If there is anything more divine than God himself then it is the game of cricket in India. Do not believe a politician or a religion driven fanatic when he says India is divided because of religion. Cricket is the biggest religion in India and it does not divide the nation, rather it brings the whole country together. So as the cricket world cup took its semi-final lap and the Indian Gods of cricket took the center stage, the country waited with bated breath for the final outcome. A long day for the diaspora spread across continents. A day which would keep the Gods busier than ever leaving little room for any recreation. If someone says that believing in superstitions is a thing of the past, then he has to observe an Indian watching his team play the game of cricket. From chanting every known Vedic mantras, to letting go of nature’s call, from staking all that you love to the almighty to wearing the same t-shirt through all the matches, superstitions can have a whole new meaning to it. I remember as a young girl I used to fold little tabs of paper with a ‘Yes’ and a ‘NO’ written on it. Make a quiet prayer to the supremo and take the leap of faith; India will win or India will lose! All this stagecraft for the ultimate Holy Grail, the sacrosanct win for the country. Well patriotism had a new definition when a game of cricket was on!
Indians have always been superstitious. No wonder an otherwise purposeless vagabond rock will get a wreath of flowers if it is kept idle for too long under a Peepal tree. A whole place of worship comes up around this ‘rock’ with people flocking with little pots of milk and a basket full of flowers. Keep it longer, and a temple comes up. Give it some more time and it will be among the major attractions for the town. What is more amazing is the protest that follows if the administration tries to intervene and dislodge it. The fear of evoking the wrath of the gods with the purging of a vagabond rock is not only alarming but also amusing.
So, if a rock can arouse such intense feeling, just imagine what cricket would. Hence, when the ‘Champions’ came in to play their semi-final against the second champions, the entire exodus of Indians were glued to their television sets. Raising the expectation of the masses was the ‘Fish’s’ prediction for the Indian win. Yes, you heard it right, ‘a fish’. Can it be more bizarre than that? After all the tarot card readers, the astrologers, the ‘Bejan Daruwalas’, the neumerologists, it was now the turn of the scaly being. I was beguiled by this piece of queer news to the extent of actually falling off my chair with hysterical laughter.
So the match was played with the entire nation hanging in anticipation to every ball bowled. Anyway, no matter how many prayers were said and how many hands were joined, at the end of the day the best team won. No fish and no prayers could salvage the poor performance of the Indian team.
But in spite of the glaring reality, we Indians have an underlying consistent frame of attitude, popularly known as the ostrich attitude. We think if we stick our heads in the ground, and continue believing what we have been believing then the reality won’t change. Hence, although the team’s performance was not up to the mark yet we blamed the woman. Why? Because since Chanakyan times, men have always believed that if a man does well then it is because of his own demeanor and valor whereas if he fails to perform his duty and goes down just because he was having a bad day, then it must be a woman who is to be blamed. Whether a delayed promotion or a freak accident, an excess of ordered food in the restaurant or a failed marriage, whatever the cause but the obvious reason, ‘the woman’. How unconvincingly feeble this thought is that we blame ‘the woman’ for the poor performance of ‘her man’! She was as much shocked at the performance as any of you are. She is as much Indian as any of you are. Was she playing the game, no; was she backing the opponent, no. Then how is she responsible? I fail to understand the mind-set of a certain section of the Indian society who is so swift in passing judgments and blaming women for all that is bad! I mean she did not even ‘predict’ the victory of the Indian team in the semi-finals. In fact, the fish did, so why not blame the fish, instead!!