The last match I watched before the India vs Srilanka T20 match on 6th April was the 2011 world cup, that was the last time I watched cricket or at least an entire tournament, I wasnt interested in the IPL because I was high on the World Cup Victory, IPL was like the last thing on my mind. But that wasn't what changed my obsessive need to watch, I don't quite remember, I felt very guilty. I felt very guilty about watching cricket.
My problem was with having to answer cricket questions, I would often get asked. 'Who is the Captain of SA?' huh? or 'Off side kya hai?' I was pretty pissed. I said I don't need to watch a sport that feels like an exam. Not giving up, but clearly I could have eliminated talking about cricket.
Secondly and more importantly, It had become a national pain killer, we were going through so much at that point, politically, price rise, scams, suicides and all we could think of was the world cup. Men in blue, bleed blue, Indian cricket was the face of patriotism and I had and continue to have a problem with this appropriation. No, loving Indian cricket is not a measure of my patriotism.
In the December of 2012 something terrible happened, a girl was raped in Delhi, she was called Nirbhaya by the Indian media; around the same time Sachin announced his retirement and suddenly national attention (however shortly, thankfully) shifted from Nirbhaya to SRT. That was the last straw for me. I couldn't believe that we'd forget anything if it involved cricket. That's when I truly switched off my 'fan of Indian Cricket' status.
Quite recently, almost 3 years after the world cup, I still go back to watching that match, it rekindles a very very different emotion. I am still that person I was 3 years ago when it comes to World Cup 2011. Recently, I watched T20 World Cup, but surprisingly, I wasn't in tears, I wasn't heartbroken. It just felt like another tournament. However, 4th of April 2011 is etched in my memory and will forever remain there.
Treating something like it should be treated helps put things in perspective, had we lost the World Cup in 2011, I would have been depressed, but not now. I am not, I got my alignment on cricket right. It's a game, we lose some, we win some. We move on to the important things in life. We have an office to be at, a day of writing, reading, making food, basically we have a day ahead of us that isn't going to be about beating up cricketers and abusing them, neither is it about singing their praises. I have a very special respect for Sachin, who doesn't? But even he seems to be thinking about his future away from cricket, who are we then to make cricket our "life" (trust me, I was prepared to fail my advertising paper because it was India vs Australia match the next day; that's how bad it was).
Getting this mess cleared about priorities makes life easy. It's been sometime that I've been weighing the 'importance' of things. Is writing important? Yes. So I continue. Is reading important? Yes. Is watching a match with your friends important? Yes, I will watch it. But it has its limits.
This is not a 'happy' post. Right?
No, not in the classic definition of happiness and I had a different post planned for today, but I chucked it after the whole Yuvraj Singh blame nonsense that unfolded on twitter after it reminded me of being crazy passionate about the game (not the stone pelting kind, never). But I didn't feel that angst anymore. I felt relieved. Relief is a kind of happiness, right?