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Commercials more painful than Indian show

It is hard to be neither a pessimist nor an optimist and pretend to be an observer of unfolding events, without letting your emotions come into play. The theatre of dramatic events that sports is, and the multi-layered responses it evokes from its ensemble cast, lends the action in the middle a life of its own.

columns Updated: Dec 18, 2010 01:50 IST
Pradeep Magazine

It is hard to be neither a pessimist nor an optimist and pretend to be an observer of unfolding events, without letting your emotions come into play. The theatre of dramatic events that sports is, and the multi-layered responses it evokes from its ensemble cast, lends the action in the middle a life of its own.

Be it a wicket falling, a boundary scored, the ball plucked from the air or a stunning run out, in the end it is the responses of those involved in creating these moments that can turn viewing sporting action into a cathartic experience. Sport is not just about cold statistical figures or clinical analysis as many make it out to be. It is also about the spectator who becomes a vicarious participant and shares in the excitement, pain and joy of the performers. Without him there would be neither sport nor the cynical exploitation of the money-making opportunities it gives to greedy businessmen who masquerade as entrepreneurs with the good of the people at heart.

All these thoughts came to my mind while watching India’s capitulation against the moving bouncing ball which may have left an Indian fan in despair. It may have been heartbreaking and one is hoping it was an aberration which will get corrected as the series progresses. I am not writing this to either condemn or commiserate with India’s performance on the opening day.

To watch the ball fly off the track, seam and move and make the batsmen weave and duck is a sight in itself. And when wickets fall, as they did against the menacing South African duo of Steyn and Morkel, it can be an energy sapping experience for everyone involved with the match, more so for the viewer.

Alas, on Indian television this is impossible as the screen gets disfigured by silly commercials the moment a batsman gets out or an over ends. It is far worse than this. The screen cuts into a commercial even before an action is complete and by the time it gets back to showing the match, one may have even forgotten what one was watching in the first place.

When profit is the only motive for those who sell and buy the rights for these live telecasts, the person because of whose interest he is making these killings, matters the least. It has been happening for a long time now and will not stop either, given the utter disdain administrators seem to have for the spectators.

Sad that we the hapless fans have no choice but to watch a cricket match as a robotic contest and not for the interplay of intense, throbbing emotions which is an experience in itself.