Fancy an Indian Captain, going unnoticed in a public place, not being mobbed by autograph hunters. Or a team player who will never be hauled up by his sponsors for mixing up the multiple brands he endorses on the field . Or the legions of girls who will never swoon over the triceps/quadriceps/ gluteus maximus of the center forward. A match not accompanied to the din of thousands of crazy cannibals (read sports fans) baying for blood ? Or a media that has no arm chair analysts to dissect performance ?
Bliss did you say ? Welcome to Indian Hockey ! I'm not exactly the neighborhood athlete, but two different experiences beg me to speak for them. The entire office that on any normal day can sit in front of their laptops till 10 pm seriously studying absurd emails is currently transplanted on the month end to the cricket stadium, screaming their throats hoarse leaving me all alone with my beloved pen.
And the second, a conversation at my office that showed me how big an ignoramus I can actually be, even without trying. Sample this:
Intro: Satish, meet Mr. Mohd Riaz, he’s an Arjuna Awardee
S : Wow ! That’s great Mr. Riaz
R: Thanks Satish .
S: But sir, what sport did you get the award for ?
R (stiffening ): Hockey .
S ( turning pink and finding a huge foot in his palate ) : Sorry Sir, my knowledge of hockey is a bit poor …
Upon beating a hasty retreat, a quick wikipedia search showed Mr. R to be the Captain of the Indian hockey team that made it to the 2000 Olympics. A part of me wonders even now, how we can turn our back to almost all of those souls who represent us, while immediately deifying those who constantly deceive our expectations.
The more sober me wonders when we shall learn to respect all of these men and women. But I live with the hope that some day all of us shall get our act together. Until we get our sensibilities straight, Mr. R and co. shall have to live with good-natured humiliation.