Comfortably Numb...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

My 'Sporty' life - part I

My Life has always revolved around sports. Cricket, (like any true Indian worth his salt!), was my first love. Football (Soccer) a close second. My alma mater, the great DAV-BHEL school in Ranipet embraced and proliferated my 'sporting genius' for the lack of better talent/enthusiasm/physical attributes amongst my peers! My proficiency in cricket, soccer, basketball, athletics, shuttle, tennis, volleyball, TT, snooker, gilli, goli etc. etc. was nurtured to varying levels of excellence (or ineptitude depending on your viewpoint of being an optimist or a pessimist). Life in a BHEL township comes with its own perks...acres n acres of playgrounds and parks, a veritable cornucopia of facilities and a desperate lack of other entertainment choices!

All those factors chose to conspire rather fortuitously in dictating a childhood fraught with sports and games (of all kinds, rules and affiliations). It was an addiction I unconsciously chose to inculcate most gleefully. After all, what kind of insane kid would grow up to hate chocolate if your favorite aunt owned a chocolaterie, huh? So, thus began my 'sporty life'...an integral facet of my ethos which to this date has remained as unwavering as my mother's love and dad’s support!

My passion for sports gets exhibited in two distinct forms:
- Following sports (the more benign and favorable form of my addiction)
- Playing sports (the malevolent and sometimes unpopular cousin)

My compassionate instincts prevent me from tormenting you with the gory/graphic/banal details of the second form of my passion for now. I shall devote the rest of this blog describing how the first form of passion has shaped my life in such spectacular fashion.

As any true son of the Indian soil would attest, most of our 'sporting childhood' is intertwined inseparably with Cricket and the Indian cricket team. Kapil Dev's dazzling outswingers and Sunil Gavaskar's stoic defense formed the central theme of any bedtime tale that my parents chose to narrate in my early childhood. Then came our beloved Krishnamachari with his swashbuckling, Gayatri mantra-laden assaults on brutal fast bowlers twice his size! As my conscience/appreciation for the sport started to grow, I got hooked onto watching cricket like a single working female would to 'Sex n the City'. Shastris and Kumbles followed and I was stuck with cricket for the lack of a better choice. Then came a diminutive little teenager, a chubby and affable kid who went by the name Sachin Tendulkar! My universe was now whirring at gazillion miles an hour, I had found a new god! His batting exploits I would re-enact in rather spectacular fashion in my bedroom and bathroom. Damn you Sachin, you were singularly responsible for substantial damage to my walls, switchboards, tables and showerheads man!!

Dravids and Gangulys followed and I danced along like a man on trance. After all, Cricket was our national religion right? (Whoever said India is a secular country huh?) It is well beyond my literary ability to capture the complete impact of cricket on my life or for that matter a billion other lives in India. So, let me adopt the classical British style of understatement and just summarize it this way: Cricket made my world tick, without cricket I would have been a depressed lunatic waiting for mother earth to swallow me! Well, that is 'understatement' enough to express my passion for everything cricket. It was almost natural progression for every kid raised in India to develop this affliction, just like learning the Alphabet when you stepped into kindergarten. This is a cultural phenomenon that has always fascinated me, this undying passion and zest for the most British of all sports that thrives in India. In fact, I can boldly claim that if not for some "minor" historical details, Cricket is probably the most Indian of all the sports still played/followed all aorund the world!

While many other sports like Hockey and Tennis vied for my attention, they would always remain minor distractions...Cricket was the emperor of my universe! Until Formula1 motored along into my teenage life! Star Sports was still an alien channel trying to fill up it's non-cricket slots with sports which were as alien and inexplicable as tensor calculus to me. But wait, what was this funny sport where they race ugly looking buggies that were rather misleadingly referred to as cars? Hmmm...interesting! This Michael Shoemaker eh..Schumacher seemed a pesky and yet tenacious kid. While everyone else bent over backwards and let this Aryton eh...Ayrton Senna guy drive right over their prostrate selves, Schumacher seemed to have other ideas! Well cricket world cup was another 3 years off and we were only playing Zimbabwe this next few months. Thus began an affliction that would soon begin to supplant cricket for the throne.

[To be continued in future episodes...]

7 Comments:

  • I am interested.. write more.. I think one of your second best blog after the first introductory one.. not to say i dint enjoy reading the rest of them... Ofcourse i did...

    Srilekha

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:06 AM, September 20, 2006  

  • Interesting stuff.. but what about the revolution of mass media.. which shaped our love for sports. I still can smell those winter mornings with a radio and a few oranges and cricket commentories. However, I feel that football is the original game in India.. which people played and loved... but '83 was a pivotal year... football was on rise in terms of popularity in India till 83.. if u remember that the first FIFA world cup that was shown in those years... and in 84 India won the prudential cup .. all our money and energy since then is into cricket... football lost its glory and pride.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:42 PM, September 20, 2006  

  • @ Srilekha: Thanks! I am glad that you liked it. Hope you find the sequels just as interesting as well.

    @ Anonymous: Well, I agree that Soccer had it's charm, but so did Hockey which actually is our national sport right? But, we havent managed to excel in the same magnitude in the world stage as we did with Cricket. Besides, as I will address in my next few sequels real Soccer is played in Europe and South America. If I can venture a guess, you hail from either Kolkotta or Kerala and hence your affection for soccer growing up, right?
    Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to comment in detail! I feel real happy to be having readers like you drop by! Do keep tuning in for the future episodes...

    By Blogger Sandeep M, at 10:33 PM, September 20, 2006  

  • a p.g.wodehouse in making...
    great language and great style..
    kudos dude!!
    I truly admire the vivacity in your blog..
    continue your noble deed and i expect more..

    Vigneswaralu Pandurangan

    By Anonymous Vigneswaralu Pandurangan, at 6:09 AM, September 22, 2006  

  • You have set Standard in ur 1st part,Hope ur 2nd part rises da standard, all da best.Am Intrested how u gonna end ur part-II, my wild guess is that ur part-II vl b covered wid arytonsenna schumi hakkinen n da rest.Loads of expectations.

    Arun D. Jain

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:34 AM, September 22, 2006  

  • @ Vigneswaralu: Thanks a ton! I am humbled by your high praise and hope to live up to your expectations in all my future blogs too.
    @ Arun D: Thanx for ur feedback mate! I really appreciate it and hope you like my future episodes of this blog and other ones too. You hit the bullseye abt the content of my next blog and it is up for ur kind perusal. Hope you like it too.

    I appreciate all your feedback on my blog and hope to hear your views/opinions that I elicit through my writing. Do keep dropping by and feel free to disperse your opinions; I promise to give them thought and feel encouraged with your response. Cheers!

    By Blogger Sandeep M, at 1:23 AM, September 24, 2006  

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