Sunday, May 26, 2013

I Feel Sorry For My Husband!


This is an old cutting of the players of the 1971 India-England match - I had this cutting in my scrap book! I had written the names of the players too! One more link of the players of the same match is here.

Well...the cricket memories for me goes back to my school days.  I have written about them in a post here.  In those days, we used to 'hear' comments in the radio.  I was familiar with some players' names.  I saw the players being worshipped as heroes, in the years to come. I was watching some matches on and off, after marriage,  in  TV...watched two matches in the cricket grounds in Bengaluru and Chennai, but was not crazy about cricket, like my husband!

My husband was playing for his school in his childhood days.  He used to go to the 5 day test matches with his friends...some 20-30 friends.  He studied in Hindu High School and lived in Triplicane.  The Triplicane crowd was the true connoisseurs of Cricket in those days, he says.  This must be around late '50s or early 60's.  The children were playing cricket in each and every street whenever they got a break from school.  He still has got a hit mark on his forehead when he fell on a rod on the road while trying to catch a ball! 

Well...back to cricket of those days! There were only 5 days test matches in those days.  No 'one day internationals'.  The season ticket was Rs.8 to Rs.10.  They were allowed to take anything with them, inside the stadium.  The matches were not played in the current Chidambaram stadium.  It came late.  The matches were played at Corporation grounds, which was called Nehru stadium later.  No chairs.  They were going in by the cheapest tickets.  They were buying a few tickets, go in and throw the tickets to their friends outside the compound and they were coming in! No punching system! They used to bring their own food from their homes.  They used to stay outside the stadium overnight to get in first via the cheap tickets. Ten of them will stay and the rest will go home and bring food the next day for all.  They used to take turns for doing this!  Boys who stayed there, never slept at night, but play cards, sing songs etc. (no bath for days together, I said).  The night crowd also was huge, he says. All of them used to shout so much that their voice became hoarse and spoke in whispers after the match. The test matches in Madras were held mostly during Pongal holidays...mid January.  If the children didn't go home the mothers and sisters used to bring the pongal dishes in huge vessels (thookku) and distribute to their children and others.  They just walked in with the food inside the stadium.  Nobody bothered to check for the tickets in the middle of the match! Golden days, I would say! The whole atmosphere was like a festival atmosphere, he says with so much happiness in his voice, even now.   

If the wicket didn't fall for sometime, they were placing a camphor in a chappal and do haarti (pooja) and it used to work most of the time it seems! (Even now, he is a cricket his mid-sixties! He claps, shouts and stands up in excitement while watching the match in TV).  

I had written about the atmosphere we had at home, in Hosur, when we won the cricket world cup in 1983.  We had so many people at home enjoying the match in TV.  TV also was still new in those days, very few houses in the colony had TVs.  I was making tea and coffee all the time and cooked also.  Food came from other houses in the colony too.  All of them were shouting so much that we, women were going out for  chatting, standing on the roads!  Whenever a 4 or 6 was hit, or a wicket fell, the shouting was so much that our Andy also got excited and shouted standing on two legs,  jumping, looking at all of them!  It was pure happiness in the atmosphere! Kapil Dev was treated as a GOD!

I don't feel like writing about the current atmosphere.  Betting is common in cricket everywhere, my husband says.  Spot betting is bad, he says.  It is legal in other countries but not in India. My opinion is, we need not worry much, since the money is not our/tax payers' money.  It is gamblers' money.  We should worry about the Bansals and other political thieves who thrive with our money and escape punishment.

I have read so much and seen so much discussion in TV about this scandal.  Feel sick hearing about it now.

They have made a fool of all the cricket fans, sincere fans, here.  Betting outside is different.  But the players playing to their wishes is sickening.  Hereafter, we will be watching the players' body language than the actual match, to check if they are sending any signals to the bookies.

Today CSK vs Mumbai Indians' match is there at night.  Feel sad for the sincere players, esp. Dhoni.  Spectators might cheer but with some reservation today.  

I am planning to watch the finals of IPL today with my husband and son.  Will make 'easy to make' idly.  Saambaar is already done.  Don't know if we would have a sincere captain like Dhoni playing in the future!

We were watching Suresh Raina's interview in India TV's 'aap ki adaalat' prog. just now.  He looks so innocent and speaks from the heart.  He went to Shirdi Sai Baba's temple once, it seems.  When he came back, he saw in the TV news, a clipping of himself in the temple and the anchor was saying that the man standing behind him was a bookie. He had never seen the man before! His mother told him 'ab se tum ghar se hi baba ko pranaam karo, kahin math jaana'! How long can the players be 'protected' from the filthy money makers? They should be very strong minded unlike Srisanth, whom we thought was very childlike...crying baby, until now.

I just wonder if Dhoni would make a good new BCCI chief or Dravid or Ganguly? They should be tough to curtail the bookies' activities or at least they should see to it that they don't reach the players.  Or am I dreaming?! Will the game ever be the same again? Feel sorry for fans like my husband.

Edited now! I had linked a wrong post in the first paragraph by mistake.  Corrected now!

Edited on 27.5.13, after the IPL finals:  Mumbai Indians won and the BCCI chief (!)Srinivasan gave away the trophy! Feel very sad for Dhoni! It would have looked bad/worse for Sinivasan if CSK had won... Cricket is never going to be the same again! People who wonder about the IPL scandal, read this article.


Usha Pisharody said...

It really is a sense of betrayal for the entire lot of fans of the game.

May something good come out of it, and may the game win, finally.

Usha Pisharody said...

First? Wow. Usually, I'm at the end :D

Sandhya said...

USHA PISHARODY: You are first today and thank you, Usha!

Hope so! But the respect for the game and players will not be there, I think! Players who are sincere too are affected by these dirty players.

sharada.econtent said...

Ha,ha was nice to read mama's olden days stories. Very well narrated. How come I never heard about this before.. staying in the stadium for 5 days....

Destination Infinity said...

All of us are cricket lovers when we were young. We used to wait for days in anticipation of a cricket match (but only on TV, we didn't go to the stadium). I used to wonder what would happen if a cricket match was there just before the day of an exam! Fortunately there were few cricket matches and none of them collided with exams.

I stopped watching cricket after the initial match fixing allegations involving Azhar, Jadeja, etc. broke out. Even while watching on TV, I had my doubts. esp. when India vs South Africa played, in those days.

Over the last few years, I have watched a very few cricket matches and I didn't even watch the One-day World Cup/T2O World Cup matches that India won.

I was crazy about cricket earlier, but the betting scandals opened my eyes to the real world.

Destination Infinity

sm said...

well written
fixing in Cricket was always their from olden times just it did not come into light

Sandhya said...

SHARU: He was talking about this yesterday and I did a post on it immediately! Thank you, Sharada!

DESTINATION INFINITY: My son also watches the matches but is not as crazy as husband! Even last night he was energetic while watching the match, after watching Srinivasan's interview in the TV in the evening!

SM: Yes, my husband says that it was there always but manipulating players is difficult to digest!

My husband was bunking office if a good match was there...god, how many days...

KParthasarathi said...

Your post brought backa flood of memories of those by gone days when cricket was truly a gentleman's game and when the players were paid pittance.To pplay for state or country was honour.
Matches used to be held at Chepauk and mostly Ranji trophy with occasinal international games(unofficial tests)I remember the great CP Johnstone,AG Ramsingh,Wren Nailer,CR Rangachari,Vijay Hazare and Rusi Modi.I could not see MJGopalan in action.I used to live for those days at my uncles house in car street,Triplicane.I never had money for ticket but was easy to enter the ground.Many who came out gave the outpass.I have a faint memory of having scaled the wall or gate crashed when police man on horse was not in the vicinity.I had seen Lindsay Hasset,Dennis Compton,Keith Miller the three great Ws, Worrel,Weekes and Walcott.
The joy was in watching mostly free with the game played in right spirit.
Yesterday match CSK played sub optimal,may be wanting to be in low profile.

Sandhya said...

K PARTHASARATHY: I will ask my husband to read your comment.

Yes, it was patriotism all the way while watching the test matches. But they admired the foreign players too! They clapped when those foreigners hit a six or four, it seems. Triplicane and Mylapore crowd was the most serious cricket loving crowd, he says.

Mr. Gopalan was a relative of my neighbour in my old house. The old man was visiting them often.

My camera's battery was thrown in the dust bin when I went to watch a match here last year. I did a post on it. Security! Some people managed to take it in and I took photographs with my mobile phone!

I was feeling sad while watching Dhoni...he looked nervous yesterday.

Test matches were the best, but even for us, patience for watching continuously for 5 days is unthinkable. We have got too many distractions now!

Thanks for the long comment Partha Sir!

Renu said...

I am happy that I nevr liked cricket, but then its no consolation to see so much of corruption there...

SG said...

Cool. Memory revisited. I have lately heard a few recordings of Anand Rao with his nastal voice and Vizzy and V. M. Chakrapani. Those were the days

Rahul Bhatia said...

Yes Sandhaya the times of good old Cricket are over:( Sigh!!

Krishna/കൃഷ്ണ said...

good memories... well written... today cricket is spoiled by match fixing...

thanks for sharing....

BK Chowla, said...

Gentleman's game is no longer so.In fact,today,the players have put all us to shame

Sandhya said...

RENU; I too am not that much interested in cricket. But it is seen in the TV by my husband and son. So I seem to watch it once in a while!

Our country has become the most scandalous country now. Nothing is left alone!

SG: Yes, radio commentators were famous in those days!


KRISHNA: Yes, it is!

BK CHOWLA: Yes, Chowlaji! They have lost their respect!

ra said...

i believe we people may not be good in good things but we are best in 1 thing .. and that is corruption .. .. n that's the harsh reality ..

corruption should be added in our every national thing .. because before we start to do anything, our first approach is to see how i can be benefited out of hook or by crook!

Sandhya said...

RAHUL AGGARWAL: I have to agree with you, Rahul, but sadly. Wherever we go, we face people like these...hostile, money minded...everyone wants to make money, that too without exerting much. This is happening from down to top layered people. We are also slowly developing the nature of not believing anybody...we look suspiciously at everybody, which is not a healthy attitude.

Rama Ananth said...

Sandhya, I really enjoyed your description of the good old days. The fun, the excitement is not there anymore, with players making so much money through advertisements, through the games and still they are a greedy lot nothing is enough for them. It is all our fault, as we tend to treat them as Gods.We have neglected other national sports, and have not fought that other players of other important games be given equal footage and support.
Now also nothing will change, for as long as there are people who are willing to pay money for watching such pre planned games this so called game and its players will survive very nicely.
I don;t see any light at the end of the tunnel, neither in the government nor in the corrupt players.
Every corrupt person is out on bail, enjoying life, so too these players would come out.
Only God can save this country or will he?

Sandhya said...

RAMA: Yes, no other game fetches this much money and fame in our country, still they are greedy for more. I never liked the IPL games from the beginning...I didn't like players being auctioned etc. Looks so dirty.

I didn't like people lobbying for Bharat Ratna for Sachin also. What did he contribute to the country? He played for money...these national awards should be given to people who have done something for our country in some way.

The next match will start soon and everybody including my family, will forget and cheer these money mongers. And we write about it here!

Sai Charan said...

Very good post Sandhyaji! :) I love your blog cause you share your experiences from life to go along with current news topics, which makes an interesting read.

Well, it was pleasure to hear about those golden days of cricket where it was pure and everyone enjoyed the essence of the game admiring the talent of players and their class performance and not appreciating them for the glamour surrounding them or their celebrity status.

I've heard similar stories from my father, he too is an ardent fan of cricket - how he used to play, watch and enjoy the game on tv and in stadium during his school and college days and how he used to wait to get a chance to get autograph or shake hands with legendary players.

As kids, me and my sister used to stick to the tv along with dad to watch matches on doordarshan on the black&white tv we had in those days, soon we had a colour tv and it was difficult when matches were played during exams, I used to go study in my room but my heart used to be focussed on the match, every now and then I used to walk out into the hall, enquire the score and then go back and after noticing that I am not concentrating on my studies - my dad used to either switch off the tv and hear it on the radio instead or if my exam is an easy one, he used to allow me to watch with him if I promise to study late into the night and finish revising properly.

I call them the golden days cause that age was untouched by matchfixing. And like you said, cricket has never been the same since match fixing came into light. And for some years when everything seemed to be going right, the new ipl spot fixing comes up bringing more shame.

Just one generation saw such a big change - when my parents were kids, the world was a much better place but though technology, internet and science developed so rapidly - along with its benefits, it brought along bad too.

I guess technological advancements such as smart phones made it easier for so called bookies to reach out and try to influence players! But it is entirely upto the player if he is falling for such cheap tricks. Playing for his team at national or international level is not just his career but also he holds responsiblity more than a commaon man cause he is represnting his state or country and it brings shame to everyone.

We Indians, the proud citizens of the world's largest democracy are denied our right to have a better life, a better government, a cleaner system, corruption-free society - but its a shame that we are helpless and thanks to the evolution of media which is bringing into light the many social evils and thanks to actors like Aamir Khan who feel responsible and doing their bit through helpful programmes.

We can only hope that the next generation will get to see a better India and coming back to this topic, hope our country produces many more sober cricketers who are true gentlemen and protect the values of the game and gain admiration from one and all!!

Cheers, Sai :)

Sandhya said...

SAICHARAN: Thank you, Sai! I always love to read your comments!

In those days, they were behaving like ordinary people. I remember seeing Clive Lloyd's quarter page ad. often for some product in the newspapers. I remember watching Ian Botham's play in Cinema news reels. He used to interact with the crowd standing near the, not fences but near the audience/stands...I have seen him taking bottles of water from the audience! Our audience used to shout whenever he came near them! AFter the match, the public used to run inside the pitch and hug the players! Imagine them doing it now...everything is scary now! They were just cricket players about whom we heard in the radio commentaries!

It was nice to hear the atmosphere in your close knit family. Those were the days when family enjoyed everything together.

Yes, the story of match fixing started with Manoj Prabhakar. Many people got disgusted in those days itself. Now, this scandal has ruined cricket's reputation. The IPL matches have closed the coffin of cricket matches now, maybe forever. Sincere match followers will never be there. Patriotism is a strange word now.

Like we need a strong leader to lead our country, we need a strong Board of sincere people, to take care of good cricket.

It was good to read your views, Sai!

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Sandhya said...

INDIANTOPBLOGS; Thanks a lot for including my name in the list. I will take note of your points and follow it shortly. Thank you!

Misterio Vida said...

well...first i appreciate you on a very vivid writing about the cricket watching of the old days... wonderful...

the other thing about this scandal is that for quite some years now, the whole worlds knows what is happening to cricket and who is involved, but since BCCI has big money and which is unfortunately run by non-cricketers, they did not do anything about the warnings, few years ago, Azharudding et al saga came, but no solid planning, then there were the trio from pakistan involved in spot fixing but no solid planning either from ICC or other boards, :( now the big money, big corporations, big politicians and big mafia all combined into this mix..i dont think anything is going to change any time sooner...and the loss is not of India, but the loss if of cricket...and to all the viewers and fans no matter which country they resides in or belongs to...

Sandhya said...

MISTERIO VIDA: Welcome to my space, Mr.Misterio Vida! Thank you for the wishes!

You said it right, these incidents has made the cricket fans...from small children to senior people, fools. Too much money is involved and greedy people want to take a share. It is going to be like this. People should remember this while watching the matches in future. The fans should appreciate the players who played well, that is all...IPL has deteriorated the game...patriotism doesn't count here with players from all countries on both teams! We can appreciate the good players, that is all!

Thanks for the comment!

Deeps said...

It is indeed a very sorry state of affairs for cricket today. I hope things get sorted soon and the sport gets back its lost glory.

Shail said...

I was imagining Andy standing on two legs and barking whenever a 4/6 was hit or a wicket was taken. 😂

Sandhya said...

DEEPS: The lustre is gone. Some sparks, well after Dhoni, are coming out like Kohli and Raina. But....Sorry, for acknowledging so late, Deepti!

SHAIL; Yes, He was turning around looking at all the people jumping on two legs! Thank you, Shail!

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