It's a shame I could't watch the mathch played in New Bombay last sunday. I could see the bright lights from my house, and the teams were living in The Park which is a short walk away. Still, somehow, I couldn't bring myself to be part of the sham, because, I think it is a shame that cricket is deified so much when our hockey, football, badminton, table tennis, et al, players are living in poverty and ignominy.
On second thought, I couldn't afford it. I couldn't afford the money (Rs 500), nor the time (10 hours, including queueing for tickets), both big investments for me. After all, what is a sham worth, especially for a cynic like me?
The money? Many thousand crores will go into the pockets of players such as Shaun Pollock, and Sanath Jayasurya (I've nothing against you, Shaun, Sanath, I am just quoting an example) while farmers are bearing the brunt of a hard summer in Vidharba and elsewhere. Pawarji, have you ever thought of organising water wagons for these parts, I am asking since you are the agriculture minister, in addition to the BCCI chairman. And one more thing: you were also publicly humiliated by Ricky Pointing, if my hazy memory serves me right. If you wanted you could have stopped this 'tamasha' in your own backyard, which is turning cricket in to something like, like, World Wrestling Federation (WWF).
Sporting glory? Is the Shreesanth episode any glorious? National good, NYAAH! Shaun and the like will make the most money. Then what? The flannelled fools have become logo-touting, obscenity shouting gladiators whose only aim is to show their prowess on the field and scoot back home with the money. I can also see that some players are taking it easy. What loyalty would Jayausrya have for Bombay, a city he doesn't even know? How come Ajit Agarkar is playing for Calcutta against Bombay? Where are his loyalties?
We have a way of dismisssing such tamashas as 'encouraging sports'. But as a country where some areas are facing twelve hours of electricity cuts, can we afford it? Can we afford the tamasha of imported cheergirls and fools attired as harlequin? Can we?