The year 1983 saw two things.. One, in a village in the southern district of Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu (India), the boy; vipin; was born; Two, Kapil’s Devils conquered the Cricketing World. The first may not have had an influence on the second; but the latter proved to be a life changing influence, not just to the boy, but to an entire generation of Indians..
28 years later; on the 30th of March 2011, to be exact; I went to Tadge’s office, and told him.. hey, am coming to your place tonight, need to watch the India-Pakistan Semifinals; he asked, what semifinals, what game is this, what is cricket.. people with a crazy bat hitting a ball.. and the game going on for days! The question was repeated many times in the lab too.. no person here is from the cricketing world; and am feeling, what Harry Potter would have felt, being stuck with the muggles.
It took hours of talking, pictures, illustrations and of course video clips, before I could shed a glimmer of light on cricket in these peoples’ minds. Then it was a talk of merits, Baseball Vs Cricket, Cricket being the crazy one, the mad man’s game, the game that never ends…. It all ended up, with me exploding out, and telling something that roughly translates like this: For us, who grew up with cricket, who played cricket not just on the ground but in class rooms, on roof tops, on the streets, on the fields, inside the house, even with books; for us, who waited for the latest updates on matches putting the radios close to the ears, to get it first; for us who learned Hindi, to understand the Cricket Commentary; for us; who got their satellite TV connections, with the sole aim of seeing the matches ‘live’; for us; who, prayed for an Indian Victory,with more zeal than for an exam pass grade, for us, who have talked of cricket more than anything else in our lives; for us; Cricket is The Religion; Cricket is The Catalyst that brings India Together, and Cricket is The way of Life….
Now, waiting for the last few hours before the battle for the throne begins, I sit prepared, with a list of sites streaming the game live, and a bag full of chips, chocolates and lots of drinks, praying that MS will do a Kapil tonight!
Blood.. Sweat.. Blue!!