There is something about cricketers, something about “ball misses bat bat misses ball howazzat” that just make those lips go out of control. I first came to know of this relationship between cricket and kissing during the Sportsworld quiz when the quizmaster asked “Who was the first Indian cricketer to get kissed on a cricket field” and the answer I found out was Abbas Ali Baig (One of the teams guessed Bapu Nadkarni to which the quizmaster pointedly said “Do you want me to repeat the question”?).
As a budding teenage cricketer it then became my dream to be kissed one day on the cricket field based on my heroic exploits, a fantasy that was captured by the Cadbury Milk Chocolate ad wherein a beautiful girl dances onto the ground after her man hits the ball for a six and share some sweetie time together (the kiss is not shown but we all assumed it was there). Nothing like that of course happened to me as I passed my teenage days singing “Na Jaane Kiss Kiss Ne Kiss Kiss Ko Kiya Hain Ek Main Hoon Jisne Sab Kiss Ko Miss Kiya” , no doubt because of by my inability to clear the boundary or first base depending on which sport suits your taste.
As days went on I kept my eyes and ears open for such cricketing kissing stories and they came in from time to time, mostly apocryphal and third-hand like UFO-sightings and ghost-experiences like this time a senior at Jadavpur University was supposedly kissed by a class-mate after he batted our department to glory in an exciting run-chase against arch-rivals (noone I asked had exactly seen this but everyone knew about it).
I was rewarded after many years by this famous incident where in a sponsored event called “Take Home Ricky Ponting” , a certain cricket-lover, who had successfully bid for Ponting’s bat took the title too seriously as well as the possession of Punter’s bat too metaphorically and wet-kissed Punter. His logic was water-tight: “Ricky Ponting is a great captain and our culture is to kiss him”. This of course set in motion what I have claimed before on my blog a sequence of events that led to Australia’s downfall as a team.
From that incident, besides the look of sheer terror on Ponting’s face (I saw the face after that only once while facing Ishant Sharma), I remember the indignation of the man after Ponting moved his lips away at the moment of impact. [Link]
In foreign you know, they hug and kiss, but he refuses to hug our Indians. I told him – you hug me – otherwise you get lost.
A sentiment that was mirrored recently when a female fan from Calcutta tried to kiss Irfan Pathan and Pathan, displaying the kind of pace he displayed last in 2006, moved away with the polite sentence we committed men tell our ardent admirers ” Shivangi mere ko maar dalegi ” [Investigative report here]
As the girl says, totally unaware of anything even slightly improper says :
When two people meet, don’t they greet each other with a hug or a kiss on the cheek?
To which I would have said “How come I never met anyone in Calcutta who feels this way” had I not been aware of my limitations. However what was even more uncannily similar between this incident and the Punter kisser was the wrath of the rebuffed admirer, something that both Punter and Pathan would do well to take note off unless they want to further lose their most ardent fans.
But he quite literally pushed you away.
Yes, I know. I was there, remember. He behaved as though I was committing a crime. I’m sad he responded in that manner. I wasn’t doing anything wrong. He should not have pushed me away.
And you still like him?
No! I don’t. He has hurt my feelings and I won’t forgive him.
Of course this is not the first time cricketers have been kissed in Calcutta. A few years ago Dhoni was also similarly grappled by a female admirer which might explain why he goes around with an all-female detail and why notifying WADA of a cricketer’s whereabouts would compromise their security.
And as to the rest of you wondering where the hell do women in Kolkata and India greet strangers with hugs and kisses eat your hearts out. Remember these are cricketers we are talking about and, as the Cadbuy’s ad goes, “kuch khaash hai in sabhi main” which is why they, despite their best efforts, are forced to taste “swaad zindagi ka” in all its milky goodness.
[Picture courtesy Cricinfo and the Telegraph]