It is the FIFA final on Sunday. As the world awaits for the final anxiously, Amrita Ghosh remembers a moment from 1993 when she witnessed the finals of a cricket match in India. Cricket is just not a sport, it is a religion in India. Sachin Tendulkar there is your Messi. During the course of the match, her father talked about the Candy Philosophy and how it applies to any great sportsman anywhere in the world. So till the FIFA finals begin, read and enjoy the Candy Philosophy.
It was 27th November, 1993. My first visit to Eden Garden with one hand tightly held by my father and I remember, by the other I was busy protecting myself from the mountains of multitude with awed curiosity. The occasion was India vs. West Indies, The Hero Cup final.
I can still feel that deafening buzz while taking our seats. One old man, sitting right next to us, proclaimed: “I am not going back. It’s a good place to die in!” Sensing my puzzled contempt, he offered me a candy and laughingly continued: ‘So, first time here, kid?‘ By that time, my mother taught me not to accept any eatables from strangers, and I was particularly suspicious of those with half-closed piercing eyes like him. I silently declined the offer and he ended the conversation as abruptly as he had begun it.
My father seemed to instinctively know everything that was happening around even when the crowd’s roar was threatening to bring the sky down. He shouted in my ears: ‘Even if you don’t like chocolates, you should have taken as a mark of respect. An elder person was offering after all‘. Almost in the same vein, he told somebody with a loud exasperation: ‘Dada, the ball will keep low. No grass on the wicket. We are not in for a lot of runs.’ With declining hearing faculties, my mind was becoming too numb to dwell on the diametrically different parental advises when India came to bat. I eventually greeted the team with resounding claps looking at everybody around doing the same, but I couldn’t hear my own. It was just a feeling of two sweaty soft palms bouncing into a temporal space-time warp.
Once again, my father sensed my conundrum more than I had intended: ‘Nobody was asking you to eat. You could have just taken‘.
Me, in positive discomfort, wondered, ‘Wouldn’t it have been a cheating then in some way? My one hand takes something while the other is contriving ways to get rid of it..I have, on the other hand, made my choice and stuck to it. Isn’t that good?‘ Both Prabhakar and Jadeja returned to dressing room by then and the sudden outbreak of silence in the crowd disturbed my stream of thoughts.
Father resumed after a long pause: ‘If this is the way they play, I’m sorry to tell you that you will not be able to see India emerging victorious in your first live match experience.’ Somebody else joined this time: ‘Dada, how can you say that now? Sachin is yet to come! He is going to take the responsibility.’ Another stranger jumped in : ‘Arre, how can people always expect that man to do some miracle? He is a human too. Look, Ajhar is striking it well.’ The first one retorted: ‘But Kambli is taking too much time to settle down. How come they haven’t sent Sachin yet?‘
I was too young to appreciate or even understand the nuances of the game or batting order strategy that time. I remember my concern and restrained sulking of not being able to hold up the banner of 4 and 6 that I’ve prepared on chart-papers, on every appropriate opportunities. Other spectators were unapologetically intruding into our little personal conversations and I was getting increasingly frustrated at not being able to keep the decibels within the exclusive range of our audible limits.
Just as despair was about to take possession of me, on that breezy winter afternoon, I finally managed to keep my shrieks at check: ‘Seriously Baba, why people expect so much every time from Sachin? And then, how he delivers almost always? And if he can, why others lag behind so much? Is it only about a vast difference of talent? Please keep it low!‘ ‘Well, as I understand it,’ he started, ‘apart from the fact that he is a master class, he handles the pressure way better. He takes the responsibility, enjoys it, but as it is a team game, he doesn’t feel the need to consume it or to be consumed by it!‘
‘Very well, your candy philosophy!‘, I sighed and moved my attention back to the on-field proceedings. But it somehow clung to me, those words he had uttered. I only realized its gravitas way after when Sachin himself proclaimed that he was not enjoying the responsibility as a captain. He was either consuming the pressure or being consumed by it.
Today, with my better maturity to understand why Sachin’s straight drive is a sheer poetry, I am glad with the billions that he has never stopped enjoying as a batsman and giving all of us enormous enjoyment in turn.
Take a candy..oops, take a bow, Master!
Amrita Ghosh, it is her first time here at Chatoveracuppa. She is a storyteller who has her way with both the pen and the camera. We will begin with words today and very soon share with you her amazing work behind the camera. Amrita blogs at http://aghoshmyspace.blogspot.in