At a time when we each own a personal screen that opens a world of possibilities, it is difficult to believe that there was a time when owning a screen, even just one that telecasted — not streamed — programs on a black and white screen, sans a remote control but complete with grains and crack noises was — as the famed tagline goes — neighbours envy and owner’s pride.
My parents were the proud owners of a colour television set during the early 80s. This television often brought forth the story of the pride of opening the doors of our home to a crowd of neighbours who left their envy and brought their enthusiastic selves to witness the cricket match of 1983.
The cricket experts in the Sports Section of this newspaper can better explain the stats, but for me, it is the person he stands for, his humility, his will and the ability to carry every loss as gracefully as the wins that count
Over tea and glucose biscuits, they are said to have collectively sighed over every lost wicket and cheered every boundary. Mother would explain the tears of joy and pride as the then captain, Kapil Dev, lifted India’s first Cricket World Cup.
Much later, my brother and I made it our mission to share this prominent tale (on repeat) with friends until one questioned if our colour television had contributed to the great victory. As much as we secretly coveted that undeserved privilege, we put a halt to that tale.
The World Cup win benefited the television industry and gave a generation of people intent on growing up to be engineers and doctors the dare to aspire to be part of the cricket dream.
Mother was heard clucking in disappointment as the cricket season reached a feverish pitch when the weekly regional-language movie was replaced with the match, but eventually she would join us by the television in our cheering.
Tendulkar-autographed cricket bat
As for my brother and me, we knew that a boundary meant that we could gleefully jump on the only sofa in the living room but that a losing match would be the cue to get back to our homework. It took a Tendulkar-autographed cricket bat that we won that got my brother to take cricket seriously.
Suddenly, he was the star cricketer with Sachin’s bat and to my annoyance, he was often seen discussing cricket in a language that I barely understood.
Soon, the wall beside his study had cut-out faces of his cricket gods. Over the years, new faces appeared and Saurav Ganguly’s dominated them all. The urge to rip a few off after a fight was tempting but my respect for the players whom I grew up watching and the fact that my younger brother was towering over me, kept me from doing it.
My son has his sport favourites too, but they have evolved over the years. He has been go-karting once and plays cricket occasionally but Sebastian Vettel on the F1 front and MS Dhoni has been a constant.
I once found a diary with cut outs of a young Vettel from a Friday magazine and Captain Cool advertising a fan. He followed them closely, watched reruns of cricket matches and insisted on wicket keeping during that occasional game of cricket.
On the day MS Dhoni announced his retirement, Sid, whose expression of emotions are limited to the times when I have turned down his request for take away, mopped and spent the evening watching reruns.
If the World Cup opened doors to a generation to dream the impossible, MS Dhoni has shown the world that it is never too late to realise your passion so much so that you can make every low count as gracefully as the highs during your journey.
The cricket experts in the Sports Section of this newspaper can better explain the stats, but for me, it is the person he stands for, his humility, his will and the ability to carry every loss as gracefully as the wins that count.
So, while The Lion will be on the prowl in the UAE, lets Whistle Podu!
— Pranitha Menon is a freelance writer based in Dubai. Twitter: @MenonPranitha