Who says, “It’s not cricket…?”
I just love the wicked humour of the mysterious IPL blogger who has the cricket world in an absolute tizzy with his daily behind-the-scenes exposes. Happily self-identified as a ‘fake’, he\she has been spilling all the dirty goings-on behind this dud of an event. It just goes to show nobody and nothing remains a secret in these days of true free expression on the net. Avid followers of the blog insist it is more than an inside job. There are insinuations that it is a sly trick and a clever ploy designed to drive more eyeballs, plus generate garma garam controversy for this thanda tamasha. But reading the posts one definitely gets the idea it is the work of cricket’s very own Deep Throat – a mole with complete access to the players’ off-camera lives, locker room gossip and more. Frankly, the blog is far more entertaining than the action in Durban, and whosoever this spy is, I hope the posts continue throughout the duration of the IPL season. In fact, this person’s account deserves to be instantly published as a book, or at least ,widely syndicated via the print media. But that will never happen. Fat cat advertisers won’t have any of it. With so much money riding on the matches, it is imperative that viewers stay hooked and believe the sanitized version of the proceedings that are routinely fed to fans. Utter rubbish Someone smart and gutsy out there should cash in on the blog’s tremendous popularity and publish it on a daily basis. There is nothing like spice and masala to get the adrenalin going. Cricketers are our biggest stars. Why should they be treated with kid gloves? If movie people surrender all rights to privacy once they get into Bollywood, cricketers too, should accept a fishbowl existence as a part and parcel of their job description. A lively, chatty, sharp and pointed behind-the-scenes column is exactly what is needed to put some dum back into the game. As the ‘fakeiplplayer’ writes , even the tv channel guys are forced to follow the producers’ instructions and only show sections of the stadium which are peopled, while dramatizing the ‘high excitement’ levels on the ground when in reality, that is far from the truth. The attendance has not been all that great, crowds are thin and unenthusiastic. These are familiar tricks of the trade, but gullible viewers are rarely in the know and trustingly gobble up all the contrived images and gushing gup- shup. Most cricket columns are hellishly technical, analytical and boring. You want to scream , “ Relax guys… it’s only a game.”
The Beckhams (Victoria, in particular) smartened up to the commercial potential of living their lives in the public glare, a long time ago. It is entirely because of the way Victoria went about their joint positioning, that Beckham became one of the most recognized human beings alive. That he also forgot he was an ace footballer is the downside of the money-and-fame game. But the Beckhams are still at it – in the process they have become seriously rich and even if David decides to retire tomorrow morning, they know they are made for life and so are their kids. Our ‘Boys’ are a long, long way off from that kind of popularity, but will get there shortly. Sachin’s wax work is the first big step in that direction. If anybody has emerged as the superhero of this IPL, it is Saint Sachin. The anonymous blogger has spared him so far and Sachin’s halo remains untarnished. I hope the naughty blogger’s cover is not blown any time soon. There are enough irate and embarrassed top dogs he has successfully exposed. For non-initiates, it may be a little difficult to decode the various pseudonyms the blogger has created ( Dildo??? Any guesses?). But the pungent writing is enough to keep one panting for more, regardless. Is SRK spending sleepless nights now that so many of his KKR secrets and strategies have been spilled? Has Ganguly hired a hitman to identify and eliminate his tormentor?? Forget the cheerleaders and the ‘new but far-from-improved’skinny Mandira Bedi who has lost a vast fan following along with those kilos and noodle straps. The real action is on this blog - ball by ball, as it were!
I just read the astonishingly candid account of Neera Chopra ( mother of the newly-crowned Miss India-World, Pooja Chopra), in Times- Life and it brought tears to my eyes. What a courageous, proud lady - what an inspiration to women across the board. Neera survived an abusive, nasty marriage to a man who rejected her for not producing a son! She walked out, head held high, with two little baby girls (Pooja was just 20 days old!), no money but enough self- respect to start life afresh. She worked hard and managed to provide two glasses of milk, which she’d leave next to the children, sleeping in a locked room. It is an inspiring and uplifting account of a woman who took on fate, undaunted by adversity and abject hardship. When Pooja needed her first pair of high heels for her modeling career, she chose to earn that money herself via small jobs rather than tax her over burdened mother. And look where both are today - Pooja is rightfully on top of the world. Along with her glowing-with-pride mom. Bravo.
This must be my lucky day... I received not one, not two... but three wonderful invitations to Lit Fests ranging from Kovalam in October, Singapore in June and South Africa in September. The last one promises to be a whole lot more interesting than the IPL, with book readings and interactive sessions at universities across the country. The theme is lyrical, " Words on Water," and there will be several opportunities to meet South African authors. This is terrific, because a writer's life is essentially a lonely one. Unlike other creative fields, a writer 's job does not require 'company' - anything but! It is not collaborative, and there is no group activity to look forward to at the end of a long day of slog. Sometimes I think it is because of its isolationist nature that writers are preferred loners. Their companion is often a bottle. Thank God I have my family to keep me sane\entertained\grounded. But I often wonder whether my writing would have been radically different had I sipped wine all day and let the muse consume me. I'm sure it would!! One of these days I am going to give it a shot - get smashed and write. Maybe I should debut that particular piece in this very space?? Till then , you'll have to endure my cold sober outpourings. Dry Mumbai is an unrecognisable Mumbai - tomorrow we vote! Let's see the turnout. I am very optimistic and expect record numbers. If that happens, Mukul in South Mumbai may not be as khush as Mogambo. And Hasmukh will be proved right! Jago Mumbai, Jago. Vote karo, bhai, vote karo...!