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When we play cricket tomorrow...

Historian Niall Ferguson, a Brit based in America, has listed work ethic as one of six factors that he says have been responsible for the West's global dominance. Hard workers need to play hard too. But when?

world Updated: Mar 28, 2011 23:59 IST
Dipankar De Sarkar

Historian Niall Ferguson, a Brit based in America, has listed work ethic as one of six factors that he says have been responsible for the West's global dominance. Hard workers need to play hard too. But when?

Conveniently, Prince William and Kate decided to tie the knot on April 29. Immediately, the new coalition government declared a public holiday on the day and now Brits can go on a 10-day vacation from April 22-May 2 by taking only three days off work.

That's because of things called bank holidays. April 22 is Good Friday, April 25 Easter Monday and May 2 a bank holiday - public holidays that have been a grand British tradition since 1871.

They will give us a chink of light relief in a country that is politically (and ethically) riven over the role of banks and bankers.

On Sunday around 400,000 ordinary Britons marched through central London to hear Labour leader Ed Miliband and others rail against the coalition government's public sector cuts.

Miliband had not quite finished saying 'bhaio aur behnon' when the first stones landed on a Topshop window on Oxford Street, setting in motion a train of violent events.

But Britain's banks are not about shut down on account of a handful of masked anarchists. Rather, it could be cricket.

Tomorrow, when India play Pakistan in Mohali, here in England the world of banking and finance - powered by work-ethic-wedded Indian IT engineers - may just come to a grinding halt.

And given that there are no public holidays for Diwali, Eid or Baisakhi, newsagents and grocery shop owners too may decide to give their work ethics a break (their days start at 4am).

Everywhere, pubs will fill up, flags will fly and taps will flow. In the evening, curry houses will bustle with life - that's a midweek lifeline for owners, chefs, waiters, butchers, farmers and vegetable sellers. At some point, the chatter in pubs will be drowned by the first burst of firecrackers.

In Britain, tomorrow is really a South Asian bank holiday. And we will play hard.