It is Qatar national sports day today.
The Emir has graciously declared it as a holiday. He wants people to play on a day, which I think is an extremely good gesture, seeing that more and more kids as well as adults seem to be avoiding the open grounds.
To honour the Emir’s wishes, we decided to play cricket. Truth be told, we Indians simply don’t need a reason to play cricket. My friend took me to a place where I could see a lot of like minded enthusiasts playing the game. We set the boundary lines, the pitch to play on, all the usual rituals on the lines of “who will bat first, should be me since it is my bat”…
During the course of play i noticed a few things which made playing Cricket in this desert, a new and exiting experience.
- The ground was extremely windy. So every so often, you had to shift the body so that the back can be against the wind. This protected the eyes from the sand particles.
- The ball always got a natural swing due to the strong winds. So when trying to throw the ball, wind had to be taken into consideration which gave you the feeling of being a sniper or an archer.
- Since the batsman had to run against the wind to score a “run”, it was easy enough for the fielders to get him run-out and the batsman got a good cardio out of it. Although, in later stages of game, smart batsmen(like me) stopped running and relied heavily on big shots to score runs.
- You could shout all you wanted against the wind, no one will hear your screams.
- You spend most of the time fetching the ball from a nicely placed shot. This shot could be of any other pair of teams playing on the ground. But in good faith, and hoping that they would do the same when your ball went into their play area, you have to retrieve the ball and throw it across.
- You could ask one of the friends who does not want to play(there is always one) to fetch the balls in distant places on the ground, using his car. Petrol is cheap, take advantage of this fact by driving it around for no apparent reason than to fetch the ball
- Your hands, especially the forearms start to pain after 4 hours. Do not type anything for atleast two day. ( I am in a lot of pain right now, but had already started to type when the pain hit me. I don’t like to keep things unfinished.)
I have a cousin who is of the age when he plays cricket at any conceivable spot of open ground. This includes main roads, (stopping cars is a very important function in this case) , 10ft x 12ft balconies (increases the patience level, it is said), open grounds ( which are notoriously close to glass buildings) and cemeteries.
Now, I gave a lot of though to the notion of playing adjacent to a cemetery.
- Since we are Hindu, the dead are cremated. So there is always a strong change that an “unclaimed” skull can be used as a ball or helmet depending on it’s size.
- There is always an uncle around to throw the ball back to you,in case it goes far enough.
- In case the uncle is reluctant, the resident ghosts can certainly help matters.
- Since there are bound to be multiple ghosts around, they can serve as umpires in the match and that means, an occasional random voice would not be considered out of place.
- The ghosts will mostly be neutral guarantying an unbiased decision, unless he was the previous owner of the aforementioned skull.
- As a part of cemetery decorum, people will be hesitant to tell you to stop playing.
- You can be sure, that the land will never undergo any kind of construction. Plane ground guarantied. for life…. and even after.
So many advantages of playing at the cemetery. Why did I not think of this .
1. People ask anyone they meet “bhaisab, score kya hua ?” (what is the score, oh good sir)
2. Suddenly everyone becomes an Analyst.
3. Suddenly everyone becomes an expert in cricketing strategies.
For 2 and 3 to hold true, there are no age restrictions. which means, India is full of experts from the age group 10 to 80
4. There is a sudden rise in leave application due to fever, headaches, stomach pains, in-law visits etc.
5. The roads are deserted , buses loose their frequency due to staff shortages.
6. Every office has this one person who live streams the match and other people circle around the one person who is live streaming the match.
7. All of a sudden in offices, all crowd forgets what’s our designation and position and even the Manager seeks expert opinion from Office boy.
8. If India is wining, every person entering the room is cheered, as if he is the one who made it possible for India to play well.
9. All electronic stores are filled with people watching the match. Street sellers ave a radio blasting out the match commentary.
10. There is at-least one person in a group who claims that the match is fixed by a certain politician
11. Every ball is bet upon by “experts”.
12. There is always the one person who is away from the group, in the corner who shows he is least bothered about the match. But the truth is he also feels “INDIA” should win from bottom of his heart!
13. There is always one person who remembers each and every ball played in the previous innings.
14. There is always a camera man who searches for hot girls in the stadium.
15. And finally, when India wins, Indian flags are mounted of motorbikes and rallied all around he city. But if India looses, the situation is so intense that a spectator may find more cheer in a graveyard.