Remember those regressive saas-bahu soaps where a new bahu is considered the harbinger of ill luck if her entry coincides with family business tanking/someone falling ill/something equally bad happening.
That situation found an eerie resonance with Indian Cricket Fan’s reception of Anushka Sharma, the then alleged girlfriend of Virat Kohli. The month was July, India was playing England and Virat’s performance was, not to put too fine a point on it, dismal.
Indian Cricket Fan, who can be more unforgiving than any saas in TV-dom, decided it was all Anushka’s fault.
A million internet jokes on the couple later, Virat finally regained his form. In the recent match against Sri Lanka, he scored his 32nd half century and landmark 6000 runs. What do you expect an Indian batsman who has taken quite a knock over his lack of form? Any of these things -- raise his bat to heaven and thank God, get teary eyed or look towards the dig-out.
Instead, Virat did something that might have shocked the traditionalists but made his young fans very happy: He blew a kiss to his girlfriend who was standing up for an ovation. Anushka may not have returned his
but she accepted and reveled in it.
Many of us may say that this is just not cricket. But it is everything that the ‘hell yeah’ generation stands for.
That was Virat’s way of telling the people that you may have got us down with your vitriol for a while but you cannot keep us there.
Instead of coyly accepting how much they love each other in an interview to a sympathetic journalist, Virat decided to say it out in the open. His achievement of becoming the quickest batsman to score 6,000 runs in the ODIs made it unassailable.
Should Virat have blown a kiss on the cricket pitch when he was playing for Team India? The question is moot given that the flamboyant batsman has gone ahead and done it. But if we have to dissect it here, the answer is ‘hell yeah’.
Bollywood and cricket, India’s two 'religions' have intertwined in this relationship and both are about putting up a show. Apologies to the purist, but cricket is as much a performance art for rabid Indian fans as Bollywood is. And the show that Virat put up will not be forgotten in a hurry by the people.
Virat also had a more visceral reason for what he did: Anushka’s presence was blamed for his lack of form all those months ago. Now, the batsman is saying ‘look there she is, the reason for my present record’ and he is sealing it with a kiss.
Now, if that’s not reason enough for a PDA, what is?