Monday, March 26, 2007

Cricket as a Cult

Hmm.. there we go again.. a billion shattered dreams, a millions bucks down the drain, not to miss the wasted time, energy and effort that goes into following Indian cricket. India's instantaneous exit from World Cup Circa2007 has a familiar sense of deja vu. As an angry and dejected fan, I ask myself why do i follow this sport and this team. Even a minimal application of common sense would indicate, that Indian cricket is destined to doom. Managed by one of the world's richest and most corrupt set of people, played by 11 demi gods, followed by a billion passionate fans, fed by an unending stream of dollars and shadowed by the murky world of match fixing, Indian cricket is a blot in the name of professional sports. I don't see any other place in the world where so much love and money is showered on a bunch of 11 inept individuals. But still, an Indian cricket fan (including me) always never misses an opportunity to follow the travails of this team...Is it mere patriotism, love of the game or nostalgia that pushes me into doing this.. I stop to ponder .. why?

It then dawned on me.. that Indian cricket is very much akin to a cult...I have seen many cults in my life and i have fair sense of how they work...You have many intelligent educated and normal people, who after becomin a part of the cult become inured to logic and sense. They follow this 'guru's' and his many pithies to the dot. Cult members are notorious for losing their sense of reasoning and are prone to acting weird.. They keep donating their hard earned millions to this cult for few moments of supposed bliss..Yes I proclaim Indians are member of this massive cult called Cricket!!..Why you may ask!

Take a deep breath and look at it objectively ..As members of this cult , we are bound by our sense of loyalty to keep following the shenanigans of this team as the BCCI gorges on millions of our $$$ that we throw at them. Just like in any others cult, there is a very minimal sense of responsibility that enjoins the cult heads.Just like many of the 'guru's' supposed 'wisdom's' which are nothing more than inanities passed of as 'truths', we can very soon expect some pathetic cosmetic changes (sacking the coach, captain, shuffling the team etc) only to be fooled into believing that they are fundamental changes for a bright future. Like many of the cult heads who perform miracles once in a while (e.g conjuring holy ash from thin air) to keep up the morale of their supporters (a.k.a financiers)..we can soon see Indian team go about winning an one odd game in a far away land to keep up the spirits of its billion followers!..

Being a member of a false cults is a very dangerous failing for a human mind..Since the mind atrophies and is is in a perennial state of dysfunction, its hard for the human mind to come out of its ill effects.. In many ways false cults are very much like narcotics.. They destroy the mind, body and soul and at the same time providing temporary and instant gratification..

In India, cricket has often been described as a 'religion'. I disagree with that analogy, simply because, in the Indian context religion allows a fair amount of course correction, responsibility and there is a basic dharma that holds it all.. In cricket, the fundamental aspect of Karma has been thrown out of the window and is illogical by every account. No professional sport, works the way Indian cricket does. I do not buy the argument that an Indian loves his cricket any more than a Brazilian loves his football or an American his NFL..Yet Indian cricket lacks any of the features that is a hallmark of a multi million dollar professional sport..

As i deliberate on Indian cricket and its failings, I am trying to get my mind out of this game for good and to get out of its deleterious effects. I know this is easier said than done, since I have spent a larger portion of my life following this game with a passion that I now regret deeply. Its hard to discard the thread that defines in many ways who I am as a man, but Indian cricket as it is being played now and will be in the foreseeable future does not deserve my time or money. Its time to jump off the cult...