Feb 21, 2011

World Cup 2011: Hope

Watched the first match of the World Cup and realized I’m still as thrilled as I used to be when I was 14-15 years old and first started watching ODIs with dad.  I’d cheer for India, for Kapil, but passion wasn’t in my blood during those early years. Boris Becker and his powerful backhand strokes and habit of eating bananas on court, held my attention. Then came a dull-looking guy with a not-so-fit-body and a not-at-all-happening persona from Calcutta who embarrassed the Brits by peeling off his T-shirt and waving it in unabashed glee at the hallowed ground of Lords, and life changed – for me and millions like me – of course, mostly in Calcutta.  I knew his name wouldn’t be in the team players list this World Cup yet hope is a stupid thing. As my eye raked the list, there was a childish hope that he’d feature somewhere, somehow. Sounds mad, I know, but stranger things have happened.

Anyway, as expected his name wasn’t there. As the game progressed and Sehwag unleashed his power, the commercials came on. After the commercials, it was the turn of a whole host of lists – batsmen with maximum no. of centuries in the World Cup, batsmen with the best batting averages, win-loss ratios, etc. I was glancing over these lists and suddenly his name caught my eye. At 183 runs versus SL in 1999, he trails second behind Gary Kirsten in scoring the highest runs in a World Cup innings. I must’ve been around 23-24 in 1999; not so young, but fairly kiddish considering the trajectory of my mental growth. Those were the best years of his career and the saddest thing is that another great guy was playing his best game too. More often than not the limelight was transitory and shifted from one to the other too soon. I don’t want to go into comparisons because greatness cannot be measured. But watching the first match on Saturday, I did feel that a great part of the joy I experienced in the game was gone forever.

A lot of people I’ve spoken to this year have evinced sheer boredom at the World Cup. Some of these are folks who have even played the game at the state level but now feel unexcited about it. I listen quietly to them and nod. Yeah, makes sense – too many games, IPL is a tamasha, the BCCI is a thug organisation, our players are greedy. Then I say inwardly – so what? Aren’t we all?

Not too many things thrill me these days, but the World Cup does and I’ll tell you why. It signifies ‘hope’ for a billion plus people who don’t have much else to hope for. Mind you, this unifying symbol of hope is available to us only once in 4 years. While we go about our busy lives bemoaning the metro rail work that takes forever to finish, the corrupt politicians and the bungling CBI, the World Cup is a happy occasion, for we never know how things will turn out. Our boys may just get their act right and the big guy sitting above us may just pull a few strings and I may just happen to write an award-winning script that’d star Johnny Depp. Who knows? Hope is a beautiful thing.

p.s. The problem with the smarties is that they believe the rest of us are fools. When you view the world in such myopic dualities, you run the risk of over-simplification. As does CPS here. Yeah, this post got me hopping mad. 

I’ve been seeing this ad in the theatres for a while now. I didn’t like it the first time around but I look forward to it every time I go to the movies now. It’s grown on me. Strangely, they don’t show it on TV. I remember a heated discussion with Ks when Airtel changed their logo. Big blunder. This ad has redeemed them in my eyes. A bit, at least. The two things which stand out – the girl and the background piano score. Check it out, am sure you’ll like it.

No comments: