Out of the box

Published: Jul 07, 2019, 05:46 IST | Rahul da Cunha

So, why are they trolling me? I'm a patriot, too," said Mr Manjrekar, already using 45 words, for what he could have said in five. "How dare Sir Jadeja say that I have verbal diarrhoea? I am a man of few words.

Out of the box
Illustration/Uday Mohite

Rahul da CunhaAnd so, Sanjay Manjrekar came to me post the India-Bangladesh match, dressed like Professor Higgins in My Fair Lady, sans top hat. "Master daCunha, I demand to know why in heaven's name, the Twitter world, actually the whole world, is against me? Tell me, they are even starting an online petition to ban me. I'm just doing my job, while everyone is eulogising 87-year-old Charulata Patel for her love and patriotism. So, why are they trolling me? I'm a patriot, too," said Mr Manjrekar, already using 45 words, for what he could have said in five. "How dare Sir Jadeja say that I have verbal diarrhoea? I am a man of few words."

"Don't be so 'senti', Sanju-Manju. Clearly you need to shift your rebellious stance to one of serious reflection. You have work to do. Want me to be honest?" I enquired.
"Yes," he said. "Please be honest."

"Okay here goes. Your incessant chatter gives the feeling that no one at home talks to you."
"Oh."
"You do know that commentators don't get paid per word, like
journalists?"
"Oh."
"You do know that the TRPs on Star Sports Telugu and Tamil have spiked because everyone switches channels when you come on?"
"Oh."
"You do know that TV is an audiovisual medium, this isn't radio commentary, where we need to be told every little detail?"
"Oh."
"You do know that everyone reaches for the mute button when you start commentary?"
"Oh."
"You do know that everyone is relieved when matches end early because, um..."
"Oh."
"You know that you give the impression that you are highly biased towards certain players, especially our favourite MS Dhoni."
"Oh"

"Unfortunately, you were a strictly okay ODI player in your time. So when you say, 'In my time we never did this' type condescending stuff, people get pi**ed off. Sadly TV commentators need to have the personal statistics to back their chat."
"Oh."
"You know there's a viral joke, 'Let Dhoni coach India and bring back Ravi Shastri in the box?'"
"Oh, okay. So, what do you think I should do to prepare myself before the semis and finals?" Manjrekar enquired.
I wanted to tell him, "Maybe you could take a break from cricket commentary. Instead, explain to us in your cricket language, Nirmala Sitharaman's first budget. Maybe you could lecture ministers who throw buckets of mud at engineers, and hit officials with cricket bats. Maybe you could give us a low down on the trade tariff issues between the US and Iran."

But I didn't. Instead I said, "Why not just watch the games, be aware of others in the box. Comment bro, don't command, control, chide, chaff, it's irritating."
"Oh."
"Frankly, if players can go back to the nets, if Rohit Sharma can figure how to bat faster, surely you can figure how to talk less."
"Oh. But you know I care for Indian cricket, right?"
Yeah man, I thought, sadly maybe a bit too much.

Rahul daCunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at rahuldacunha62@gmail.com

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