How I envy the vanishing tribe of Indians who can remain impervious to the tides that sway Indian cricket. Only a handful practise detachment from what goes on on-field and off it. But one of these precious persons is my dear wife. Don’t get me wrong. She is interested in the sport. In fact, she is interested in it far more than, say, a shark is in cycling. While she might not be able to tell a googly from a Chinaman, she knows more about the game than many people on ‘boards’ attempting to ‘control’ cricket.
But her detachment from the vagaries of the sport holds her in good stead. She can sleep soundly right through a crucial ODI, even when India is playing. However, she is, like the rest of her tribe, quite tolerant of my losing sleep over the travails of cricketers during ODIs, as long as I keep the TV on almost mute.
It is unfathomable why the lady is so forgiving of Team India’s poor performance — more than even the national selectors. So, when the team loses a match, she takes a mature view saying, “you can’t expect them to win each time”, or “they tried their best after all,” are profound statements — even if they do little to bolster my spirits.
The morning following our team’s debacle in the second ODI, I was, to put in mildly, somewhat lost in the blues. Handing me a strong cup of coffee, she quizzed, “What happened? Have they lost again?”
“Yes. Badly. Read for yourself,” I said, handing the newspaper to her. She read the whole story but gave no reaction. But for once, she did not defend them either.
In the evening, when we watched the news about the MPs raising the issue in Parliament, I expected some comment from her. But none was forthcoming. Nor was there any after India lost in the third and fourth ODIs.
Meanwhile, the whole country was up in arms over Greg Chappel’s remark on the MPs. Now, there was more to the issue than mere cricket. She followed the news but said nothing. That is some restraint! Lesson for you, Greg, I thought.
The day after the wash-out, as I watched TV in the evening, the ad of monster.com — the cricketer wielding his bat at the dhobi ghat — triggered the long-awaited outburst. Gone was her stoic stance as she proclaimed with all the scorn she could muster, “But that’s just the job for the shameless lot!”