T20 = Tamasha20 ?
Is it only me or was anyone else put off by the ridiculously elaborate reception accorded to the Indian cricket team in Mumbai and the excessive politicising of the event?
Now I am as happy as the next Indian about the team winning. In fact, the day of the final saw me pacing about restlessly and jumping up and down with tension and glee. I also believe that the team deserved to get a wonderful welcome on their return home. But what passed off as the 'victory march' and 'felicitation ceremony' on Wednesday turned into a total farce. Yes, fans would have wanted to connect with the players, to cheer them on, to wave at them; but making the poor jetlagged souls travel in that ridiculous open-topped bus in pouring rain for close to six hours was a bit much.
When will the Indian junta learn to become mature and respect some boundaries and rules set up to make life a little bit easier for others: in this case the players as well as the harassed commuters who may have other urgent tasks to attend to? As if the crowds breaking barricades along the route to Wankhede was not bad enough, in the end the way the people ran out onto the field was toe-curlingly cringeworthy and made me want to hang my head in shame.
Also, most off-putting was the excessive politicising of the event. At the airport, wherever one saw, it was NCP workers who were milling about with their flags, on the dais it was the minsters and BCCI babus who grabbed the centrestage seats, blocking out the players whom the people had turned up to watch. Then, the state governments jostling with each other to announce cash rewards also reeked of political opportunism, rather than recognition of merit. I am totally on the side of the Indian hockey team on this one.
Most of the media coverage was absolutely puerile. The channels seemed to be unnecessarily glorifying unruly behaviour by the masses. The inch-by-inch progress reports of the journey, repeatedly playing the Chak De India song, behaving as though there was no other news coming in from any other part of the country, were juevenile and irritating.
When will we learn to treat cricket as what it was originally intended to be, just another game?