Most Indian men are self-styled cricket experts. Usually massive ignorance accompanied by massive arrogance. And so to the IPL -- the Indian male’s cup runneth over, as well as his beer mug.
He loves watching the matches with his fellow men, ample opportunity to air his views, spout theories, and display machismo.
Take the typical club/bar/restopub scenario in Bombay’s nightlife during this cricket jamboree -- giant-size plasma TV, the place becomes a mini stadium -- Indian men of all shapes/sizes show up to cheer their respective teams, for example, the Chennai Super Kings vs the local favourites, Mumbai Indians. Russian cheerleaders finding the heat more torturous than a Siberian hard labour camp, as MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma step out to toss. Dhoni wins and elects to bat.
Drunken Debashish, propping up the bar, exclaims passionately, “Ehhh Ssstupid sshhkipper...he sshould have sshhosen to bowl on thisssh pishhhh, any fool could have told him that…Hello waiter, ek Sssmirnoff sssshmallll....GO SSHHENNAI SHHOOPER KINGSHH…!!!!”
Sarcastic Swamy, religious teetotaler, judgmental of all drinkers, says condescendingly, “What a pity, Debu, that you aren’t captain of the Indian cricket team.”
Debu stands up unsteadily to agree, and falls over a bar stool.
Enter nostalgic Nariman, wearing an XXL blue Mumbai Indians jersey, with a dhansak enriched stomach, that enters the room half an hour before he does -- he yells at a Mumbai Indians player on the screen -- “Arre dikra, idiot, dive, dive…what are these appalling fielding standards…in my day the lads, particularly Farokh Engineer, were so athletic, flinging themselves around the CCI grounds...as I have always said, fitness is the key.”
Crafty Chunilal dipping into his Pan Parag, hawk eyes peering at the screen like he’s on Dalal Street, boasts to the room in general, patting his cream safari suit.
“Boss, I knew Chris Gayle would score that 175. See this guy Hussey, nakki he will score a century, otherwise, ma kasam, I will change my name.”
Nariman looks at him, as if he were espying a lizard, on his palatial home wall.
“You should be arrested for engaging in all these underhand dealings. Fixing matches, you corrupt Bania.”
“Hey hey Bawa, first of all I am a Maadu, not Bania, samjhe? Secondly, Hussey will score 103, I will give it to you in writing.”
Grumpy Girish across the room, shouts, “The last time you gave me something in writing, it bounced, Chunilal, you cheat.”
And so to the match, Hussey gets out for zero. All eyes turn to Chunilal, who, for once, is at a loss for words.
He scrambles for his Blackberry, and calls his bookie -- “Hey Bhupesh, wrong information diya humko...izzat ka sawaal hai, …arre yaar…tu ne bola Hussey century marega…”
Yup, all Indian men have a view on cricket as they do with that other IPL -- that other colourful, costly, comedic, characterful circus -- the Indian Political League.
Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
The views expressed in this column are the individual’s and don’t represent those of the paper.