I’ve seen a few ugly trophies in my life. They are usually fantastical pieces of junk jewellery screwed on to a wooden board and no amount of kissing it gives it a distinguished look. But nothing — and I mean not even the local carrom championship second runners-up plaque that I had won in the mid-80s with a mini-scale carrom board etched on to the yellow metal — can hold the ugly candle to the trophy that was lifted by Shane Warne’s boys on Sunday. The IPL trophy was simply jaw-droppingly ugly.
I hadn’t paid much attention to it when pictures of it were printed in a few papers when it was unveiled in Mumbai in mid-May. But I did register the bit about “2,554 round and baguette diamonds weighing 68.77 carats, 4,500 yellow sapphires weighing 218.55 carats, blue sapphires weighing 986 carats and eight rubies weighing 248.70 carats have been used”. And just in case the prose made things look prettier, it was added: “The gold weight of the statue is 691.15 grams”. Wow. Next they’ll start putting jewellery on Ajay Devgan and call him beautiful.
The PR prose clearly did not make the IPL trophy look prettier. Fit for a ‘Punjabi baroque’ household that has just won a bumper lottery, the hideous entity has a cardboard-cut-out-type of map of India (bejewelled, of course) with the letters ‘IPL’ cut and pasted by someone whose idea of award-winning design is a dhaba sign on the way to Bhatinda. Jutting out in front is a figure of a swishing batsman — seemingly made by one of those ‘craftsmen’ who make Subhas Bose busts look like Ambedkar (or is it the other way round?). And to cap this monstrosity, there’s a black background on which marked prominently is the chief sponsor’s name and logo. Even the Godfather of Bling, Bappi Lahiri, would quietly tuck this away behind his bathroom commode if he got this... this... thing.
The sad bit is that with all the zillions that went into the trophy, it still is a firm piece of turd. Now, I was one of the many who thoroughly enjoyed the IPL spectacle. For its trophy to be this entity, which makes those terra- cotta Konark wheels dusted with glitter and sold at crossings look like creations by Rodin, must be making those crusty types who moan about the IPL being ‘so vulgar’, titter with joy. If Lalit Modi wants it, I can give him my carrom champion’s plaque for next year’s tournament. Meanwhile, I shudder to enter his living room.