Mar 15, 2012

Requiem For a Dream

So, a lot has happened since the time I last posted here. Indian cricket has hit its nadir, Vidya Balan has created Bollywood history of sorts (go girl, go!), UP has just passed from one set of thugs into the hands of another, and Rahul Dravid did the only thing any dignified individual should do.

I didn’t watch the test series against either England or Australia, though I did hear abt them and later, read their coverage. I don’t know if you’ll call me a pessimist, but to me these twin series marked the end of an era, a golden age in Indian cricketing history that for me began not with our Wold Cup victory in 1983, but with that memorable test victory against Australia in 2001. Harbhajan Singh created history during that series and nobody could quite comprehend then captain Sourav Ganguly’s strange fixation on this spinner. For me, that test series has always been abt one thing alone - possessing ‘balls of steel’ - something which I consider as Ganguly’s legacy to Indian cricket. Does that mean I am belittling the efforts and achievements of the other players like Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman and Kumble ? No way.

All these players epitomise the joy of watching cricket for people of my generation; of uplifting a beleaguered team to its moment of glory. To claim, as some do, that its only moment of glory was lifting the World Cup last year, is foolish. Excellence takes years to come by; it is a by-product of a manic desire to hold the bull by its horns; and of an unquenchable thirst. Once you have sat at the bar drinking the finest liquor, no matter how badly you crave a drink, thirst is only an idea, a vague concept. So, no, I am not going to write off our current players, nor am I saying that they are at fault for playing too many matches or being involved in too many endorsements. They are just not thirsty anymore. Enough said.

The newspapers are full of columnists playing tribute to one of India’s finest batsmen. As I read them, I am filled with a deep sadness: maybe Dravid is a greater player than Ganguly after all. Look at the outpouring of genuine admiration! I am simply blown away by Rahul Bose's tweet, "Rahul Dravid reflects an india that is honourable, ethical, hardworking, and thoughtful."

Please note that I use the word greater and not better. Greatness is not a mere matter of statistics; it is a holistic concept of hundreds of minute qualities and habits and choices and achievements and decisions that define a person and his legacy. It is the goodwill that a person leaves behind when he’s no longer around.

In an odd way, it seems befitting that I write about my favourite sport in such elegiac terms today. The past few weeks signified the passing of an era in a personal sense too. But let's not talk abt it today.

Perhaps my next post will be abt a good book or film; perhaps it will be a long rant about uncouth Indians who rush into the elevator as if there’s a fire raging behind them; or maybe I will end up telling you why I think Barack Obama should kick Biden's ass and nominate Hillary as second-in-command; or maybe I will just tell you abt the time the world fell apart and the plate slipped from his hands as he looked on with helpless anguish.