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Home > Cricket > Column > Harsha Jhaveri


O, what a waste of time and money!

September 26, 2007

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Coverage: Twenty20 World Cup

I am a member of a microscopic minority of India. I have no fascination for cricket. I am thanking my God again and again for giving me a sense of proportion and balance.

I would be ashamed to spend so much valuable time on cricket round the year while living in country where 23 million people are almost beggars and where half of the population is earning little more than Rs 20 a day and this is a country which can't even boast of 100 km of road without potholes.

Thank you, God, for not engraving love for cricket in my heart.

It's not that I haven't experienced the romance of cricket. My father was a member of the Bombay Cricket Club. I have seen many test matches when Kapil Dev [Images] was a hero and Gavaskar was already a living legend.

I had a rare privilege to have one-on-one breakfast with Allan Border, Australian captain.

I have seen cricket at Lords, too. But, I cautiously didn't allow exaggerated emotions for cricketers and cricket to creep into my DNA. It was tough, very tough to not be a member of that maddening mass who mindlessly embraces cricket as a religion.

Like all Indians I too enjoyed cricket matches as an unavoidable part of the growing up process in India.

But, yaar, you do grow up, na?

Indian cricket lovers just don't want to.

Their life begins and ends with cricket. No amount of misery or issues moves them as much as winning or losing matches, and I dislike that.

How lucky I am that I am not one of those Indians who start believing in the magic of the game just because we are Indians.

To me the attraction of cricket was just "a conditioning of mind" and I avoided it.

I am so relieved that I don't have "conditioned mind" like my fellow Indians where the love for cricket is inbuilt into the national character.

I am happy being an abnormal Indian who thinks cricket is one of the great games but to me cricket is not at all magical.

Rather, what I saw on roads of Mumbai today, I am forced to say with irritation, that it must be black magic which is taxing Indians day in and day out since decades.

Today, on the roads of Mumbai so much energy, money and time have been wasted for a reception which was simply avoidable. It's not that I do not understand the mass psychology of enjoying small happiness of life with innocence .

But, isn't it escapist explanation?

People argue -- to kya hua zara hans liya? No bhai, no, this is not a "little" festivity, this is all about money and money. Yuvraj hit six sixes.

Great!

Exciting!

Say six cheers to Yuvi!

But, stop there itself.

Have mercy!

How can it be worth Rs 1 crore in country where 80 per cent of the people are going to die without earning or saving a crore?

Where is the sense of proportion?

My cricket loving friends argue that we, the cricket lovers and these Mumbaikars are "innocent and absorbed" in the game of cricket and it's nice to have such exhibition of love for the game. It unites India.

My friend said the crowd who is worshipping Dhoni [Images] is not communal and casteist. It's so wonderful that it's the great non-violent game.

Cool!

But, don't forget that same crowd demolished Dhoni's under-construction home in Ranchi sometime back. Yeh char din ki chandni hai. Cricket fans, PLEASE UNDERLINE THIS FACT.

You can't admire something sooooo mmmmuuchhhhhh....which is so frail, inconsistent and phony.

Because, remember Shreeshanth could have made a human error. A catch could have been dropped.

Can you celebrate such a fluke or absence of fluke in life?

I agree Indians do have the ability to celebrate in a non-violent way their pure joy.

Okay. Fine. But tell me not-so-innocently -- who is behind these manipulation of mass psychology on the roads of Mumbai? Who arranged it? Why? How? At what cost?

I bet if anyone can dispute that cricket is time-consuming, intoxicating and it is less about sports and more about material success. Even very likable commentator Harsha Bhogle will admit that cricket is not the same in the last 20 years. I do not want to be a spoilsport and I am writing only after 20 lakh plus people wasted working hours doing nothing but cheering the cricketers. Dhoni and his boys got success and they got name in the history of cricket but, they got money, too. So, what's the big deal?

Rather, a country which is not having enough finds for education and health is showering money on these cricketers as if they have improved the GDP of India.

An impressive, colourful function would have sufficed to welcome them, thank them and admire their success. What is noteworthy is that all those members of the crowd who thought it fit to be on the roads of Mumbai certainly had no other important work to do.

If they had important work to do in life they would not have come on the roads and would have been happier doing their work.

Today, PTI has reported that hockey players and the coach and even the manager of the team are going on strike against step-motherly treatment to hockey by the governments. Becharas, they are born in India. They have no option but fast for attention.

My blood is boiling to see that politicians and states are showering money on these 15 smart and successful people. As we say in Mumbaiya -- kiske baap ki Diwali? Why so much waste of time and money of a poor country as India?

Whose money is it? Why this exaggeration in expressing gratitude for their win? One defeat at the hands of Australia in ODIs will pale the impact of this win, writes a daily in Mumbai.

Yeh natak bandh karo, bhai!

We are already having fatigue of celebration.

Give us a break.


Editor's note: Rediff believes that like its own editorial staffers, readers too have points of view on the many issues relating to cricket as it is played.

Therefore, Rediff provides in its editorial section space for readers to write in, with their views. The views expressed by the readers are carried as written, in order to preserve the original voice.

However, it needs mentioning that guest columns are opinion pieces, and reflect only the feelings of the individual concerned -- the fact that they are published on Rediff's cricket site does not amount to an endorsement by the editorial staff of the opinions expressed in these columns.


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