The summer of 1996
With the cricket pitch soaring high… I am reminded of the world cup of 1996, when India lost to Srilanka so miserably in the semi-finals at Calcutta. It was the year; I had started to understand cricket and actually blend into the cricket fever that India thrived on!
After the victory at the quarter-final match against Pakistan, the Indian cricket players were no less that demigods for me and my best friend Annie. By then we knew every cricket score and every cricketer’s score, who had taken the highest wickets, Number of 4’s and 6’s tendulakar had smashed and blah! (Quiet remarkable for two girls who didn’t know how cricket was played till then!) . We decided to put all this energy into use. Well! Playing the game was out of question and 12 year old girls had better things to do than burn their skin playing cricket with the boys!! We came up with this most time devouring project of making a cricket book, which kept us on our toes the whole of the summer of 1996.
It began with the piles of ‘sport star’ magazines we had collected over the cricket season and the gambit of cricket shots it contained. We had very religiously used a lab-notebook and stuck carefully picked pictures on the left hand side on the plain paper and written out details on the right hand side. Like we had a page with close up picture of tendulkar and the right hand side we had details like – no of runs, average and all possible nitty gritty details! I wonder what we wanted out of this supposed book of records, which we even bothered to update as months went by. The cricket book had become an obsession that I would want to have my eyes on it all the time. It was like we had fallen in love with the cricket book to distraction. As if this was not balmy enough, we also supplemented the cricket book with Sachin and kumble notebooks, with pictures of the two cricketing divas!? [If the NDTV existed then, they could have featured our efforts in the news titling it “‘Two 12 year girls turn berserk, innovative cricket fans’ … After the break”
The cricket fervor caught on to us so much so that we retorted to a zillion superstitions and prayers to make India win. India’s loss depressed us immensely. I would also coax my mother to pray and read her prayer book while India was out at the field. We had even bought the music cassette sung by Sanjay Manjeraker which had favorite songs of all the Indian cricket palyers!! By the June of 1996, we had reached the peak of insanity and cricket(ers) was the world to us. It became an obscene reality that we heard, watched and talked cricket. It had turned from fad to patriotism to personal! It was time to stop…
I don’t recall what happened following that summer… except that we had school to go to ,we were turning teenagers and we had much more to look forward to in life and our cricket book and fanatic-sm was buried deep under the dusty book rack! … 11 years down the lane, the ‘making of our cricket book’ still brings a smile on my face and the remnants of my friendship with Annie.