Open your mouth and have some mishti doi.
Kolkata Knight Riders had been on a winning spree. That is a state of being as unstable as a supersaturated solution and it was only inevitable that just like IPL 1.0, the KKR would have its juggernaut brought to a screaming halt.
But wait. Why are we even discussing winning and losing? IPL is not about such trivialities. It is about laughing at the Knight Riders and filling Lalit Modi’s pocket and by those parameters, KKR’s home game against Chennai was a roaring success.
The game started off with each team having one handicap. KKR conveniently lost consistent performer Charlie Langto-field due to injury just when big-ticket player Shane Bond became available. For Chennai, they also started with a handicap because KKR, for the third match in succession, did not play Ajit Agarkar. Rohan Gavaskar’s selection was to many in the audience a mystery since he was not given an over to bowl (which meant he was not a bowler) and batted after the bowlers (which meant he was not a batsman). Not to me because I understood why Rohan was in the team. He was there, representing wimpy people like your present interlocutor who for years in para cricket were part of teams where we were never given bowling, batted last and were asked to run about and fetch balls, particularly when it fell into evil aunty’s balcony.
Of course there still remained many things I had trouble wrapping my mind around—like why was there a discussion about Atul Wasson’s size, why Sunil Gavaskar was asking for mishti doi, why Harsha Bhogle was giggling like a school-girl while saying “Gavaskar is a very hard man” and where the hell was Arun Lal when we needed his vacant “my-mind-is-a-blotting-paper I soak everything up and get it all backwards” look the most.
KKR has the best of the initial exchanges. Hayden brandished his mongoose. Ishant whipped out his snake. Snake ate mongoose. Sehwag and Gambhir vied for a call from a certain Vidya (Vidya Charan Shukla?) in an ad that had definite 377 undertones. Runs were at a premium. Three wickets fell. Everything looked awesome for the home crowd except the cheerleaders, who seemed to be local CITU workers who had muscled in on the job.
And then Wriddhiman Saha dropped Dhoni. Bad mistake. Or as they say in these parts–Kelo.
Dhoni went berserk. Deepika Padukone berserk. Each delivery seemed to have Ranbir Kapoor’s face on it and was dispatched with a nasty personal vendetta. One savage pull almost took off the head of the guy who was wearing the Hooglie (tiger) mascot uniform of the KKR. Mashrafe was later seen praying to God for that narrow escape.
Runs flowed faster than industry leaving Bengal. Dhoni and Badrinath collided mid-pitch and Ishant Sharma, for whom information takes a lot of time to go from brain to hand, muffed the chance to run someone out (He may have been distracted by Kangana RunOut in the stands also). By then of course it was too late and the game was effectively beyond the KKR.
But when everything seems lost that’s when the King’s Men are at their best. Their entertaining best. Hodge packed up quick. Tiwari, whose fifty last game made his fans ask me to eat humble pie, showed why I held off on eating it, when he justified his 675,000 USD pricetag with another bizarre hit-hit-bowled innings. Dada chipped his bat by continuously hitting the air and Wriddhiman Saha, who seemed to have learnt batting from Kiran More, rode his luck for a while before the inevitable happened. So hapless were the Knight Riders that even Balaji was made to look like a fire-breathing dragon. Rohan Gavaskar, the Uday Chopra of cricket, was the only bright spot in the innings, if only for the “Yaaa I got batting” expression on his face which made me all nostalgic. KKR hurtled to a huge defeat and order was once again restored to the cosmos.
The crowd left morose and disconsolate. A man told his Boy Toy—Get me that spinner Ass-win next season. The Super Kings celebrated. Sadness descended over the city.
And somewhere amidst the heat, bustle and tears, a father and son, oblivious of the world around them, quietly had a cup of mishti-doi together.
[Let us have a blogmeet/tweetup/ on March 21st, Sunday at 4 pm in T3 (T3 has closed down), Cafe Coffee Day (CCD) Park Street, Kolkata. Please email me to confirm participation. Since a book launch isnt conducive to general conversation, come to this event if you want a more “personal experience”.]