No, I’m not Panda from the Biju Janta Dal… and this article isn’t about the SC ruling allowing CBI to go after top bureaucrats without waiting for a nod from the Government. So, obviously, there will be no politics and thus no tummy-aches because of uninterrupted bouts of laughter. I’m going to talk about cricket… and the IPL… and the devious ways I always manage to watch my favourite game.
Specky told me she didn’t quite understand the title. Then I told her that this post would be on cricket. So she asked, ‘Are cricketers like caged parrots? If they are, even I want to go and see one of these IPL matches.’
I hurried to tell her that cricketers were no caged parrots though they do tend to repeat set phrases at the end of each match.
‘Really,’ she said, ‘I want to hear them. This sounds so like a Kapil Sharma show.’ Then she turned to the sports page of the newspaper she was reading, and after a while, asked, ‘Hey, there is one IPL match today. And it’s starting in about fifteen minutes. Switch on the telly, will you?’
I muttered, ‘Cage opened and the parrot does fly,’ as I went to switch on the TV. My subterfuge had worked! My shrewd writer’s mind had managed to finally make her sit with me and watch an IPL match. A WOW! Moment for the strategist within me.
But thirty years back, there was no Panda to fall back upon. I didn’t have his ‘cage opened… will the parrot fly?’ phrase to create a pathway to making my mother allow us kids and our father to enjoy cricket peacefully without interjections like: ‘Enough time wasted… now go to your Study and do your homework, kids!’ or ‘The TV has been ON since morning. Let it rest a bit!’ Let the TV rest a bit? Even then her bit about letting the TV rest had made us smile… and as I write about those days, I am actually smiling.
Now if you are going to conclude that after all those stern warnings from our mother we quietly walked out of the room and away from cricket, you’re wrong. Cricket isn’t just an annual fascination, it is a daily necessity… but listen, I’m saying it is anything like what we have for lunch or dinner. Come on, cricket isn’t ‘moong-ki-dal’ or ‘lauki-ki-sabzi’. Cricket is more likely a spicy samosa that you keep eating even when you know you’re full and cannot eat more! Cricket is that spicy samosa that you know is going to play kabaddi with your gastric juices and end up in involuntary burps, but you still crave for it daily. And believe me, thirty years back there was no IPL and there were no smartphones with smart apps… but only one powerful craving and a lot of devious minds!
So our devious minds decided that the only way we could watch these matches was to get mother sucked into the cricketing vortex. For some strange reason unknown to us, our mother was drawn magically towards stitching cushion covers and then garnishing them with fanciful embroidery. Her limitation was that she didn’t have design books… and obviously there was no internet to help her out! So she looked towards us to draw out something intricate (and I was indeed a good hand at drawing and sketching)… so a few days before an important series was to begin we began to lay our trap.
‘So mummy, isn’t it time now to make another set of cushion covers?’
Mummy surveyed the covers, and replied, ‘I think you’re right. Draw some good designs on paper and I’ll tell you which ones are final.’
‘I think we must do something really new this time,’ I said, ‘how about a series that connects our drawing room to cricket?’
Father happily nodded and so our mother reluctantly agreed. ‘But remember, I will select the final ones. And I will reject if I don’t like them’ she said. Even as she said this, I knew she had walked into our trap.
I said, ‘OK, we’ll let you do the first stage choosing.’ Then I went on to tell her that she would sit and watch the series with us, understand the game… and then make an intelligent selection of ideas. To our surprise, she agreed.
Thus our successful technique of making the enemy cross over and walk into our idea custody had begun thirty years back. This is what I had tried with Specky a few days back. And this is exactly what I did in office last week.
I am heading corporate communications and I report to the CMD directly… which means I don’t really have to tolerate any other kind of bossism in office, However, this also means that I spend almost half the day with the CMD. That day, just before a crucial IPL matche was to begin, we sat in the office and talked about the campaigns that would be best for the organisation.
I said, ‘AV media is getting more and more expensive. Print media is getting too restrictive. But the saviour today is the online media.’
Boss (let’s just call him ‘boss’… sounds impressive) said nothing and this meant he wasn’t convinced. He finally said, ‘I’m not so sure.’
‘But you need to be sure before you jump into the whirlpools of online media. And the best way,’ I really don’t remember now what I was originally trying to say, but just then I had this brain-wave and I went on, ‘the best way, as I was saying, is to get addicted to it yourself. Only then will you realise how comprehensive and interactive things get in the virtual world.’
I knew Boss didn’t understand a word of all that I was blabbering about, so I asked him to hand me over his smartphone and I downloaded the starsports dot com app in that android phone. I already had the app in my iPhone. In less than an hour we were sitting right inside his office and watching that crucial Pepsi IPL match and talking all about online banners, the use of flash, and about sponsorship of interactive bits in the app.
Now I am the one who everyone in the office is terribly jealous of… they feel I am nothing but one huge hulk of a conman who was able to lead even the CMD into doing something that no one in the office had ever done before.
But hey, I’m just one simple cricket fan… anything wrong in that?
Now let me come back to the title of this post. Cage opened… will the parrot fly? The answer is both a yes and a no. Yes, because it will, like Specky did… she too flew right into the midst of IPL madness. And now… no, because the open cage will be in the room where the TV is… and the TV is switched on to the starsports dot com channel and even parrots cannot fly so long the cricket ball flies around in the field!
12 May 2014