cricket viewers. But have the viewers ever stopped to try and understand why we don’t watch? No. So this is just to give them an idea of why it is that we don’t. Simple.

      I am not blaming the average cricket fan. I am wondering why people who claim to like sports seem to all like only one or two. And I am also pitying the fate of the poor carom champion who sadly doesnt have a rich father to push her through. Its a pity that even talented people like Bindra would have fallen off the radar if it werent for a father’s support. What he really needed was a nation’s support and we pretty much failed him.

      • My point was only about the WC- final-excitement thingy – i’m not a cricket fan and I watched the finals fully and loved it. Developed sort of a respect for it 🙂 Just felt bad that you felt all that celebration wasn’t really necessary.
        About the nation not supporting other sports, I agree. But again its not the common man I will blame.

        • hey – I wish it were just the final, but everytime there is a cricket match the world comes to a standstill. At least where I have lived. I think celebration is okay as long as it doesn’t border on hooliganism, which it mostly does. Disturbing the peace is not on. Be it blasting music for a private party or putting shamianas up on the road. A few days ago someone had a death in their family and decided to put up a shamiana right across our community park. Its against the rules. And its tough to go say anything to anyone who has just lost a family member, yet, wasnt this something they should have refrained from? It seems like we don’t stop to think of how we are disturbing another’s life.

        • We are like little children – we want the biggest, most colorful and expensive balloon the balloonwala has. That catches our attention immediately. And we expect him to get the same kind of balloon every time he comes to our street. Abhi bolo, isnt it his mistake to entice us with his best balloon? 🙂
          (may be I need to go sleep :P)

  27. oh boy oh boy oh boy! what a luverlyyy post. MM i seriously lurve you. i see the thoughts in my head written down so beautifully that it makes me want to cry. i went to sleep at 10 on the day of the final. hubby woke me up for the last over because india was winning. he was excited and wanted to share it with me so i got up too. watched the last over. shared a few yays and hugs and kisses and went right back to sleep. wish i could keep sleeping till people find something new to talk about.
    i don’t usually say much about not watching the match because people react so weirdly that i prefer to just say non-committal hmmm and let it go.

    • LOL! same here. I would never have written this post if people didn’t react so ridiculously to my shrugging and saying, No, I didn’t watch the match. Its almost as though you insulted their ancestors and Gods. Hello, how about a little sensitivity to those who didn’t want to match it. Who might have other interests. Here’s yet another level at which I am a minority in this country 😉

  28. Endorsements are fine – given by private parties for their individual gain…but we find the Government – central and State actually rewarding the sportsmen with obscene amount of money ( in crores !!! )

    To this – i must firmly protest. Our governments are accountable to us – and to the 25% of its population that lives below poverty line.

    What kind of ethics does it show – seriously, is rewarding these rich men so much more important than the many , many other challenges that our country face today?

    The whole political , religious and cultural obscene ties attached to this very whimsical game makes me mad..

    Really..how DOES our country watch this absolute madness without protest??

  29. My husband watches ALL the cricket matches! ALLLLLL and I usually treat the game as the other woman in my life. But yep, for the world cup final 3 matches which India played, I was caught up in the frenzy and loved each moment of the Indo-Pak and Indo-Lanka matches. it was like reading a thriller.

    The sweetest moment was when my Pakistani colleague called me at midnight on Saturday and congratulated me on India’s fantastic win. I was bowled over.

    And on Monday, my inbox had congratulatory messages only from across the border not from fellow Indians (who must understandably have been hung over). i thought it was the sweetest, sweetest thing.

    yep – we’d riled each other the whole week before the Indo-Pak match… taking each other’s trip and claiming we’d win and make the other team wish they’d never been born. but i was so so glad to see it was actually just banter and not a proxy-war which had been waged.

    • That is really sweet 🙂 and exactly the kind of thing that is rare enough to be called sweet. This should be something that comes naturally to all of us but doesn’t.

  30. I love your blog ….really …but i politely disagree with you…we won and thats what matters …people will say good and bad things about anything in life ….there are always two sides to a coin ..

    • 🙂 that was sweet and polite. And yes, we won (yayy!) but I wish I could agree that it is all that matters. There are so many more things that matter and I so badly wish people would care about them with even half the passion they reserve for this. but then again.. people are different.

  31. Oh my god, thank you for putting your energy into writing this, it was cathartic to read. And the brother-pucking IPL starts next month. I am so tired of this nonsense. But you know, that’s only surface irritation. What really gets to me is the insinuation that you can’t NOT be into cricket. Everytime someone rants on about this bloody cricket nonsense, I say one very powerful word out loud in my head: whateves.
    I feel instantly better. You should try it, MM. It takes hard, cold, teenager-style indifference to cope with this hysterical barrage.

  32. You miss your trolls, aren’t you?! 😉

    I didn’t watch the match, but wished India would win.. only for Poonam Pandey. Yes. And, seems like that isn’t happening now… 😦 😦

    Seriously though, loved this post. Esp the about the ‘Unindian’, ‘Uniting Indian’ crap that they keep throwing at us.

    These are things I have always wanted to say, but you have said it much better than I could. Sharing it. 🙂

  33. Oh dear! Even though I am miles away from any kind of sport, I am afraid this time I happily went over to the ‘jungli’ brigade. Dizzy with joy and pride. Wacthed the finals ball by ball= only problem being, that I ended up crying for Srilanka esp after their captain’s gracious speech…so calm, polite and generous in his words…that brought me down abruptly….and I couldnt feel very good therafter. Our friends promptly labelled me ‘gaddar’ at that gathering. I know they were kidding but anyhow. But do you see the different emotions any one random fan can undergo?? I know you do. Minutes in to the game, I was a rabid fan…hours later I was mourining for the losing team…

    Agree with most everything you have to say MM but this win is a big deal yaar…in a country which doesnt have much going for it…a week long ‘jungli-pana’ is ‘almost’ bearable(personaly speaking).Btw loving the arguments from the other side too for a change…:)
    cheers
    h

    • no, you know, you won me over by crying for Sri Lanka. I understand passion. I am passionate about things myself. And not for a minute do I want to take away from another person’s joy over a victory. How can I? Am I not part of this country? I only dislike the way we turn everything into a tamasha. Stampedes, mobs, bombs, rioting…

  34. Here in the US, I heard in the news that the cops caught the felons at their home when they are watching TV during the american football finals who were otherwise on the run:)

  35. Wow! After a point there were too many comments to read through. So I shall quickly make my point and vamoos from here! In my opinion, this match was a great opportunity for the country to come together, after 3G and re-opening of Bofors and Radhika’s rape and murder and… and… and what not. For that one reason, it was a great spectacle. As for other sports not getting their due, its HIGH time they did. But we did cheer for Abhinav Bindra and Narain Karthikeyan and Vishwanathan Anand and Sushil Kumar and Saina Nehwal… so they are being recognized now.

    As for your not watching the match, I hope you went out to shop. The malls must’ve been practically deserted then!

    • 🙂 I hope the country did come together. It seems to be everybody’s top reason and I want to see proof of it now!
      And no I didnt shop. Us worker ants dont get a break 😉

      • I fail to understand how it unites us all? Except for a brief period of hysteria, we all get back to hating each other and plotting behind backs.

  36. And why isn’t anyone talking about match-fixing in cricket? I used to pretty much like cricket until it was rocked by THE scam. After that…the talk of cricket makes me yawn. Now I cannot watch a match, coz I don’t know if I’m being cheated. Specially since we are talking about obscene amounts of monies involved, it is possible right? How many msgs on FB to the effect that “the 30 crores have landed in Malinga’s account, now we are safe”. Is this patriotic? – to have faith in your team because u believe you could buy the win with money?

    So, yes, I’d watch honest tennis, gymnastics, badminton…anyday.

      • No they’re not. Many of the girls are molested by the coaches. the athletes aren’t given to eat properly when they go for meets. I could go on. So no, they aren’t honest at all. And if you’re talking money. I don’t know what money they’re giving if some of them don’t even have a kit to play with.

  37. I’m not a sports fan and have been a commie-at-heart since I can remember having a political opinion, so I see things almost exactly the way you do. I spent the finals at a private club with the husband and few friends (mostly non-indians) who chatted and cheered while I read first the Vogue and then Vanity Fair. I peeled my eyes away from the magazines for only the last 5 overs and the results made me extremely happy and unabashedly proud. Nobody called me a spoilsport or unindian.
    But I have to agree with Neha’s excellently articulated points. While big weddings and lavish cricket parties are not my thing, I do splurge on eating out (very often) and on amazing holidays (3-4 every year). I feel like a hypocrite/pseudo-socialist at times but I have finally learned to rationalise this apparent “inconsistency” in my life beliefs.
    The way I see it now, I’m happy to spend money on things that are essentially private celebrations but can’t do the same for more public events because that feels exhibitionist and vulgar. My husband says I’m just tight fisted and anti-social…sigh.

    • We work hard, and are all entitled to some indulgence. But there is indulgence and then there is OTT. Where we draw that line is different for us all. For me, it is wasteful expenditure on weddings, birthdays, etc, because unlike a holiday to Spain that might improve your mind and broaden your horizones, this seems more of a showing off thing. Ostentatious is not me. At this point it again gets very murky. I have heard so many people say that North Indian are ostentatious etc, and how do you draw the line between ostentatious and just wanting to celebrate in the best way possible. where cricket enters the pic though, everyone seems to go OTT. In my humble opinion.
      I agree with your last bit. I don’t mind private celebrations. they’re less showy and vulgar. unlike a rather showy 27 floor building that a certain industrialist is putting up. in this case, so many people are willing to agree that it is showy. why then do people comment on something that is essentially his own business?
      i like a lot of Neha’s points, except for the one about nothing scary in being capitalistic. Second, i disagree with the comparison with the football matches. Those are purely sports driven rivalries. Anyone who truly thinks this is the same… is so fooling themselves. Too many people allow history to cast a shadow on sports.
      Also the bits about individual sports – not agreeing with that either. In our country too, the cricketers are individual stars. All these successes go to their personal kitties. Please note the money individuals are being given by states – NOT the team. As for the whole – this WC was for Sachin. Excuse me for thinking it was for India. I find it equally bizarre to say that an individual sport brings less glory than a team sport. Why is that?
      And finally – money is not a dirty thing. Wasting it, is very dirty. And no, I doubt Warren Buffet will endorse that because he’s just been by telling Indian CEOs to give more to charity. Couldn’t fit this into a comment on Neha’s comment so leaving my points here.
      as for your husband (this is probably the first time you’ve referred to him on the blog, sweet man) – forgive him, he’s just a man. what does he know?

  38. *like*
    I watched part of the match, and was glad India won. But I did not like the mania that went along with it.

  39. MM you have made some very valid points here and clearly, I agree with them. I am happy we won the World Cup. When the Sachin and Dhoni got out it seemed to a lot of people that we might not be able to make it, will you believe the thought that ran past my mind I shared it with the husband too-never mind if we loose it will teach a lesson to these people who have bought these tickets for 60 K and what not. I mean will even half of these people sponsor a bright child who is struggling to study (maybe they will I hope I am wrong). Concentration of wealth that is what our problem and we are promoting it indirectly in sports too, we are responsible for making our cricketers so filthy rich and some talented sports people so damn poor that they can’t buys their sports gears.

    Being away from India I missed all the hoopla but the few pictures that I’ve seen on Facebook it seems like it was like a grand grand Maha Deepawali.

  40. forget the cricket talk? it has been done to its death and more !!

    u like Dexter ?? I love it too.. and love watching the same episode again when it repeats to catch what i might have “missed” the first time…

    also have read all the spoilers on wiki.. so its kinda more interesting to see how it actually happens on the screen..

  41. Ok, I watched the finals, danced and shouted (though inside the confines of my home) and celebrated by hugging and almost crying. All this when I have stopped watching cricket ever since the fixing happened. But can a fan really detach emotion completely? I think not. But thats that. Life was back to normal the next day for me. But whenever I wanted to get some news, there was only cricket on whichever channel I switched to. It was irritating.
    But it definitely is national pride. When the national anthem played prior to the match, I almost cried with pride, that it’s OUR team that’s there who are the hot favorites. I agree with the media hype, people taking the excuse of match to not do their work when needed. But what I don’t understand is, how can you make people not interested in watching Common wealth, interested? I sometimes watch those games, but I’m not a great fan. The same goes for sponsors, they want to put their money where they know they’ll get it back. I don’t think it’s anybody’s fault. But media does play some part in popularizing the game. Also the money they spend on the game and the money people spend on watching the game is their wish. But what with Govt.s announcing crores for them? Are they plain blind?? Why heap taxpayers money on a bunch of sportsmen who did nothing more than play their game well?
    I have mixed emotions on this, but whatever the case, cricket is one sport that will always capture my interest.

    • i agree. no one can make you interested in a game you are not interested in. but interest is built. media, articles, publicity builds up a game. if sponsors back, interest will follow. and yes, its precisely things like this that make me mad. how dare the govt give off money that the poor could do with??

  42. Ok this might be way offfff topic but I LOVE Dexter too!! I can see it back to back till i drop down dead. Love it!! There is something about it – its made so well and keeps you hooked on to it. Same pinch! Now you can get back to “discussing” the topic 🙂

    • bah. i’d rather discuss it with you. does his voice make your toes curl or what?! i am so hooked that i am watching the third season now and very afraid that i will not find someone to give me season 4

  43. I agree with you on all counts you have mentioned.And beautifully!And I am a Cricket lover.But its time others also get their due.

  44. it is evident that you are the breed of couch-journalists, that think they can write with thier “high iq” vision on the world, with no realy tangible connections to reality.

    i live in india, and you would NOT believe the excitement, fervor and celebrations the commonwealth games caused. heros were made on a daily basis; the news was FULL of interviews, backgrounds, and character sketches of the individuals who made up the event, and the “unknown” sportspeople you talk about.

    and just for your information: tickets to events in which india was participating was VERY difficult to get… there were lines that were miles long, and a public outcry for more tickets for domestic guests. your research is as laughable as your viewpoint.

    wicky

    • It seems…. right? But you’re wrong. And HOW, might i ask, can a vision be high IQ? I am intrigued. Must know.
      And oh – by the end, tickets were going waste for most events. Did you try? No? Fell for media hype? Didn’t pick up a phone to find out? Oh well, I guess people like you deserve the media they get.

  45. uff oh. You write posts that get 200 comments and one practically has be an analyst to read through and respond. But I am a jobless mango person so..

    Disgreement.
    1. I don’t get the “I’m getting hate for my lack of interest in cricket” when you seem to be judging people for their overhwhelming passion for the game. you don’t give a shit, they do, its all subjective anyway, let it be. I am not even a big cricket fan, but my entire family is nuts and my brother as you know, makes his living writing about sports. We were a typical sports geek family, (I was the only athelete) knowing all the trivia and not missing ANYTHING; whether it was cricket, football or goddamn figure skating. (Torville and Dean *sigh*)Sports for many families is about personal history and passion. I remember the 83 final and being moved then. I remember Boris Becker winning Wimbledon in 85. I remember Ayrton Senna’s death and my brother’s tears. I remember Liverpool Football Club winning a FA cup and my brother broke two fingers on his hand because he punched the wall so hard in delight:-)
    Our minds are complicated litte machines and our motivations come from almost forgotten places sometimes. From treaured personal memories in the fabric of our lives and uncomplicated times when we were together in a living room just hanging out and loving a sport – any sport.
    For me, Saturday was fabulous because it my chance to introduce my half Norwegian son to the game (He LOVED it. lots of maths in cricket;-))We came together as a family to support “our” team – in pretty much the same way the Norwegian team is “our” team in the winter olympics. There is an enthusiam, zeal and bonding during sport that I think you HAVE to love some sport to understand. Like all loves, IT IS IRRATIONAL AND OVER THE TOP AND I CAN’T BELIEVE I HAVE TO TELL THE OTT MM THIS:-) Ask the guy who broke his fingers if you don’t believe me. And maybe I have amazing FB/twitter friends because there was sheer positivity online. No Lanka bashing, bleed blue, warmongering crap. It was almost idyllically uncomplicated to be united as Indians that day. It was an excellent game to boot.

    Also, European football and club football is very much about national and regional rivalry too. You really think that the political, cultural past does not influence an England-France game? National identities and likes and dislikes are intensely strong. people are just more subtle about it.

    Agreement:
    AArggh to the ostentation, the paying insane sums to already rich people and disrupting lives for days on end. I think its all well and dandy to say, my money and what do you care what I do with it – of course true when it is personal wealth, but as a taxpayer I would react strongly to this inappropriate display if appreciation.
    I did think on Saturday that its such a crying shame that India is not great at a ton of other sports – our country needs this feeling. Just as there will be some popular kids in class there will ALWAYS be some sports that are more popular than others, but every one of them deserves to have the same conditions to compete. if they still can’t/don’t gain popularity and leverage after that – too bad. At least they ahd the chance. No true “Indian” should not want to level this uneven playing field. I am all for patriotism, but I honestly believe we are losing the patriotism plot here as you rightly point out. Give that money to sports scholarships, training camps, developing a town/ city/stadium or training facilities. One crore is still get a lot done.

    off my frikkin soapbox now:-)

    • 🙂 okay. my response comes after 32 years of being fed up to the gills. So yeah I’m judging. but only after some 30 years of “gasp! you dont want to watch OUR team? You don’t think its the greatest game on earth?” Err.. simple answer – No. Not good enough answer? Okay, let me write a blog post and explain it better.

      and darling, don’t go by your civilized friends on fb or twitter. naturally they will be like minded. I mean even the worst I can call my own friends on FB is cricket obsessed. No more. but go to a rediff board if you want to know what the average junta is talking about. take a walk around a community complex and talk to people.

      France vs England – more subtle? Fine. I am not there, I don’t know. But if you say it is, then yes, more subtle. So maybe we need to be more “subtle” about our hatred than call the Sri Lanka team a team of rakshas and go on to describe Lanka Dehan etc. You have to be here to see the venom, the lack of subtletly, the sheer crassness. Read my comments to see how many other people have spoken about it. I live in the same country as the rest and have the same history as they have, with Pakistan and Sri Lanka so they arent experiencing anything special. And now I must beg them to stop before they say anything worse!

      agreement part – 🙂
      and oh – me OTT? *gasp of horror and faints* 😉
      And double oh – I cried when Senna died too.

  46. As for ‘UnIndian’ or the point that cricket brings us together.. just look at the comments MM.. you’ll realize that this is the first post where most of your readers are *united* ( against you ) If I may add 🙂

    • LOL! I have already said that cricket unites for a short while. it is after all the love of atleast 1 billion. i dont know about the .2 remaining.

      also, I don’t think most are united. Most actually understand my annoyance even if they love cricket. which is all i ask for. understanding of the opposite POV.

      And finally, this isn’t the first post people where people disagree with me, neither will it be the last. Its good to shake things up once in a while and if I can’t be honest on my own blog, I may as well shut down and get a little diary to scribble in 🙂

  47. Congrats! Loved your article. Enough with these cricketers. Why should the Govt. reward these guys with crores of public tax money when they are millionaires already. What about the income-tax exemption these guys are getting? Cricket has destroyed other real sports in India that the whole world plays (not just 6-8 countries).

  48. WOW!!! Just WOW!!!

    *Clap Clap*

    FANTASTIC piece of writing. You have spoken my mind. These were the exact reasons I had debated against some of the lunatic ‘final world cup’ fans I know. They were shocked at my reaction and couldn’t believe how uninterested I was. During the last over and presentation ceremony I had my nose in a book!

    So was I fed up of being bombarded by ‘same-to-same’ FB status by every fricking person. I mean come on there’s a live match on TV, why would you update here every second?

    I completely agree about other sports being neglected. My man loves playing cricket but isn’t a fan of this hullabaloo either! He couldn’t play beyond district matches because of the corruption!

    And what “WORLD” cup? I thought only 11 countries played! And no ‘South Indians’ in the team either and the existing team represents the country? What about players from East India waiting for a chance or from a distant village in Tamil Nadu who has no ‘contacts’? And what about those (most of them) born-brought-up Indians in other counties cheering for ‘TEAM INDIA’? I mean they don’t waste a minute complaining how poor our country is and all of a sudden just because of a match they become partiotic!!It just doesn’t make sense.

    I couldn’t wait for the match to end. I dislike being dragged into this.

    I agree with every point of yours MM.

    • hey memoirs of Mal: Please don’t forget the bonafide mallu in the team – Sreesanth – or Pottan (idiot) Sreekuttan as he is affectionately called.

  49. Regarding Neha’s post, I was confused by the bit about materialism not being sad or scary and the reference to China. China today is as if not more capitalist/ consumerist as most of the western world.
    I do agree that team sports stir national pride/jingoism more than team sports. Thats quite seperate from your point about cricketers being rewarded individually. I think she was coming at it from a emotional connection point of view. People do connect more deeply with team sports than individual sports. I haven’t looked for any psychological studies to back up that claim but it seems understandable that watching a group of people so closely associated with our national identity working as a “team” to win something evokes a sense of communal pride. I’m sure there is a group dynamics-oriented explanation for this. We get our share of the glory when people say “India won the world championship” not “eleven cricketers from India won the world cup” but for an individual sport such as tennis, its always “Federer or Nadal won” and not “Switzerland or spain”.
    As for disproportinate rewards, I suppose all cricketers are not equal…and its not surprising to see a bunch of politicians and the likes riding on their tailcoats after the world cup victory.
    And winning for sachin??? I thought that was really bizzare though my husband (second time today) tried unsuccessfully to convince me of it.

    • Hey Intern, see this is again opinion. I say that capitalism or materialism is not sad or scary. I think – done the right away – it’s all about a direct correlation between hard work and returns and spending.. much preferred to warped legal dynamics and state control laws that even the newly opening-up China faces. The tight political control is hardly conducive for individual entrepreneurship?

      Also I draw the parallel with the rivalries in other sports because I sincerely believe that for MOST people, that is exactly what it is. Ask any cricket fan what triggers them most about India vs. Pak, and they are more likely to quote Akram’s swingers crushing India or the Sohail-Prasad spat or Sachin’s destruction of Akhtar than 26/11. It’s sad that there are some who choose to link the two things, but I am very confident that they are few and far between. I was there at the stadium, and there were literally 3 people in a stand of thousands who tried to boo Pak supporters and they got more than an earful.

      Well, the last bit about winning for Sachin is something I have a very emotional take on, so I won’t say anything. I worship SRT and I have no unbiased opinion on this one 🙂

  50. Agree with a lot of things you said. However there is “our” side of the story too. Like if someone doesn’t see the humour and association in Lanka Dahan, it’s not our problem.

    Some of us are smart enough to FB/ Tweet everything and be part of the excitement live. There is this little thing called multitasking.

    Some of us watch cricket world cup to world cup. Why is it so hard to understand?

    Some of us were brought up on cricket, our dads spent a LOT of time watching cricket, listening to radio commentary, and catching up on sports news. Cricket was seen in groups in the neighbourhood, and tournament finals were an event – projectors, chips, and soft drinks, and hajjar cricket experts. We did not have to cultivate love for this game – it just gets us interested suddenly. And almost every time. We have too many school, college, and home town memories associated with cricket. That is why we go hysterical, especially when it is a world cup semi final/ final we are talking about.

    We don’t judge most cricket haters, except those who believe or pretend to believe they are doing it for a better cause. We don’t sit around dissing people who don’t watch cricket. We are too busy getting super happy about almost everything that has the potential. Just like we don’t judge a LOT of other things those people do. All I am looking for is a return of favour. If you don’t like someone’s hysterical FB updates, there’s a hide option right next to those updates – they can choose to hide ALL updates from that person. Or better still – unfriend on FB, unfollow on Twitter. Why are the haters expecting others to live their lives their way and alter their “online personalities” (BLEH) to suit what the haters want to see on their home pages. All I am saying is be vocal at the right time, at the right place. Or shut up and get lost.

    Needless to add, none of this was for you. I am just supremely pissed off with the whole “online personality” bit and haters trying to prove that watching cricket is evil. It’s a free world, free web space, and if I like cricket, don’t expect me to be apologetic about it. I think this is better than a closet cricket/ saas bahu shows/ namma Surya lover. Know what I mean?

    B.L.E.H.

    • wow. feel better after getting that off your chest? 🙂

      okay. here’s my response. There is no humour in Lanka Dahan for the Sri Lankans. If your joke hurts the person who is the butt of the joke, then its not a joke. If the idea is to call it a sport, then you have to maintain the sporting spirit and not hurt sensibilities with such “jokes”.

      I don’t think anyone here is a cricket hater. There are those however who are disinterested. And to them, the excesses well, do come across as vulgar. Its a matter of opinion. Just like an overdressed woman at a picnic. Are you saying people similarly don’t have a right to an opinion? If I am paying for a newspaper or a newschannel bouquet, I have a right to object to the news it is showing me. Be it something ridiculous like Rakhi Sawant or an overdose of cricket info when there is a lot else happening on the same day.

      This really is not about someone’s FB page alone, although I see the FB pages seem to be taking over people’s lives. Social networking is meant to connect, not to cause so much bitterness. So if you put up 20 cricket updates and someone puts up one saying Thank God its over, you’ve got to accept it with as much grace as they accepted your updates. If they were rude to you of course, I can understand an equally rude response. That is as much their space to express the way they feel as yours to express how you feel.

      I don’t think anyone has said cricket or even cricketers are evil. The objection is to the govt wasting our money on giving them sops that could be used better. Our money too, we have a right to voice an opinion on it. You can disagree. The dissent is for the hooligans who get drunk and drive recklessly and don’t get challaned because its about cricket. If they maim or kill a loved one, is it going to hurt any less just because they were cricket celebrations. Drunken driving is not allowed during other celebrations, cops turned a blind eye on this day. Again, as paying citizens of the same country, on the same roads, we are concerned. There’s more where this came from, but if you only see it as some black and white conspiracy against a mere game, then there is nothing more to be said.

      But to respond with words like shut up and get lost… that’s just not something I expected of you. Oh well, disagreements are good, if just to see people show another side to their personalities.

  51. Ok so I don’t know any Lankans to really hurt their feelings on FB. I have called Americans stupid a million times, so have people who are now fighting for Pakistan and Sri Lanka’s cause. There seemed to be no alarm then! If someone does say “thank God it’s over” right in the comment box or on their page, I’d appreciate it. But to not say it there and say it everywhere else is an issue.

    And my point in the entire blog post of a comment was that they are entitled to their opinion and we should entitled to our opinion. Very plain and simple, no?

    A lot has been said about going hysterical about cricket, the evil bit was a figure of speech.

    And my shut up and get lost was for people who have been saccharine sweet during my cricket madness and I find out only here how much they disagree with me. If I hadn’t seen it today, chances are I’d not have commented on this post, also because I have been seething about a bunch of people judging everyone who let go of themselves during the tournament. My question is – why is being happy about anything at all, cricket or not, such a problem? I mean as long as we are not killing the Pakistanis and Lankans, what’s the harm? We did like Chandler didn’t we? I am not even a sportsperson, I only loved the excitement and it got to me. My problem this time around was not even getting judged by those disinterested in cricket. They want to be allowed an opinion, what’s funny, sad rather, is they don’t want to allow others the same luxury.

    I guess I have made my point, if I had any.

    All said and done, I LOVED the tournament and I need to go see pictures of bald Dhoni and see his neighbour’s interview on Times Now. So catch you around.

    • You don’t need to know someone to know that certain things would be hurtful, no? When you stop and think about Lanka Dahan or Ram smiting Rahim.. its just well, racist! Yes, people will call someone stupid if they are fighting or there has been an issue. But how can you in one breath say that you want to engage in sport with them and in the other make racist jokes? That steps over the boudary and becomes unsporting. That turns it into a war from a sport.

      Yes, everyone is entitled to their opinion, which is what this post is about. I don’t think anyone wants to deliberately be saccharine sweet. I too have smiled at my friends who are cricket crazy, hell, even cooked for them and everyone knows how much I hate it. This is really a culmination of TOO many things. So if its some friend, you have to realise its not about you. Its about eventually getting tired of 200 people doing or saying the same thing, which was sweet until only one or two were doing it. Surely you understand that. Its only human.

      Being happy is not the problem. Being hysterical, yes. I have friends in the apartment complex whose kids are in college and trying to study. Two days of bombs going off all night cost them their papers the next day. Others have lives to live and one must be cognizant of that. Is killing the only thing one has a right to object to and not blatant racism? I’ll disagree here. Racism is never funny. Many people indulge in it in a moment of anger, but I can’t imagine passing it off as a joke and expecting that to be okay. Or saying that it is okay to be racist if you have no friends from that community.

        • Precisely – in most matters except racism. But the shut up and get lost… is unwarranted, no matter who it was directed at, particularly since it was in my space.

          • Yup, totally! But if someone has to choose your space to bitch about me, and if your post and comments are condescending/ stubborn, you will have to bear with it.

            Or delete it. Your call.

            • Calling a one off comment racism is a bit harsh. Especially when you choose to ignore a huge north south divide that goes on way too often on your comment boxes and posts.

            • I didn’t call your comment racist. Go back and read. I said the SMSs doing the rounds were racist in nature. To which you responded saying people didn’t see the humour in them. Unless you mean your one Lanka Dahan joke was very funny and the rest were not. Either way, I’m really done here. This is no more about the post and I have no intention of dragging it on.

            • No more than yours my dear, no more than yours. I think you’ve said enough. A difference of opinion shouldn’t destroy many months of goodwill. I’m not going to respond after this, simply because you’re just going to regret the unnecessary rudeness in some weeks. We’re done here.

  52. And when I said I agree with a lot of things you said, I meant the drunken hooliganism etc. But call me an escapist, right now I am too happy celebrating to really want to take notice of anything else. A week later, I may have an opinion on government funds and more, but not right now. To each his own. I am sure you agree.

    • Sure to each his own. And yes, maybe a week later you will feel differently. By then it will be too late to make a difference to the kids who couldn’t study all night or the old people who are sick and need their rest.

  53. I am 100% with you on this.

    I really hate the bad blood circulating among the younger crowd against Pak / Sri Lanka when they are totally high. Facebook is totally spammed with useless crap “Lanka is burnt” blah blah which is really unwelcome.

    I am not talking about the uneducated / school drop out crowd. I am actually telling about the 10% of otherwise rational IT crowd I know. With all these stupid thoughts, we are inculcating in our children, tomorrow they would grow up to be worser people.

    I once read an article about religion being forgotten by the 4th generation from today. I was really happy when I read that. But with us sowing some seeds every other day in kids, I doubt if that generation would ever come.

    Cheers
    Veena

  54. MM,

    Its not fair to generalize…watching cricket and getting hysterical about it is not a judgement of a person’s character or ability. I know of people who celebrated with champagne that night and I also know that those very people do much more for their bit of charity than most of us can even even think of…so wasting money is a very individualistic thing na? the perspective differs…and other sports are also getting their share of recognition now…slowly but surely…I remember how the media also went completely crazy when india did well at the commonwealth…for weeks there was just cw news and coverage- yes to be fair its not the same as cricket…but then things are changing… also our present cricket team does have people who are not half as well off as the others- so for them this is perhaps the lease of life they have waited for- so this excess is perhaps their ticket to a better life…things are unfair and lopsided still but it still doesnt take away from the greatness of the event- it was a momentous occasion and something of great pride. i was out on the streets with just another girlfriend after the match…and there were people running around hysterically…but at no point of time did anyone even try to misbehave with anybody else on the road…it was the happiness that brought people together…i wont say it doesnt happen- of course people go out of hand…but that can happen for anything else also…so to align it to a cricket crazy nation is not being completely fair…

    • okay.. go back to my post and tell me what I said about a person’s character, babe.
      Yes, the media went crazy -that is what media does. I dislike the media going crazy over anything. That is the point of my post.
      People can choose to do what they want with their hard earned money. I already said that too in the post. But the govt, is answerable to us. Big corporations may not be answerable to us, but we have a right to an opinion on them.
      Is cricket about making sure that the rest of the team gets an even better life? Or is it the govt’s job to level the playing field and give all sports people a fair shot, decent coaches, stadia to practice, money for their kits, decent food and supplements? You agree that it is unfair and that is what I said too.
      I am not going to agree or disagree on what is a great event because what is great to you, is just another victory for me. I am equally proud of Virendra Singh and Mary Kom who havent got half as much corporate or govt support. They all bring glory to the country so I’m not going to be running down the streets for one of them and not the other.
      To your last point – GREAT. Now lets do a post on how two girls ran around south Delhi and no one got molested 🙂 that should give the Delhi-haters something to think about. They believe you cant step out of your door without getting raped. But that bit of levity aside, ours is a country given to hysteria. Stampedes at the Kumbh Mela, drunk driving at festivals – as a nation we’re unable to behave civilly. Compare the tsunami reaction here to the reaction in Japan. Where they stood in lines for rations we break into fistfights. In what way do you want me to condone this. We just don’t know how to take to the streets in a civil manner without injuring others and the one off chance that you were safe (thank God!) is not what statistics are made up of. Have you forgotten the mob molestation in Bombay three years in a row on new years eve? We’re just not a safe country when we come out in hordes.

      • ok…the bit about character…its in the flow of writing and not in the ‘serious’ sense of the term- so no offence there…
        what im saying is of course things go wrong, of course the government needs to do a whole lot more about ‘other’ sports in this country…but will taking away the hysteria of a cricket crazy nation drastically change anything overnight? im glad the commonwealth happened because it gave the aam janta a perspective on the sports scene in india- much needed- but like i said again…change happens, will happen but over time.
        and about the safety bit of delhi…while going out even i thought twice but then i saw the people on the road- that night they were just happy about india winning…i dont think anything else crossed their minds…danger is everywhere…maybe more in delhi…but danger is danger…cricket or not it will happen- if people want to harm they wont need an excuse…and in the same vein harmless partying of people on the roads is also not a sign of immediate and evident danger…i am rambling but i think u know what im trying to say 😛

        • ROFL. actually no, I have no idea what you’re talking about but I’m willing to discuss it over mangsho. You owe me a dinner. Why? Err.. because I say so. thats why.

          oh wait, because we won the World Cup. There, now you have to feed me.

          PS: in serious response to your question, I disagree. Mob mentality is underrated. Throw together 3000 guys who wouldnt otherwise harm a fly and give them alcohol and you’ll see some trouble. Most of them are probably nice sober guys otherwise.

          • Err.. actually it is just 30 guys.. and no, you dont have to give them alcohol. We thrive on mob mentality…

  55. Ahh… such an MM-like post! So much of passion! Great read it made….

    I am not much into any sports…My dad was big-time into cricket and I used to watch cricket matches until the entire match-fixing fiasco happened. But since then I lost interest rite upto the matches during this worldcup!
    I watched the semi-finals and finals. On both days I was supposed to be on bed-rest after 2 different procedures and it was the perfect way to spend a day on the couch without moving! For the finals we painted our faces n cheered! N I just scream while the rest of the house jumped up in joy as appropriate. I was thrilled and over-enthu’d that India won the world cup!

    U know what I prefer being outdoors too, not much of a TV person. And Several people who prefers outdoors may be wanting to spend 8 hrs in front of the idiot box watching the game. There is no “SO” relationship between the two.

    I agree with you on several counts: regarding how all sports should be given equal importance and encouragement.
    It is pretty stupid for people to call u un-indian or non-patriotic just cause ur not excited about the match. But then I also think it’s unfair to not like a game or not give the players its due credit simply ‘coz other sports and/or sportspersons are not getting enough attention by the Indian Government, media, audience etc. How can the cricketers be blamed for that?? Why should they not be applauded for their success? They did earn it rite? Also… I think it’s ridiculous and stupid that various state Govts are acknowledging them with obscenely expensive gifts ..almost feels like they have to be bribed to play well..but again the cricketers can’t be blamed for that. The Govt is spoiling them., though I feel that it would be nice if the cricketers refused such gifts and thereby proved their credibility !

    As far as media reporting abt Dhoni’s wife or poonam pandey goes.. well media reporting irrelevant stuff and giving attention to people/things that don’t deserve it is a general rant..not specific to the area of cricket alone. They shove a lot more than just cricket down our throat. Why hate the game for that?

    N regarding tickets been sold at obscene prices..i wish they had legalized the process of people selling tickets at such process… likei know here (in the us)..u can buy tickets and sell them on ebay or craigslist…india should do the same…and then people won’t/can’t complain about the amt one spends on a ticket as corruption. Though I yet think 50k (I know lots more was paid) is a ridiculous price for a ticket!

    Commercials : A LOT of famous personalities who should and do have a lot of social responsibility endorse products like pepsi..which they may be should not. U know what we have no way to prove that the unsung sportspersons, if they were given the recognition due to them and grew to be famous enough, would not endorse these products and stuff their pockets. Again the problem of role models endorsing the wrong products is not limited to cricket. Its across all fields. A SRK or AB has that responsibility too and if we don’t hate/refuse to see the movies they star in, we have no right to do that to cricket.

    Yes..the Government and several other companies who can afford will do better by giving the money they are giving cricketers to the poor and more needy people.

    Mabbe ‘coz I am in the US.. I hvn’t gotten to witness any one who wanted india to win the india-pak match b’coz of the rivalry with pak. Infact a lot of my friends linked some speeches from the pak and sri lanka captains and said…”this is sportsmanship. This has been an excellent well-played series.”… yes..i did read statuses abt the ram-raavan war.. but I knew that was done only in a sense of humor…just like the status msgs abt Rajni and ghajini in the stadium is what made it happen!

    Yes..mabbe on those 2 days..life did come to a standstill for many many people. N its okay for u to not indulge it in ‘coz it felt like a waste of time for You. No one has the right to demand that u enjoy the game. But there will be those who think that its worth 2 days of celebration, anxiety n excitement..and a far cry from waste of time…and they are correct too! If they choose to go OTT over something once in 4 years..i don’t think its right to complain about it. We talk about our children being adaptive and not ooh-aah-ed over everything ( I remem ur post on this a long time back, about how an aunty u met commented on how today’s parents go overboard with all that)…so one or two nights of late night celebrations won’t do anything to these children. Pubs cash in on v-day or New Years day too. If we don’t complain about that, why complain about celebration over a victory in a game? Since when did dressing up, celebrating and expressing too much joy become a waste of time???

    Again..no one has a right to call u unindian or a spoilsport just coz u don’t feel as passionately as them about a game . but then again…for those who do feel about it that passionately..there is a sense of national pride in winning the world cup. Yes there are many many actual issues with india… but whats the point in not celebrating ‘x’ ‘coz Y is screwed up, correct? ‘coz it’s an ideal world..where everything will be perfect with a country !

    I wrote this response in bits n pieces, so I’m sorry if it sounds disconnected. I really respect u as a writer and person and no part of it is intended to be rude or offensive. I’m sorry if it is in any manner.

    • *Groan* no offence but I am now exhausted doing responses on this post. cricket bores me. and after a point discussing it drains me.

      A lot of what you said, misses my point. You’re saying cricketers earned the attention from govt but other victors havent? our team has won a world cup after 28 years. our other sportspeople win all the time -we just dont notice. i dont think cricketers need to turn down the expensive gifts. why would they? i am complaining that they shouldnt be offered these in the first place. so no blame on them.

      media rant is general – but also applicable here. i have often blogged saying that i hate the way the media forces this or that down our throats. why not on this post?

      same goes for endorsements – i rant about other celebs, why should i spare the cricketers? and in this case, i was talking about the companies, not the cricketers. i said why cant the companies endorse other sportspeople? so in this case i was no placing the responsibility on their shoulders but on the shoulders of the corporates.

      As for the whole ravan thing.. i thought it was in very poor taste. as i said to someone else – a joke is only funny if the person that the joke is on, thinks it is funny. ask a sri lankan or a pakistani what they thought of the jokes. some of them were downright crass and insensitive, particularly with countries that have a history of distrust. very poor judgment on those jokes.

      A lot of you who feel the hysteria wasnt much are not in India I notice. talk to anyone here and you will know that those who had other things to do – flights to catch, exams to take, illness… were all disturbed a lot. No one has a right to disturb another person’s peace no matter what the reason. your wedding, your birthday, your match, nothing.

      And i dont think it is wrong to complain because I am getting up and going to work and its a waste of my day to sit there if no one is going to take calls and only watch the match on the net. there is such a thing as professionalism. else declare it a national holiday and let me go out of town for the weekend. this is just a waste of my time. and my time is as important to me as another’s time is to them.

      my post was about not being so rigid to a point if you have something important to do with small children. but a college goer who has exams doesnt fall into that category. can you think back on your days of tension and exams? what if you ruined your top two papers because people made a noise all night. it can change the course of your life and i think its rather inconsiderate, even selfish to think that someone else’s future is not as important as a night of revelry. No one is saying dont watch a match. that is your right. people are saying dont disrupt peace because there are others who have other priorities.

      expressing too much joy … you said it. be happy, enjoy .. but there will always be a certain limit after which it gets OTT. i dont know you or what you did. So I can only comment on what I say. ergo, dont take it personally if you were not the person driving drunk on the roads screaming and singing. Do you realise how unsafe and scary that feels?

      no, your comment is not rude in any manner. its perfectly fine. take care. hope you’re well after the procedures.

      • This is turning out to be quite a post MM! Now tell me, apart from the hooliganism in the name of celebration that annoys you, who do you think is actually responsible for other sports getting sidelined? The aam junta? What do you think can be done to help?

        • Well I think the sport gained popularity because of the Brits, and stayed that way because it was such a “gentleman’s game”. And yes, every country does have a favoured sport and I see no reason why this shouldnt be ours. I just wish that the playing field was evened for other sports. Better facilities, coaches, I mean as GOTB said, when she participated in athletics, some girls ran barefeet because they had no shoes! can you imagine the spirit they must have to do this without an iota of support? Something must be done to encourage them. The government needs to stop wasting our taxes and spend some of it on these people.
          That apart, the media needs to focus on these sports and tone down the hysteria. Report on the game – don’t report on Dhoni’s haircut and his wife’s fasting. I don’t know about others, but this makes me lose interest because they are sidelining better news for this nonsense.

          • ‘coz u must be so sick n tired of responding about this topic..i won’t write another long-winded response in response to your response(does that make sense 🙂 )

            All i’m asking is if ur angry with the media, Government, etc for all the reasons stated above and don’t blame the cricketers or cricket for any of it…then, why take out ur gussa on cricket? I mean what’s the point in even doing that? It is possible to like the game or well, not hate it and YET fight for the other sports and those things that u don’t approve of or are unfair no?

  56. mangsho- whenever ur free…its an open invitation…and yes…thank you…we won!!! Yay!!!- on a serious note- even i was initially quite psyched by the hysteria- but the excitement was infectious…and it was just too unfair to stay away…these guys deserved the last few wins…and i just drank to support them 🙂

  57. I’ve been disinterested in cricket all my life, though most of my family loves it (my grandmother is a big fan). However, I gave in to the hoopla this time and watched the last 10 overs of the match. It was fun, I was glad India won, and the celebrations and everyone’s happiness post the victory really made me glad India won (personally, it made no difference to me otherwise).

    I agree with most of your post. You put it so much much much more better than I could have, and conveyed so much of what I feel.

    That said and done, I disagree with the part about celebrations. Drunken driving, violence – anything disturbing those around you are not on. But if someone wants to spend 60k on buying a ticket in black, or a few lakhs throwing a party after buying a projector, thats perfectly fine. It’s their money after all and they can do as they please. I spent a few lakhs in travel int he last one year – this is money that could have been better spend on charity, but this is how I chose to spend it because this is what made me happiest. In the same vein, its their money, their wish.

    However, the government giving away hard earned tax money to these super rich cricketers makes me see red. Seriously, they couldn’t think of better ways to spend the money? More urgent needs? More important priorities? Maybe healthcare, education, safe drinking water, sanitation, infrastructure…..and the list goes on. Give them awards and honours, sure, but please keep the money for areas where it is needed.

    For all this talk about respect for the cricketers etc., I would respect them if they give away these cash awards and plots etc in charity. Perfect way of teaching the politicians a lesson, and garnering more goodwill with the public.

  58. i lurve kirkit! 🙂

    Grew up playing it and watching it. But then I like ice hockey too. Watch that more than play though considering balance and me are not friends. The rush, the enthusiasm that cricket imbibes in desi folks, ice hockey does in Canadians. Like others have mentioned, it’s just because these are the sports we grew up watching and quite literally inherited fondness for them from our families and friends around us. They are like festivals … like Christmas … why do you enjoy xmas? why do you feel happy around xmas time? Cuz you associate happy memories with it. Same goes for Cricket for desis and Hockey for Canadians. Football for Americans for that matter. Soccer for English folks. There are some sports that you’d always have a special fondness for and they will be an inherent part of your culture like festivals. Nothing more to that really. Very simple.

    As for players remuneration, they get paid what market dictates. Nothing wrong with that. It’s unfortunate that sports other than cricket aren’t being appreciated on a wider level in India yet. It’s not much different in America though for sports other than football, basketball, and baseball either. You’d find many ex-Olympian athletes bartending in Vegas. Tough. Compare a wall street banker with a research scientist in a leading university. Both of them work the same hours, same effort, but one gets paid way more than the other. Tough. Such is life in a capitalist society. And capitalism is the only successful model known to (wo)man so far. Either live with it, or keep fighting the system hurting yourself in the process.

    OR come up with a system that would work better than capitalism. That would be cool!! 🙂

    • I completely understand associations and happiness Roop. But our happiness shouldnt stem from nasty, crass messages and jokes. Neither should it end in drunken hooliganism. Go home, open up a bottle of champagne or scotch or whatever your poison is and I don’t care. The moment you come out on the streets and behave badly, it goes into public territory and the others have a right to object. Drunken driving is illegal. Bursting crackers after 10 pm is not allowed. But all was forgotten.

      What the players get paid is their business. I can only feel bad if some get more than the other. What the govt gives them, again, falls into grey area because we are tax payers in this country and have a right to demand that our money be put to better use. Most teams travel sleeper class for tournaments… the disparity in treatment is amazing.

      • Yeah, i’m not in india to c wat happened on streets there. Here we had block parties tho. 🙂 They were fun! And definitely nothing illegal. India of course is a diff story. Given a chance, ppl will go crazy. There is very little fear or exercise of law it seems after your experience with police that other night. But pls don’t blame my dear kirkit for the lawlessness and ostracize it :p.

        Cricket players being treated special by ‘govt’ … you have every right to question as a taxpayer. On that I shan’t comment cuz my taxes are rite now not being used to feed dhoni’s hungry wife :p. Mine are instead being used to bomb Libya or ‘aid’ Pakistan.

  59. You and the Mr, bhai behen! Dexter crazy and non cricket fans :)gosh! am not a big cricket fan..you know why? Hansie Gate put me off! he was my all time favourite cricketer…after the Hansie gate i stopped believing in this sport! now people will retort about other sport being fixed too! but hey! i used to be a crazy fan of this sport! but being an athelete myself, it hurts for me to see other sports/games being neglected to the point that it feels like we dont know any other sport other than cricket! it is a sad situation….really sad…! but i watched the second innings and i was extremely proud about us winning!

  60. Oh let me quietly sneak out of here! I even parked my older daughter in front of the tv to prolong feeding her lunch so I could see the match end 🙂

  61. From the comments, I understood that your post is a response to people who called you unIndian for not being into the World Cup. I know you mentioned it in your post too, but from just the post my overpowering sense was that it was about why you don’t watch cricket (as opposed to why you’re not unIndian for not watching cricket).

    I feel that you don’t watch cricket because you don’t like watching cricket, or generally watching sports, period. The rest, while good points in themselves, don’t really connect up that well as reasons for not watching cricket.

    1. Lack of support to other sports: Yes, it’s sad that other sports get so little play in India. I was an athlete in school, not a very good one but I knew plenty of people who were great and who had to give up their dreams due to lack of support. The fact though is that sports is an unstable career choice anywhere in the world (of course more so in India) and most countries have one or two star sports and those who pick the others are taking a big risk. I may be wrong but my guess is that a wide variety of sports are supported only in developed countries, and even then it’s obvious which the star sports are. China is an exception in deliberately supporting niche sports where they are sure their athletes can win. Which brings me to the second point.
    2. The reason China invests so much in sports is that it recognizes that it is a powerful galvanizing factor in nationalism. That is the history of sports – people root for their heroes (even in Olympian times, sportsmen were seen as heroes). The movie Invictus shows how Nelson Mandela used the sport of rugby to unite the country. In countries like ours the need for “heroes” and successes is so great, no wonder the celebration is so big. And yes, we should be focusing on solving the bigger problems, but frankly those aren’t going to get solved in a hurry and a sporting success gives people a breather from the bad news. (Also why most Bollywood movies don’t have sad ending… life is sad enough anyway na?)
    3. Sports can unite because one does not need to be playing the sport to get caught up in it. One can share the agony and ecstasy vicariously which is what spectators do (as do people when they watch a play or a film, maybe Aristotle’s theory of catharsis applies here too). Moreover, sports would dwindle without spectators – as you see in sports where there is little public interest.
    4. Because of the euphoria of being caught up in a sport, celebrations will always be intense. Maybe that is the purpose of sport. They are seeming excessive and flashy to you, because as you pointed out, everything in India has become that way. The country is seeing a certain class of people flush with money and they want to spend it. Hopefully it’s only a phase. Even birthday parties are celebrated lavishly today but you managed to have nice simple kids parties without hating the birthdays themselves. Same with cricket, you can do cricket without the hoopla. The media hype – the media is hyping everything in India, why should cricket be exempted. The media in India is worthy of a separate rant altogether.
    5. Unfortunate that sponsors do not support other sports but you are mistaken when you see it as a CSR thing. Companies are not doing charity when supporting sports, they are doing business. They are marketing a product and picking a brand ambassador people can relate to. They do not make the criketers famous, the cricketers are famous and then the brands pick them. The more famous ones get more offers, and yeah, then become even more famous. I liked your point about it being sad that cricketers endorse crap like colas, but essentially endorsements are how sportsmen make money. Until very recently, even in cricket, I don’t think they could make great money just on salary from BCCI. Of course, now that they are multi-millionaires they could be more picky – Sachin for example doesn’t and has never endorsed alcohol products.

    Totally agree on the anti-Pak nonsense and the giving land and extra cash handouts to the team and worse selectors (most corrupt bunch ever!).

    Finally, about the Unindian thing, those people are clearly too stupid to take notice of. It’s like when people ask me what’s the use of art? Or sports, for that matter. I just roll my eyes. Loved your comment above – What is Indian. We contain multitudes. That should be our national motto.

    • 1. It was a response to the unIndian comment. But also a lot more. The hoopla around it that puts me off it even further. The rest are my reasons for disliking the game and needn’t appeal to anyone else. All it takes is something to tick you off, right, regardless of how well they come together for others.
      2. Yes, sport dwindles without spectators, which is the fear with all the other sports. Sports CAN unite, but only for ten minutes. This is an oft repeated statement in the comments and so I want to know – who is it uniting? Will someone from a higher caste in a village invite the lower caste to break bread with them if they didnt do it till now? Or will it magically mend bridges between Pakistan and India? We’re already getting hate mail against afridi changing his statement once he went back to Pakistan. So unless you mean sport unites us for one hysterical drunken moment and unites us in sending out crass jokes via SMS, I am afraid I don’t see this unity you speak of. come morning we’re back to being our sweet discriminating selves
      3. Celebrations are intense, and so is grieving. This post was meant to just bring up a couple of points. A filmstar dies, people burn themselves. Drunks are driving down the roads screaming wildly and freaking out normal people like us who need to be some place. The rest was just my distaste, expressed because well, wherelse will i express it? But other teams lose and go home peacefully – in our case, an effigy of Saurav’s dead body was carried past his parents’ home, painted his house black, vandalised Dhoni’s property. I’m sorry, but this kind of intense I think we need to start doing without.
      4. I don’t in the least bit imagine that endorsements are a CSR thing! Good Lord.. No! I just said that the 200 crores of endorsements coming his way would do so much more good as CSR. Why don’t the companies that have so much on their budget in advertising, use it for more good? After a point only so many people will buy Pepsi or Reebok, no matter how much you spend on ads.
      5. Actually I am disliking more and more birthdays because of the hoopla. As I often say, this isn’t just about them. This is about the environment they are creating for my kids who must grow up in this mess. So if its a kid my kids are not too friendly with, I RSVP my regrets and take them to do something fun. Sometimes I just play with them all afternoon, painting and reading stories and baking cupcakes and all is well. Loud parties, impersonal hosts who are going mad handling close to 75 kids, endless entertainment…. just not my scene. If its a home party I make an effort to ensure that I get done with work and take the kids.

      • About the unity, maybe that’s why it’s need na… imagine what the country would be like without even those 10 minutes? Essentially, India is more disparate than united, so maybe we need these ocassional artificially-created bonding thing (because “all Indians are my brothers” type slogans in textbooks won’t work anymore if they ever did). That’s why China invests so much in sports I guess… they too have a national unity problem.

        Anyway, I know you’re sick of this… so I shall zip it.

        • 🙂 yes I’m exhausted on this topic. But I’ll answer this anyway – We are a diverse country – very few countries are made up of such diversity. We’ve got to WANT unity. No sportsperson can unite us permanently. So we might all sit and cheer together at a pub but come tomorrow we’re back to Jat reservation and BJP screaming that Poonam Pandey as a Brahmin should not be streaking for the team. Our castes and creeds emerge and nothing binds us once the game is over. So this one, I’m not convinced of.

  62. Hmmmm. I am not a big fan of cricket but did watch the world cup. As for other sports deserving attention and not getting it .. I think this happens everywhere. Some sports are just loved more. Like soccer in Europe and Basketball in US. So, nothing wrong with cricket getting a lot more attention in India.
    But I do agree with you that cricketers should not given so many cash prizes. It can be channeled into making sports ameneties better for other sports. They should at least get a decent, hygenic place to stay when they come for tournaments.

  63. I couldn’t agree with you more. I’m a rabid football fan and I don’t have the patience required for 8 hours of cricket.

    I’ve been supporting Spain in major international football competitions like the Euros and the World Cup for about ten years now and I can safely say I’ve watched pretty much all their games in that period.

    When India won the World Cup, I was glad, yes. But honestly, it wasn’t the same euphoric feeling I had when Spain triumphed in South Africa in 2010. I mentioned that to some people and I instantly got comments about how unIndian I am and how Spain isn’t my country and so on and so forth. And quite frankly, it annoyed the hell outta me. I don’t think supporting my country in a game is a barometer to gauge my love and patriotism for my country and I’m entirely with you on this one. I like cricket, but God, we’ve got to get a grip!

  64. Ok MM…first of all I am all that you accused us the cricket crazy indian of – i was desperate for tickets, went on the road post match winning, celebrated, felt tears prick my eyes when “the boys spoke”. Hell when we won the twenty twenty world cup i was one of the those who went to cheer them on their open bus ride.

    And i can’t help but think of what you say as cynical.But neverthesless i guess we aint going to see eye to eye on this one.

    But what i do agree with it the nastiness which came with our wins – again maybe all sports witness it, but being indian and exposed only to cricket mania – i hated the way australians where called racists and pakis terrorists. mentioned it on my facebook almost got beaten up. the reaction on this post: http://dropzofjupiter.wordpress.com/2011/03/31/509/ was a lot politer.

    But hell we won and like Neha said i loved the 10 mins, we united for. I loved the hooting from the cars and the singing of the national anthem and the whole paraphenalia which came with it. we dont see it very often and it felt wonderful to know that – Oh yeah we indians can unite too.

    • I’m cool with that. I’m cynical. You’re hysterical. Would a middle path work for you? No? Which is why its hard for me to find a middle path too.

      For the rest – what does 10 minutes of unity do? I mean of what use is ten minutes of going – oh you’re my bro. Where’s the unity when the chips are down?

      and dont worry about trolls. if anyone comes, we’ll meet them together. 😉 and that my friend, is what we call unity. I promise to last out longer than ten minutes 🙂

  65. 🙂

    and i thought i was just teasing you! :p which i really was. who takes such stuff so seriously? defi not me. i dont care to judge anyone who likes or dislikes something with all of his/her heart.

    for me it IS a matter of immense pride to win the world cup. period. and i dont see any reason to offer justification for why am i so hysterical or super thrilled.

    unfairness is around everywhere. look at regional cinema v/s bollywood. i mean the sheer talent and awesomeness of some of it has not even touched bollywood, but we cant grudge b’wood for that naah?!

    when i as a maharashtrain do not go watch marathi movies, whose fault is it? Have you seen harishchandrachi factory? it went to oscars last year and i havent seen a worthier movie go from India. but there was no hoopla. no one knew. when i managed to catch it, i spread the word on FB. tell ALL my friends about it in hope that it will get more appreciation than it is getting right now. but that is all i can do.

    such is life. like lot of people said every country has its own fav sport and cricket is ours. and you not liking it does not make you any less Indian than me enjoying it making me a patriot! 🙂

    its like the pointless sahm / wohm debate. and one cant stop celebrating victories because there are other problems to deal with. they are going to be there isnt it?!

    so if rehman wins an oscar, or paes wins tennis we should not celebrate it saying “what have we done for them to win it?”. lets just talk about poor and ignored.

    we do that anyway. we deal with it every single day. at whatever level we can.

    so for something that comes once in 4 years and a win thats once in almost 3o years, i am ready to go on an excess! even if it had Ally bawling her lungs out every time we whooped with joy! by next world cup hopefully she will join us!

    and hey! i have never had so many folks hopping to my blog! so danke! hehe! poor folks must be disappointed to see a pure mushfest out there! 🙂

    and once again MM, i was just pulling your leg. i dont even give such things so much thought! not worth it! 🙂

    hugs!

    • I know you guys were kidding which is why I linked up to you openly. The post would have come anyway. This time the WC really got to me!

      No, you don’t need to offer any justification. Any victory in any sport is a matter of pride, so I am completely with you on that. I just get tired of having to justify WHY I havent watched the match. its well.. after a point, grating on the nerves. and as you know, i’m not the most patient long suffering person :p

      I don’t think you guys got my point. I don’t grudge cricket BECAUSE it overshadows sports. How is that even logical. I simply made many points related to cricket. They do not necessarily follow each other.

      I don’t at any point say that you should ignore Paes.. but did you see Paes and Bhupathi have been given barely any attention over the last few days too. don’t only talk about the poor and ignored, but its really sad to say – we unite over cricket alone and not for more serious matters. people are quick to pass on a crass SMS joke, but will not even be willing to sign a petition or join a campaign.

      and i totally know you were pulling my leg, so chill 🙂

      PS: thanks for taking it in the spirit it was meant – all of you who I linked back to. But then that is the difference between friends who know what you mean and trolls who are hopping around waiting for a chance to be nasty!

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  67. wokay, the engineer in me *has* to do this:

    Summary:

    – Cricket – good/bad – doesn’t matter, just a game.
    – Don’t give govt. funds to cricketeers for winning.
    – Govt – high time you supported other sports as well.
    – Private sponsors – please look into sponsoring other sports as well.
    – Jingosim – bad.
    – Nasty SMSs against anyone – bad.
    – People who don’t care for cricket – no reflection on their patriotism or lack thereof.
    – People who watch cricket with great enthu – fine, but don’t abuse non-watchers.
    – Preferring to watch “Dexter” over anything else (And hating Beatles) – possible sign of insanity, but given the person concerned, maybe default option anyway 🙂

  68. Hmm….. I really liked this post. I am not an avid cricket watcher, but I get the frenzy around it. I was huddled early Sat. mornign with 20 cricket junkies cheering and being misty eyes when the cup was held. I get all that. My friend worded it: “I was a kid when we first got the World Cup” and my kids get to see this today. hopefully they dont have to wait a few decades.

    Sports in general are in a bad shape in India. Even for cricket, minus the main leagues…and the pitiful Ranji’s.. no one gives a shit. I had a cousin who was good at the game and was not encouraged becuase- You are no Tendulkar. Sports are not conisdered important, as important as studies: “Dhoni’s latest ad of Pepsi about not being good a t studies and still getting the World Cup” is in very bad taste.
    In general, a mentality should change. – Force should be on All rounders, sports and studies inclusive from a tender age. If this comes in, may be other sports will get some peice of the pie as well.

    Only thing, countries like Brazil which are football crazy are not developed nations as well> They have similar issues like India does, but the sport does unite them. For that one game, that one minute. The sight is breath taking.

  69. And just when I thought I couldn’t fawn on you any more, you do it again.

    I didn’t watch the cricket match (GASP!) for most of the reasons you have enumerated. Cricket (and it’s fans ) have irritated me for the longest time, for the simple reason that they do not know/care that they can’t bring their obsessions to work. Or put the country on standstill when there’s a major match in progress. Sorry. and I’m not just that into sports. 😦 especially spectator sports–to be fair, I don’t get football(the American one) and it’s fans remind me of India’s crazed masses. It bugs me. I do like soccer tho’–go figure. Anyway, unlike you I married a man who is a die hard cricket fan (and it irritates me that he wants to get up in the middle of the godddamed night to watch it—yes, I know I have issues!) 😀

    But mostly, as the daughter of an army officer and the sister of one too, I cannot even begin to express my gratitude for bringing up our real heros, those who put their lives on stake. I got my first batch of white hair when my brother was in the kargil war–I didn’t know whether I would see him alive then. At the moment, the army is having a tough time trying to equate the pay scale for its men with those of the civil services. In my eyes, there is/should be no comparison, but since the civil servants are the administrators, and control the politicians, these cases have been languishing for years in the courts. Not really a nice way to treat men (and women!) who lay down their lives for their country is it? But we know how this country runs (or doesn’t!).

    My dad and other retirees have a lot to say on the matter, but no one is really listening. I feel bad that in their golden years, when they should finally be getting some respect, they get lame duck letters and red tape.

    Rant over. (not really , but for this comment form, it is).

    So yeah, go India, rah rah and all the rest of it.

  70. I agree – I find the over-the-top ‘celebrations’ annoying too -especially when the crackers keep little ones from getting a good night’s sleep.
    However, having read Naveen’s comment and your response,I did find your comment on the women in Naveen’s life uncalled for.Go ahead and call him whatever you want 🙂 But why drag others into it?
    And Preethi’s boss has a smack coming his way, if he doesnt shut up about the diapers soon!

    • Actually I didn’t ‘drag’ anyone in to it. Merely felt sorry for the women he mixes with if this is how chauvinistic he is/ wondered if he has only met women who understand in terms of children, maids household. I never begin to give offence, but if someone offends me, I’m not one to sit down and take it quietly 🙂

  71. Hey GB, both my parents are from the armed forces as it my grandfather and i totally get your frustration over the lack of support the armed forces got over the kargil war, or the various other wars which are not reported by the media. And i fully agree on the payscale bit.

    Yes, we should have celebrated kargil with as much gungo but that doesn’t mean we cant celebrate the indian cricket team winning a match

    Phew!

    • I don’t think anyone is saying don’t celebrate. I think people object to it after a point getting too much. You know, like pastry is nice. but too much sugar in a cake can ruin it. That is what is happening. The hysteria gets too much for people after a while.

      The only point being made is, that we wish people would give some attention to matters that need attention too, along with this. All work and no play would make us dull people indeed. But its becoming an all play and no work situation now…

      For people who have seen that side up close, it gets a little too much to ignore. thats all.

      • No, there was nothing in Kargil to celebrate. War sucks. Just give them their due for doing their jobs—they’re not asking for baksheesh—why would anyone want to stick on in the army when your average joe at an MNC earns four times the salary for a 10th the risk? If you want to attract the cream to the forces, be prepared to equate their salaries to what others of their caliber are getting in the market. And you do want the cream defending you, don’t you? It makes sense for any country to stand behind their forces….just sayin’.

        Just a reminder: who was brought in to clean up the cwg mess, when the bricks came a’falling? The army is brought in to clean up any and most messes created /mismanaged by the powers that be(insert your fave figure of authority here). Floods? famine? earthquake? call in the OG vardis..

        (Totally not the comment form to start this parallel discussion, sorry MM, apparently I’m not done talking yet. )

        NN, have to agree with you on the cricket thing tho’–I don’t think I said don’t celebrate cricket…go ahead and do that, just don’t call me unindian if I can’t drum up the enthu (which I can’t for most sports!–like I said, it’s a sport thing.).

        • Okay, just saw Neha’s comment, and your’s MM. I think I’ll let you move on to dinosaurs (loved the boy’s creativity btw!) I’m done talking too.

  72. I actually lost interest in cricket a long time ago. But I loved watching the final, the same way excitement about SuperBowl always eventually gets to me. Perhaps because I have a cricket spouse? (and really what’s it with men who don’t play any sport but love to watch it? Is it the same league as women who will never be fashion models but love to read about them? Or is it just a peer group thing – to fit in and discuss at work/breaks the next day?).

    I agree that the hype was massive and probably over-done, but then that is our national passion. However, I do think that it would have been the right time for a good, analytical piece from the Indian media on the state of sports in the country in general, how cricket achieved the stature it did, what this forebodes for other sports and so on. Also perhaps more critical questioning the way you have about other points.

    Right now,I think people are confounding your dislike of the sport with your criticism and questioning of the excess associated with it. I wonder how the reaction would be different if you said, I adore cricket, I love it, I watched it and was eternally happy that India won, BUT I have all these questions (or in a news article, of course, the journalist does not even have to make her personal interest known).

    n!

  73. Er… I meant a cricket loving spouse, before junta here goes nuts trying to figure out if I am Dhoni’s fasting companion or something!!

  74. Don’t remember a furore when this happened: http://www.bharatchronicle.com/cash-awards-for-commonwealth-games-medal-winners-10555

    I urge all of you to do the math and see what the amount comes to, before you go the “but it’s not in crores” way.

    Also, there need not be a protest for a token of appreciation the govt. pays to people who get us honours, irrespective of their sport or value of their endorsements. Yes, it’s taxpayer money but there’s far worse usage of taxpayer money we all can know of and do fuckall about. It is such a measly % of the money the govt. was supposed to have spent on education alone in the last fiscal year (in the excess of INR 0.34 lac cr. per year for implementation of right to education ALONE) it will scramble your brains forever. How many of you take the trouble to look for corrupt uses of taxpayer money other than those that are announced in post-match presentation ceremonies?

    Secondly, with all due respect, soldiers and their families, it’s still not clear to me how people supporting a sport is such an unfair thing to do to you? The references to war? They are in jest and neither the cricketers nor the cricket audiences will ever ever belittle the armed forces for a match. I know you think we are stupid eggheads, but trust me, we are not that far gone. The low payscale? Government pays all its employees+armed forces far lesser in all sectors, why choose cricket to unleash your wrath? Again, my father is a state bank empoyee and trust me, he BADLY wants to know why he should be paid any lesser than the zombies at ICICI (i do too) but this is economics 101. private vs. public sectors and alcohol vs. tea, no.

    also, the phrase “vulgar and OTT” seems to be getting thrown arnd an awful lot. see this from the perspective of a tribal dude in orissa (or odissa now). what is non-vulgar about owning a phone now? he eats bark, you guys!! why don’t you ever feel guilty about that? or about buying books by the dozen? or about investing for tax savings? personal spends are subjective.

    and whoever said that winning a match made it okay for people to get drunk or drive rashly? was it announced? it’s people’s interpretation of celebration.. it could have happened while they were celebrating an abhinav bindra win too. should we start hating shooting too then, as a sport? what about seeing that many people DID NOT get drunk?

    finally, i dont agree with racial comments either. but i cant help see that they are just misfired or exaggerated humour.. doesn’t make me laugh, but it’s rather harmless. there’s plenty inappropriate jokes being made on both sides too, even if it doesn’t make it any better. i just dont think it’s fair to call people racist for a less than stellar sense of humour.

    • Actually I’m okay with those sports people getting cash prizes because they need sports kits and shoes and coaches. Who is paying for all that? IMHO they need and deserve the money because they’ve fared so well against the odds and with no support. Unlike the cricket cash cows who rake it in anyway. Also, here prizes are being given to ALL winners, not just to “people from our state”. About time these guys got some support too. The reason you never heard anything about it – because almost unanimously people feel that they deserve that appreciation. If there’s some debate over cricketers getting overpaid you’ve got to stop and wonder why some people feel that way. You may not agree eventually, but it merits a thought at least.

      Corruption is in the news all the time. So its not like people are turning a blind eye to it. Why on earth would you say nobody talks about it? There are bloggers on politics as well as newspapers forever uncovering scams. What you’re saying is, just because there are scams and money being lost, its okay to waste money on the cricketers? You may not think its a waste, i think its a waste. lets agree to disagree on it. both of us are paying taxes, we both have a right to an opinion on it.

      You’re mixing points here. No one is saying its unfair to support sports because of wars. one is saying that they’d rather have their tax money go to the armed forces or neglected sports than overpaid, indulged sportsmen. again – still paying taxes, still have a right to an opinion that you are free to disagree with. just that we’d be going round in circles. I’ve done 200 plus comments and no one is saying anything new…

      Why choose cricket to unleash your wrath? why do you choose cricket to be the object of your passion? we all have likes and dislikes, why shouldnt we talk about them? thats what blogs are for. And I did explain why I don’t like cricket… as did a dozen others. As games go I find it slow and boring. I prefer a faster game. That apart, all the hoopla grates on my nerves. Surely a simple like or dislike shouldnt be hard to accept. Its a personal choice after all. Just like it is yours.

      the private-public sector argument doesnt work here. not for me. the govt is answerable to me when they spend my money. StanChart is not. (If you hadn’t brought your dad in, I’d have given my opinion on state banks, but as it stands I don’t want it to sound personal so we’ll let this example go) But there is a reason why most of us don’t bank with the public sector banks anymore. A post for another day.

      There will always be someone worse off than you. That doesnt mean you dont have an opinion. You may not agree with it and thats fine. But that doesnt change the fact that many of us DO find it OTT AND vulgar. We have opinions on fashion – on how something looks trashy, or garish, or too loud or too blingy. People don’t need to agree on where they draw that line personally. Its subjective, so naturally on a post I have written on my blog, I will tell you where my line is. You’re free to disagree, but theres no point us going on about it endlessly because you’ve said this before and I’ve given the same reply. If ten people say they’ve found it OTT, well then you’ve got to accept that to them it is!

      The references to war as well as the racial comments. You may not agree that they are tasteless but are you saying by that token we can pass off every racist comment as a joke? Would you agree with that? i’ve never seen you do it in the past, and yet today you’re okay with it in the cricket context? I’m okay with jokes, but jokes are not funny when you’re hurting the person they are made at as you can see from the comments above. When jokes talk of rape, murder, burning down a city… they aren’t funny anymore. Particularly when they refer a country you have a poor history with and are engaged in sport with. To my mind, its a foolish thing to do on the sporting as well as the political side. I refuse to agree to disagree on this particular point you cannot be rude, hurtful, vicious… and say, oh, its a misappropriate joke. if a joke I make misfires and I realise that feelings are hurt, I apologise. I dont try and pass it off as the other person’s fault for not getting the humour. Sorry.. not happening. This is nothing to do with a stellar sense of humour and everything to do with politics colouring the game in which case they should just acknowledge that they are bigoted and stop trying to justify it.

      And NOW we’re done please. I am quite sick to death of cricket as well as this discussion. Lets move on to pleasanter topics like dinosaurs.

      • Well NOW i’m done too. Don’t think we could have gone on for too long with all the rudeness around here anyway. The irony isn’t lost on me that lots of commenters here PLEADING that non cricket watchers be not insulted are freely using unpleasant adjectives for people not like them.

        I’m really sorry you’ve had to go through 200 comments on the topic, but MM, you wrote the post and chose to have an open discussion. I didn’t mean to troll you or anything. However, I cannot be called rabid and go about reading about dinosaurs either in a space of 24 hours. My line is drawn too.

        All the best. thanks for all the fish.

        • I didn’t call YOU rabid. I called the drunks screaming on the road and bursting crackers at unearthly hour rabid. As for rudeness… I’m not the one using the word ‘fuckall’ in response to any of your comments.
          If you choose to take offence where none was given… AND want to turn down a friendly handshake (which is what the reference to dinosaurs was) that is entirely your own choice. Of the people who exited on this post, you surprise me the most. I honestly thought you’d have the maturity to separate a single difference of opinion from years of blogging and a connection. You know, the whole Voltaire, I may not agree with what you say… etc. Clearly you don’t believe in that. If you want to make it personal, go right ahead. farewell.

  75. Hi MM,

    Just had a shouting match with my partner because we debated this very post. I agreed, he didn’t. I won because I was louder.

    Anyway, I also think it’s great how at least ONE thing unifies India like cricket does. That being said, the jingoism and anti-Pakistan refrains annoy me no end. When will we grow up!?

    Just to say I am linking back to this post on my blog, so I hope you don’t mind.

    Thanks!

  76. MM…(Its been a long time & hope u remember)Really well written. Am also thrilled that my son doesn’t think too much about cricket either

  77. Without googling 🙂

    Rani and anisa

    Women shooters got gold and silver ..was it asian games? I think not cwg?

    Anisa iis from pune..self made

    How much did I score?

    My only excuse is that I am equally sketchy abt cricket

  78. Well done, you. You don’t like cricket, cool scene. What the fuck has it got to do with being Indian? Or not Indian enough? This is the kind of crap we are sold constantly – idiots will come and smear holi colours on your face and boobs and expect you to be cool with it. Cos it is holi. Well, shit, let it be holy hell for all I care, how about what I like too?

    We are getting way too rabid about things – be it a Rajni release or a cricket match. And please don’t no one go “with all the other crap that’s going on around us…..” What crap? If we want to talk about crap, let us talk about people who have nothing. We needn’t go as far as Japan or Africa to see people that are suffering – they are all around us. Instead of wasting money on fireworks to celebrate Enthiran’s 100th day, how about using it to feed 2 kids? That pisses me off the most – more than the sports brouhaha, the whole hungama over a movie. What a fucking waste of resources!

    • Wow what anger…measured by the number of profane words…i think you should chill a bit…

      Sorry MM could not contain myself..feel free to delete this..

      Regarding the post…I disagree to a large extent..but as you said everybody is entitled to their opinions…

      Peace..

      -Bhavani

        • Ok I read thru a few comments and arguments…and some personal remarks in floating around and finally settling/leaving etc…so did not want to get into it..to each their own..

          For some reason this was not about the view per say but the language could have been better thats all. Also I live in the US and I just dont like to criticize India from here when a lot of things are from news and hear say and not experiencing the good/bad things.

          Thats all.. not an intention to pick one’s comment or view just the language and they way it came from a person who just moved to India right? ( Yes I went to her Blog too).

          -Bhavani

          • I’m sorry… I lost you here. No, she’s not moved to India yet. But what has that got to do with her tone? I appreciate that you don’t like it, but am I missing some R2I connection here? Or do you feel that Indians don’t use such language? You ought to walk into a media office 🙂

            • I did not like this tone from a NRI. Thats what I meant. It has nothing to with R2I. It has to do with not staying in India but criticizing it freely.

            • Bhavani,
              So let me get this straight – cos I am a NRI, I cannot say how if feel if it is a criticism? Cos I have moved out of India, I can only open my mouth if it is in praise of the old mother country, is it? And I do not recall dissing the country or anything remotely close – just the actions of some people. I didn’t even specify if those actions were those of Indians in India or elsewhere.
              Just because you live in the US and don’t like to to criticise India, do not read into my comments what I haven’t written.

              @MM, sorry for making it a reply to your comment babe but the last comment didn’t have a reply link. Time we changed the theme, methinks!

    • Wow writing a post and asking people to call me the B words and smack me just because I stated my opinion…you can all maybe get together for a profanity competion..hmm my respect for you is high up there Deej….I rest my case…nothing more to argue with people like you and wasting my precious time….

      Sorry MM to hog your comments on this..

      Bhavani

      • And also MM the reason I wrote the above comment here is I dont want to leave myfootprint in a person’s space who does not respect fellow human being forget her country whatever it is.

        Thank You for atleast addressing my opinion.

        Bhavani

        • Hey Bhavani,
          I appreciate that profanity is upsetting for some people, but the language we use in conversation with each other is a personal matter. I don’t think it is right for anyone to object to the language one adult (Deej) is using in conversation with another (me). Particularly if I am fine with it – we have a long and close relationship. If it was a troll, I’d appreciate all help coming in 😉 But this is just a friend who doesn’t stand on ceremony with me. Many of you will be aware that she pretty much runs this blog for me. So naturally she feels free to speak her mind when giving an opinion either way. The objection should only arise if she is referring to you. Yes, this is a public space, so others can view the comments made by people, but objecting to her language has nothing to do with the matter under discussion, which is the World Cup.

          I’d be totally in agreement with you if she had been abusive to you, but in this case it was a comment addressed to me. By commenting on her language instead of addressing the point she made in her comment, you made it personal. Perhaps that was not your intention, but unfortunately that is what you ended up doing. You then further went and checked out her blog and further commented on her personal life such as her residential status and her right to comment on matters in India etc when it had nothing to do with the matter at hand – that is, my post on watching the cricket match.

          I am sorry things got unpleasant with her, but that is what is bound to happen if you comment on someone who has not addressed you in any manner. It ends up being rather provocative. She has not used any bad language against you in the comment section even though you commented on her. And neither has she used it in her own post. If anything, another commenter has. I don’t appreciate that commenter using bad language against you, but that is not my blog and not my place to tell her. By commenting on her and her life, you left yourself equally open to being discussed by her.

          Lets end the unpleasantness and in future stick with the matter at hand. And if you must comment on someone on my blog, let it be me. You’ve been a long time reader and I really don’t want this to turn into a bigger mess – it is a lesson learnt for everyone.

          Peace
          MM

  79. I actually have been waiting for some post of yours like this. Especially a post explaining how the other sports are not given the same hype as cricket is. But on the other side I feel that at least in some of the places other sports like Soccer and Badminton are indeed given attention to an extent if not like cricket. Also you have a formula one race happening in Noida this october. So things are changing. For a generation which has been brought up on all the tendulkars, and dravid’s I to an extent understand the mania. For someone who has been watching cricket (passionately) now for 20 years, this as a great day and the feeling was indescribable. But this is exactly how some of us felt when Spain won world cup last year or few years before that when gopichand won the all england championships. Also one more thing, three decades back, we did not have this hype and hoopla with cricket. In fact during those days Hockey I think had the greater number of fans, with Indians winning in the Asian Games yada yada. It was the win in 83 did it. Some where down the line I think one or two such wins in other sports, like a hockey, a swimming might do a world of good. The starting point has to be on its own, and after that everyone is going to follow. As far as hockey is also concerned, I do think we even had a EPL styled league started at the middle of the last decade.

  80. I live in Singapore. There was no media frenzy here. No one spoke about the WC. A random talk in the mainline daily. Thats about it.
    But that didnt make me any less excited. So sans the media thrusting the cricket down our throats, me and a group of other fellow Indians had as much fun watching the game. We rejoiced as much. So really, our love for the game wasnt orchestrated.

    • No, I’m sure it wasn’t. I can only speak for India where the insanity reached levels where women were molested in the whole “lets take to the streets” movement.

      • when have perverts in India needed a reason to molest women? They do so at the drop of a hat. Cricket or no cricket, they will find a reason to lay their dirty hands on some or the other body.

  81. aaah the party is over by the time I came… and I see that the trolls did come and u being u couldnt really delete 😛

    u know I agree with some points but disagree on most when it comes to cricket… so will just say lets disagree and live together… we are friend after all and dont have to agree on everything right?

    and I am tempting to use the F word just for the heck of it… 😛 😉

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