I couldn't help but sympathise with my grandfather yesterday night when he tried watching all of 6 news bulletins yesterday in the hope that he would get some updates around elections in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal, but all he got instead was a Shankar Mahadevan bellowing out "De Ghumake", Nikhil Chopra, Arun Lal, and Murali Karthik talking about batting, bowling, and preparing for a big game in that order, and Poonam Pandey extolling her patriotic virtues by promising to strip for a national cause.
In the background, his grandson, rather discreetly was leaving no stone unturned either in preparing himself for the big game. We all know how die-hard cricket fans in India consider it no less a responsibility to win games for India by indulging in a series of superstitions. With me, I always try to replicate all my practices whenever India win a game in all future matches till we lose one. It could involve one or a combination of wearing the same T-Shirt the day of the match, the day before, or two days before the game, or in going to bed at a particular time and facing a particular direction, or even in the kind of food that I have. Not to mention talking to and messaging only a certain set of people and ignoring everybody else. So, this time around it has been wearing the Team India Sahara jersey the day before the India game (I had to spend a good three hours in the bathroom to ensure that the aforementioned T-Shirt dried out before I could wear it yesterday. No wonder teams have been cursing the ICC's scheduling); going to sleep dot at midnight facing the west (I had to turn the bed a good 90 degrees much to the consternation of my parents); drinking coffee without sugar in the morning and having ice-cream after lunch which had to contain just fried rice, sambhar, and pappadam. I hope Nikhil John Kurien and Tony Sebastian don't ditch me today during the course of the match for we have sacrificed an enormous lot (exams included) in getting India here. And yes, if my sister is reading, I haven't talked to you over the last week in the fear that it might jinx the Indian run.
And a final serious word on the game proper. I just hope that Dhoni sets his personal vendetta aside and gives the enigmatic Sreesanth a game. India wouldn't stand a chance playing two offies against the Lankans who will keep milking them all day. Somehow, I believe the key to this game aren't the Sachins, Sehwags and Yuvrajs of this world (Lanka have an exceptional track record when it comes to nipping out the opposition's star players in a big game), but rather the more motley Dhonis, Gambhirs and Kohlis. Playing a totally unfit Murali has to backfire on them and the lack of big-match experience in certain departments might choke them like it did to Pakistan.
Personally, I want India to win for my testosterone-starved self of late is keen to find out what transpires around the promised striptease. The Sainiks might ensure that all this running in buff turns out to be a bluff but I am sure it will provide for some serious newsreel once the World Cup euphoria dies down. And yeah, it is noon which tells me that it is time to take a bath with Mysore Sandal Soap and Himalayas shampoo, and sport my Royal Challengers Bangalore T-Shirt. Nuts, I say!