The day the IPL fixing reports came out, I had my heart broken. There was something wrong with the world at that moment and my faith in humanity was waning. I tuned in to watch the news. As usual, Arnab was reaching his crescendo and the noise was unbearable. Rajdeep Sardesai was running a debate and as much as it hurt me, I keenly listened to the details. The cricket world was entering its darkest hour.
I thought I was fortunate to see some of India's greatest cricket moments. Sachin lifting the World Cup - on that day, I knew the whole country celebrated with me. Dravid and Laxman outplayed the Aussies on one of the finest Indian cricketing days; I know the whole world applauded along with me. All this only reinforces my belief that we don't deserve the likes of Sachin, Dravid, Laxman and many others. Well, that discussion is for another day!
Harsha Bhogle's excellent insight the other day got me thinking. He said "IPL is just a microcosm of the world outside". So true, isn't it? After all, IPL is nothing but a mirror image of the world. Money, girls and a farce. And people keep cheering, year after year. Therefore, some people might question why concentrate on the IPL fiasco when there are 'important' things (read government,economy etc.) to worry about. IPL is after all a tamasha isn't it?
But then why is it so personal for us?
Think about all the factors which can unite a nation. Government? Ok, no jokes. Religion? In India, that is the last thing it would do. It is sport which does that. Cricket does that for India. When Sachin drives one through the covers, every Indian celebrates. When Dravid slowly but surely kills a bowling attack, every Indian thanks the higher spirit. Every Hindu, Muslim and Christian does it. Then there is Laxma,n who toyed around with the world's best bowling attack for a whole day. Caste, creed, age did not matter during the celebration. If you look at this, an entire nation is captivated by sport. In India especially, cricket is a religion and this scandal has hit our gods.
It is a known fact that a sport can lift the spirit of an entire nation. Like in the movie Cinderella Man, where James J. Braddock lifts an entire nation mired in economic depression, cricket is more than just a television event for most of us Indians. When Sachin walks up to bat, he is not just living his dream. He is walking up to bat for a billion souls. When Ganguly dances down the pitch, it is not just Ganguly who lofts the bowler for a six. Somewhere in Bengal, a thousand hearts dance at the same time.
Amidst all the rot in our society, cricket was one thing which was sacred, where the fairy tale could still be lived. India winning the World Cup was indeed a fairy tale. Your life might be bad, you salary might be a joke and you might also be a joke to your wife. But the sport always gives you hope. It gives you the belief that dreams can be achieved no matter what. This belief is what has been hit. A sword dipped in the poison called greed has been plunged deep into the heart of this nation, and I don't know how we will recover. This might be a few crores which have exchanged hands, but for me this is worse than all the other scams. You have taken away something sacred from us. This is nothing but sacrilegious.
Some may say, the writing was on the wall. I guess hearts are always broken in love stories.
By Abhiram Gopi
Image courtesy of IBNLive. The views expressed are those of the author, not of CNN-IBN or any of its affiliates.
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