In the Mahabharata, the Gods gave Sanjay multiple-camera vision so that he could verbally replay to Dhritirashtra every gory detail of the battle of Kurukshetra. I wondered why Gods, being Gods, didnt just give the old man his vision back. But then I figured that Dhritarashtra, being a facilitator of the Kaurava’s evils, deserved the punishment of being deprived of the sense of sight.
In this age, we have become like Dhritarashtras, presiding over a massive loot of the country’s resources by those whom he voted to power. So the Gods, in their infinite wisdom, have given us another Sanjay—Sanjay Manjrekar, to give a painful play-by-play. Truly Sanjay (in whose name a movie was made once with the song “Raat choti baat badi” [The night is short but my words are long]) sometimes seems to have vision of the kind that mortals do not possess. Like there was this time during the India-Ireland match he suddenly said “He has found the gap.” Only problem was that the fielder was standing almost placidly, waiting for the ball to roll into his hands and the only gap that existed was in Sanjay’s perception of reality and what was actually going on in the physical world. That explained why in his playing days he could never make the crease, because he thought he had made it when in actuality he had not. And so while we merely saw saw a fat conceited man choosing to let his in-form partner get out rather than himself. Sanjay saw the expression in Kohli’s eyes and interpreted the depths of his mind, using the same unworldly vision by which he discovers layers of baby-like innocence in the faces of Yusuf Pathan and Jayasurya.
The World Cup, in its nth week, has become a true Kurukshetra with Sanjay as its ethereal purveyor. Like the great battle, it has had its winners and losers. Ricky Ponting was a surprise winner, with Australia showing once again that you cannot discount them as a serious contender. His first week may have been spent humping LCD TVs but now as Cricinfo headlined “Ponting eager for action”. Which is why the Australian board is sending him what most men, looking for action, truly want —-Hussey. On top too was Shahid Afridi, whose number of wickets in the tournament is approaching his real age pretty fast with one of the enduring images of the World Cup being of him standing in his celebratory pose, with his hands aloft and his crotch pushed out—-very classy in a Afridi sort of way. For me Pakistan is the story of the tournament so far with its best moment being when the team joined ranks to filthily abuse one Balaji Rao from Canada, exactly the kind of thing we know the Pakis do when they are united. Now unless one can put together a good “throw tournament away” package, this side might go on to lift the trophy. Finally Ireland was a winner, showing how after all is said is done, cricket still remains a game for those with a big heart.
In the list of losers of course there was India, the body-painted erect-nippled Men In Blue. Now we knew our bowling was weak. What we did not know was that it was Manmohan-Singh weak. No I am not going to make a “Ailaa Piyush Chawla” joke because really what can you expect from the man. For me the stand-out mujrim for India is Harbhajan Singh, whose listless “turn shoulder around till IPL starts” bowling and overall detachment from the proceedings (including that casual one-handed attempt at a Strauss catch) was nothing short of disgusting. Sri Lanka too seems to have lost their way. For that I blame Pepsi. When the aggressive batting spearhead is morphed into a pallu-dropping crossdresser who takes seduction tricks from the lady who acted opposite Akshay Khanna in Himalayputra, the team has lost much of its psychological edge when facing up to the opposition. Finally the Bangladeshis—–when your fans don’t even know which bus to stone, what can one say of the national team.
And over all of them, winners and losers, minnows and top-dogs, the star attraction has been the all-seeing Eye, Mr. Sanjay, looking and commenting and sometimes giggling like a teenager at a Justin Bieber concert.
I love this game.