Enjoy it back to front!

What a wonderful effort that was by Gautam Gambhir! And Dhoni? Well he was Captain Courageous with those lofty sixes and presented a picture of concentration. But what I loved most was the way the team mates carried their idol Sachin on their shoulders on the victory lap. And the man himself looked the happiest and the youngest of the lot with his exuberance. And did you see the tension on the faces of the spectators? It could have been a scene outside an operation theatre when one awaits the doctor’s verdict about the condition of a patient and not the final of the ICC World Cup.

I enjoyed every bit of the action and drama. But all without turning a hair or biting my nails off. So how did I do it, you ask?

Let me enlighten you.

I take the easy way out. I DON’T watch the games live. And then I am only interested in the games India plays. So if India loses, I haven’t missed anything. And if India wins, I know there will be repeat telecasts ad nauseam and I can watch it without any pressure, and therefore enjoy it all the better.

Like everyone else, I want India to win too but I can’t sit through a match, going through the roller-coaster of emotions with the rise and fall of the tide of the game. At least I have not been able to sit through for some years now. For one, I don’t like to see India lose. Ok, ok, all those who are advising me to ‘enjoy the game and not worry about winning and losing’, chill! I don’t buy that any more. And as for you brats, I know I had told you to take the game for what it is and give your best shot. But that was to prepare you for the worst while giving off your best. I don’t preach that to you any more do I?  So lay off!

My older one never tires of pointing out that I am becoming more and more like his three-year-old, happily regressing in age and temperament and I don’t want to dispute that. I stopped reading thrillers and watching suspense dramas long back. I like my stories told straight, without having to tax my brains to guess who the culprit is or to have my heart plunge to my feet while negotiating dangerous terrains with the protagonists.

And that reminds me of my father because some gene of his must have influenced this habit of mine. And were he alive today, he would have approved of my method!

He loved reading. And once he retired, it became one of his chief occupations. With no good public library nearby, he would look for anything at all to read and if he couldn’t find anything new, he would re-read the ones he had read. And when that got boring, he would pick up my college texts and read them! In moments of desperation he would even smooth out the newspaper — that came as wrapping for groceries in those days –and read them! Needless to say, he would pick up any of the bestsellers that I might be reading – Maclean, Chase or Christie. This is where he intrigued me.

He would read a couple of chapters and then turn to the last chapter.

It made me mad to see him cheat like that. When I confronted him, he calmly told me the reason.

‘I read the beginning to know the plot and then go on to find out what happened at the end. Once I know the gist of the story, I read the whole story without any tension and at my own pace.’

I found it inexplicable then

That anyone could enjoy a book once the suspense was taken away was beyond my comprehension at that age. But it began making sense as I grew older and I found that I enjoyed things at my pace and not the one set by the author of a book or the director of a movie. I couldn’t enjoy thrillers by following his method, so I shifted to reading children’s books – not the mysteries and adventures, but stories for smaller children, where there is no suspense, no tension about what would happen next. That meant I got to watching ‘feel-good-movies’ too or even inane comedies.

When India won the 1983 ICC World Cup telecasting was still in its nascent stages and yet we got to see all the matches over and over. And this is 2011. Need one say more? So all those who want to sit through the match with their hearts in their mouths and sweating in tension, are most welcome to do so. I would rather use that time to do something better and then watch the repeat telecast later – if I want to. Who wants to see a one-sided match? And if the minnows beat the champs, there is always the repeat telecast, isn’t there? Thank you Appa, for your wisdom!

PS: Coming to all the hype and hoopla over the World Cup, I feel it is a tad overdone, don’t you? The banner headline in TOI on Monday read, ‘Team India Partied All Night Long,’ and the entire page, even large parts of the other pages had nothing but World Cup news and trivia. Granted that this is a great victory and a shot of adrenalin to the scam-infected country, but the hype is still not warranted.

32 comments

  1. Even I read exactly the same way as your father used to do:)

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    1. Appa is a great inventor, for sure! He will be smiling down at all his followers from up there 🙂

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  2. Pratibha · · Reply

    I was over excited with the win. Wanted to jump out of the house and scream with others on the road. But just didnt as I was sure my hubby would have been shocked. Next day I want to Kolkata, and was caught in the traffic jam. Imagine, a traffic jam on Sunday evening! It was not a regular traffic jam. One side of the road was cordoned off for CWC celebrations. Kolkata continued celebrating for four more days. Some wanted one day national holiday.
    Now, I do enjoy sports and do not want to undermine India’s victory, I am also not one of those who would advocate such a huge amount of man-hours wasted.

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    1. Spoken like a true school teacher, Pratibha. It is not only the tax-payers’ money but also man hours lost, as you have so rightly pointed out. I could just imagine you jumping up for joy! 🙂

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  3. Its not Cricket against tennis or badminton or Hockey.
    Plain fact is that everyone in India from the slum kids ,to slick city dwellers,my six year old son and eight ,going on eighteen daughter UNDERSTAND,PLAY AND RELATE to Cricket.
    It is a Junoon -for better or worse.
    I think Hockey and Football can compete but in World Rankings our teams are way behind.In Cricket we get to be Big Fish in a small pond.

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    1. Sadly that’s a fact — cricket is the game of the masses. And as you say, we can be the Big Fish in a small pond. Mass adulation is fine and healthy for a sport, but government patronage and that too to such an extent is a bit galling especially since it is out hard-earned money. Tell me, even when we were at the top in hockey, did it get so much patronage? How many of us even remember hockey greats of even the recent past?

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  4. i actually do not want to watch the match ball by ball -logically speaking kaun itna waqt barbaad kare?
    But in this WC some matches (India vs Australia,India vs Pak and of course the Final ) were so full of twists,turns and nail biting moments that was haplessly dragged into getting bowled over.Completely.

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    1. the matches indeed were absorbing, but I still preferred my father’s way of watching them 😀 mainly because of the excitement factor.

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  5. I blame my granny for the reading habit. She still has a go at every novel in the house with enthusiasm and hates when someone tells her the ending. I personally love second guessing the writer about the plot, the possible twists and stuff like that.
    w.r.t. I rarely give it my time, but the last world cup is a different case. Did watch the finals with a few of my mates at a pub, followed by celebrations at Trafalgar Sq. It was a nice experience.
    Now from what you mention of the newspapers, I’m not surprised. I wonder if Lee-Hesh winning the Miami Masters and regaining the no 1. spot got a notable mention or was it just a corner in the second last page of the paper? The second class treatment meted out to other sports drives me away from cricket. Its a good sport, but not good enough to overshadow others.

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    1. I’d love to meet your grandma. She sounds like a very interesting person! 🙂

      You are bang on about the Lee-Hesh news. Exactly to the column. That’s the tragedy of Indian sports. A few months after the CWG, we have already forgotten all the names that made us scream ourselves hoarse over.

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  6. You might act like a three year old but you have this uncanny ability to read minds….your comments on my posts are bang on and similarly you write exactly what i am thinking…I enjoy watching the game from back to front too.

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    1. Why, that’s a nice compliment Alka. Maybe it has something to do with great minds and all that? 😀

      The back-to-front club seems to have a lot of members, so far all women 🙂

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  7. The day of the finals, we were chilling out at the resort…Didn’t sit through the entire match but the last few overs I just couldn’t restrain myself. What a match!!!

    With age I like reading books that inform, make me think and shatter stereotype notions. Ever tried reading Eric Von Daniken’s – Was God An Astronaut?
    But that doesn’t stop me from reaching out for a feel good romance :))

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    1. It is best to catch the last few overs if you can stand the tension. I can’t 🙂 And yes, it was a match to remember.

      I have only read Chariots of God. And like Bhagya like to read a bit of philosophy too. the feel-good books are not all necessarily romances, but yes, they make me ‘feel good’ too.

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  8. Yes, i totally agree, cricket is too much hyped these days especially by the media and this i feel has taken away a bit from the game too.

    Even i can’t seem to be able to sit through the matches nowadays, in spite of the fact that i am a big fan of the game! What happens with me is that when i see the matches… especially the close ones, the tension and the disappointment on the faces of the losing team members saddens me too! Now, tell me, how can that be eliminated even in the repeat telecasts?

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    1. Not everyone would agree with you that media has taken away from the game. It is rather trivialising it, I would say. but this is the age of trivia, which is why ‘dil mange more,’ see?

      As for watching the disappointment of the losing team, the best thing to do is not to watch the end during the re-telecasts except when it is India that has won! 🙂

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  9. I just followed the game on the internet i.e the scores.
    My ‘housenag’ had already predicted that India would be winning as the bookies had told so, so we just went to the park played ball and came in time to the boisterous screaming at the neighbours, which we understood.(that India has won)
    I used to read big volumes of books. In fact I would go to the library and pick out the thickest volume and read, YES THE FIRST FEW PAGES AND THEN THE LAST FEW AND THEN THE REMAINING :)But now my reading has reduced primarily becoz the little one does not allow me to read and bcoz my reading habits have changed to philosophy and spiritualism

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    1. I like the sound of the ‘housenag’ 🙂 Reading big volumes especially of World War II and the Leon Uris books was my favourite during college days and I read them through not the back-to-front way. I can see the books of spiritualism and philosophy reflect in your posts Bhagya. Blog on!

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  10. I like your father’s idea of reading the ending first! I often read that way myself.

    If the book’s well written, I enjoy reading it even if I know the ending. And if it’s not- I can stop reading it whenever I want! 🙂

    Re: the rewards to the winning cricket team. We are all proud of them- but it’s really too much, particularly when it’s the tax-payers’ money!

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    1. So there are many of us out there who follow this method that my father used! I agree with you on the second para but I don’t use it for books only tension filled matches. Remember I read kiddy books these days? 😀

      who cares about tax payers’ money?

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  11. I watched quarter, semi and second half of the finals – everyone of them a super thriller ! It was great to watch the whole team come together ! Dhoni’s the best captain ever, cool and composed under pressure, not averse to taking risks and always leading by example ! What impresses me most about him is that he does not push himself in the front but content to let others hog the limelight ! He did that then when we won the T20 WC, and again this time with the WC !

    I agree with you and Vinitha regarding the government and some private cos going overboard, showering the players with unprecedented rewards in cash and kind ! Cricketing team members in our country have never been strapped of cash(IPL adding more to their already rich coffers), so why crores more?? Surely that tax payers money could be put to better use !

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    1. i can see and feel your excitement Chitra. It is a heady feeling to see the Indian team win and take the victory lap indeed. Like you say, the cricketers are already rolling in moolah and unlike other sportsmen (Amritraj, Prakash, Gopinath and Usha) they are not even investing back in the game. At the most, they become selectors, commentators or coaches and earn even more money!

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  12. Elder Brat · · Reply

    I have the genes … I switched off after tendulkar got out and switched back on again in the 40th over. Have been watching the live recording ball by ball since!

    BTW … your grand daughter thinks cricket is scary. She may actually have a meaning there … what with the frenzy and the way we screamed after we won the finals.

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    1. LOL cricket as we see it today indeed is scary. Poor thing. I can just hear her say, ‘Switch it off. Diya don’t want to see it.’

      Wonder what other gene is so strong in all of us. I think it will make an interesting compilation. don’t you?

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  13. I agree Cyber Nag. The celebrations are a tad (and more) overdone!
    And the various State and Central Govts. are overdoing it by announcing Crores of Rupees as rewards. I am sure we all agree that the tax payers’ money can definitely be put to better use….

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    1. Read the guest post on your blog Vinitha. I mean winning a world cup is fine but what is this frenzied partying and raining bonanzas? Did we do the same for our other world champions?

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  14. I watch only the first and last 10 overs of a match because mostly those are the times where things get exciting.

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    1. Welcome to Cybernag, Ganu.

      What you do is just like my father reading the first and last chapters and then reading the book at leisure. Good going Ganu. You will save yourself some ulcers and hypertension. 😀

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  15. How do u do it….how do u say exactly what i want to say and do…………..i never watched any of the matches for the same reason and caught up all the highlights from quarter to semi the last 2 days and will still continue. far more pleasurable to watch a match when u know the ending isnt it and as for tatha well its in the genes because i pick any novel and read the climax first 🙂 makes things so much better……………….

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    1. Another one! Well, well. I for one find it simpler to avoid the frenzy and tension and just enjoy the game. As for saying and doing what you want to, that is another gene at work, I guess 🙂

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  16. Well you did tell me once about his reading habits, but I had no clue that he used to read the climax of the novel first! That’s news to me! Wow! Maybe I should also try it!

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    1. Looks like the genes are very strong and not just a stray one. Go ahead and try it. Thatha was a wise man and surely knew what he was doing 🙂

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