It was nearing the evening, almost dusk, when I found Chirag and Parag, first standard kids in my neighbourhood, fighting it out in the streets. Muddy shirt and all, it reminded me of the kid in Taare Zameen Par. Of course, it seemed odd to find such good friends fighting it out as it was Maratha Warriors versus Bangalore Hi-fliers (too much of TV I know!). On enquiring, I was told the reason was Chirag called Parag a Monkey. A violent protest followed.
Had that been the story, it would have been natural and logical. However, it wasn’t the case. It was a burly 32 year old (with a pipin’ hot chick) fighting almost over a lolly-pop. I would have empathized had monkey-kind complained on being equated with a monkey with 2 extra lives, but then that’s not how the world works, doesn’t it? The killer of the day, of course, occurred during the post-match ceremony, when my maid came in. She stared at us, stared at the TV, found Symonds talking into the microphone and shouted MONKEY. We kept laughing our guts out for the next 15 minutes.
Of course, in another part of the story, the umpires decided to show who was the boss. I think Steve Bucknor had by this time decided that he’d watched too many men wearing colours winning, making money, singing with Asha, and applying hair gels while sitting out. Until he could make out between morning and evening, who needs a camera? Who needs technology? All ye engineers, sitting in Bangalore, and monkey-tapping (yes!) on your keyboards, take a leave, go visit the pubs, since we need no stump-cameras, we don’t need no snick-o-meter, it’s just another brick taken from the wall, as the rest of the world watches comfortably dumb.
the Aussie umpire (whose name I didn’t bother checking) Benson decided to take help from the fifth umpire (the fourth empire, oops estate, being counted out) Ricky Ponting. Aussies have such a good reputation after all, right? They walk out as soon as realize that they are rightfully out, they never appeal for false catches, and they of course, never use words as kind as Monkey. When Ponting signalled with his one finger, what I couldn’t make out was if he was saying OUT or that one more packet would get deposited in the umpire’s account just like for all the others? We will never find out.
The course of the day could hardly have been altered if these 5 decisions had been justfully given. India is partly to blame for not taking the game to the Aussie camp, not going in for the Aussie ki Taisi, as the fourth empire’s been so wanting to, but giving into the Kangaroos in a game they play only too well. While all the decisions were going their way, they resorted to monkey-tactics to take the attention away. You’d expect the Indians to be seething in anger, resenting the misfortune that came their way even after the gritty knock by Kumble but he has to report to the match-referee because a Kangaroo was called a Monkey, and took offence.
These stories don’t make any difference — the game has been decided, Ricky Ponting’s team has won 16 in a trot (will they complain on being called a horse?), and all of us will soon forget all this, switch our channels, watch some vote-and-make-your-team-win contest and give a damn about talent, grit and determination. In the end, it doesn’t even matter.
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