What The Beep… Beep

Friday, April 23, 2010

An SMS bang in the middle of the night. My friend “Tonia Sehan” knows I am on Vodafone and follows me as the pug would – always ‘Happy To Yelp’!

‘Beep… Beep’. Congratulations – Jai Ho – Mumbai Indians won!

Was Tonia confirming to me her geo-psychic affiliation to the Mumbai Indians? Or was she testing my terrestrial allegiance to the IPL Teams, especially since I have wandered and drew dispassionate breath in many cities that I have lived over the last few years? Or was she exploring which Team I thought, should finally adopt the Dr. DY Patil Stadium? Particularly since the Deccan Chargers have been toppled out of Telangana and had a brief dalliance with DY Patil, before they settled on the Orange County (Nagpur).

While I was still lost in deep thought who is religiously devoted to whom in this entire IPL conundrum, my friend Amit Muley shared with me a more precarious predicament as it showed up in his tarot cards mumbo jumbo. This, provided, we lived through the next 5 years despite all the hype and hoopla around the beleaguered League.

Fast Forward – IPL 2015. As Napoleon Nayudu prepared to face another ball, several thoughts raced through his mind. After being bought by the Gummidipandu Gumboils from Guntur, for an astronomical $5 million in the 2015 Indian Premier League (IPL) auction, he knew he had a reputation to keep.

Nayudu’s mind raced like the Tata Photon data card. Should he try a Fanta Front Foot Drive, or should he aim for a Coca Cola Cover Drive? Or perhaps, a straightforward Sprite Square Cut would be a better idea. He realised he needed to hit an IBM Boundary soon. Ever since IBM had announced they would pay Rs 1 lakh per boundary and Rs 5 lakh for a six, he had been trying to run less and hit more. Unfortunately, he hadn’t been doing either in this match, because the Begusarai Bandits from Bhagalpur, had some very good bowlers.

The next ball, he played a Pepsi Inside Edge onto his Maggi middle stump and trudged wearily off the field to the accompaniment of boos from the Vodafone Zoo-zoo stand at the Kellogg’s Special KCReal stadium in Guntur.

Relaxing in the Parle Glucose commentary box Saurav Ganguly ruminated on the momentous changes in the game that had occurred since the IPL came into being. In 2010, he remembered, the game started to really grow, with huge sums of money being paid for the Pune and Kochi teams. Teams soon started springing up like frogs in the monsoon. And when the Gorakhpur Gorillas won the IPL in 2012, every district town in the country wanted its own side. The IPL season was extended to six months in the year, then to 12 months and soon, once the villages started having their own sides, you had matches on all 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. Industrialists sold off their old companies and bought IPL teams. Advertisers fought with each other to sponsor matches, stadia, sixes, fours, shots, balls, no balls, wickets, wides and what not. Each of the field placing positions was sponsored too, including the Castrol Cover and Sleep-in Silly Point. Every patch of the player’s clothing, his arm guard, helmet, and pads was smeared in advertisements.

Tendulkar Itch Guard Crotch Guards started a new trend in merchandising, selling like hot cakes.

After waging a war over a year with the Income Tax officials and a host of anti-IPL lobbies in 2010, Finance Minister Lalit Modi had called for a plebiscite and had Indians from all over India and abroad vote in favour of the continuance of the IPL in its original avatar with all the betting, bungling and the beguiling deals.

In the parliament today, Modi mooted a radical proposal for nationalising the Board of Control for Cricket in India, pointing out that its profits would wipe out the government’s fiscal deficit. Food production had suffered, he said, as villagers refused to till their fields and spent their time playing cricket instead. A law prohibiting the transformation of arable land into cricket pitches was swiftly passed. A resolution to install a statue of Lalit Modi in Parliament was also adopted unanimously.

As the money flowed in, players’ salaries zoomed. Everybody wanted to be a cricketer. Engineering and medical colleges were deserted and Indian Institutes of Management converted themselves into Institutes of Cricketing Management. Keiron Pollard, who retired from T20 cricket 2 years ago after having made some obscenely undisclosed wealth at the ripe old age of 25, is the newly appointed Dean of the Dr. Sachin Tendulkar University.

Immediately upon his appointment, he prescribed the legendary C.K. Prahalad’s ‘Pot of Gold at the Bottom of the Leg Stump’ as the official text book at the University. The Shane Warne College for Cricketing Excellence in Australia promptly followed up with a similar move for the 20 thousand odd students enrolled in its campus – 80% of whom continued to be immigrant Indian students. This was particularly facilitated by the Australian Government’s resolve to clamp down heavily on racial violence to protect its commercial interest in the IPL, profits from which, were funding ‘Protect The Kangaroo’ mission.

With IPL 6 being a huge hit in North America two years ago, Harvard Cricket School institutionalised the now prominent Sir Saurabh Tiwary chair for T20 research and development. Wharton and Kellog followed suit despite protests from the American Football, Baseball and Basketball lobbies.

Back in the commentary box, Ganguly did a rapid mental calculation and told his listeners that Napoleon Nayudu was now being paid the equivalent of Rs 10 lakh per run. He regretted that during the IPL season in 2010, he had been paid only about Rs 1.8 lakh per run. He needed to make more money, he thought. Maybe he would join Navjot Sidhu in The Great Indian Laughter Challenge and be paid lakhs and lakhs for laughing. For the rest of the match, he practised laughing hysterically at each ball.

While neither Amit nor I know the origins of this crystal ball gaze and would like to acknowledge the unknown author, we are sure of one thing though. Tonia would be terribly confused whom to send the congratulatory messages in IPL 2015 and for what wins. Which village would I be in and who would I support?

I will let you know in the Fursat Friday 260 episodes from now.

While I do that…

Have a Great Weekend…

Ravi Kodukula

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