iconimg Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Serena Menon, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, April 12, 2013
Trust the organisers of the ongoing T20 tournament to find the most bizarre solution to an issue. They felt that the after-parties held during the previous editions led to a lot of gossip and proved to be a nuisance. So to clean up their act, a recent report claimed that the organisers have decided not to host multiple after-parties any more. They have a limit this time; 10 parties apparently, reveals the news.

Why? Because, if more than a handful of cricketers and celebrities meet at a pub for the 11th time, they’ll have to use their beers to soothe their swollen knuckles. How dare they think frivolously of a tournament that was sold to them as a package loaded with so much glamour that it even gave Bollywood a complex?

Roughly a year ago, New Zealand cricketer Jesse Ryder, who couldn’t play in the league this year due to an injury, was quoted saying, “There’s so many parties and at those parties, there’s free booze (sic).” Why is it surprising then that this is what got the league so much popularity in the first place? It’s the nature of a tournament that has Shah Rukh Khan, Shilpa Shetty, Preity Zinta and liquor baron Vijay Mallya as team owners and cheerleaders dancing to filmi item numbers.

When the first edition of the ongoing T20 tournament began, mastermind Lalit Modi announced grand plans of after-parties, fashion shows and much more. Since entry into these parties was by invite-only, every other socialite became the most-wanted person in town. Everyone wanted in on these dos. It wasn’t the usual Page 3 event. People wanted to watch players of the ‘gentleman’s game’ unwind and let their hair down. Sharing a drink with an actor is one thing, but shaking a leg with Sachin Tendulkar would make for a story like none other. It would.

If pictures of the likes of Sreesanth and Irfan Pathan having fun and giggling away, giving Anusha Dandekar sound bites at one of the after-parties didn’t do the rounds, we’d have thought they hated these events too. But they obviously didn’t.

Then why wouldn’t they want more of it? All high pressure jobs need outlets to de-stress, and this profession takes the cake when it comes to tension. Put a cap on it, and it’ll find another way to get out. Just hope it doesn’t come out on the field. Bhajji, no slapping!