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A show run by India

It is fashionable to talk of connectivity and convergence ? about people getting increasingly wired and linked. The world, we are told, is bonding; distances are disappearing and geographical boundaries gradually dropping from the map.

india Updated: Jan 31, 2003 00:30 IST

It is fashionable to talk of connectivity and convergence -- about people getting increasingly wired and linked. The world, we are told, is bonding; distances are disappearing and geographical boundaries gradually dropping from the map.

In a way, the 2003 cricket World Cup is an example of all these trends. The event is being staged thousands of miles away but there is more interest in Delhi than in Durban.

People, afflicted by a powerful (and completely incurable) cricket bukhaar are eating biscuits, writing slogans, participating in contests and picking likely heroes.

Much attention is, of course, connected to the prospects of the Indian team.

Everyone wants, and hopes, the boys do well which is why millions across the country, courtesy Samsung, are writing good luck messages.

Kids, despite exams looming in Feb-March, seem more concerned about Sehwag's form than the fate of past national heroes, part of their modern Indian history curriculum. Young minds are occupied as much with Ganguly problems with reverse swing as they are with complex physics theories.

Kids are not the only ones caught up with cricket virus, the thing has spread to sensible adults and top celebrities, and reduced them to ordinary fans. This is the reason Shahrukh Khan, who immodestly declares in every other interview he is the best, pleads cup lao, cup lao in a charming manner.

It is quite amazing that India's number one film star is suddenly playing a side role like a character artist who is required to wish good luck to the players. Ditto for the sizzling Kareena who smiles into the camera and utters some inane words of encouragement.

All this shows cricket khiladis are asli stars, Sourav is Maharaj, and while South Africa is staging the main event, this huge non-monsoon cricket wedding, all ceremonies (mehndi and sangeet) are taking place in India. Even the shaadi is funded by our money, and this is not just the money supplied by sponsors.

The World Cup's commercial success rests on several other activities including merchandising and hospitality business, all of which is driven by India.

First Published: Jan 31, 2003 00:30 IST