Last Sunday,while Australia and India slugged it out in an initial World Cup match, in that distant island/continent, I watched the nail-biting final match of the Govindpur Cup.
For company and cheer, we had
- clumps of excited kids who would run over the pitch at the slightest whim, only to be chased out by the fielders and the organising committee.
- a decorous crowd of brightly attired women watching their sons/brothers/ hopeful-boyfriends/ neighbors playing the 12 overs format game.
- Men and boys of all sizes and shapes–old gnarled silent seniors, busy-bee organizers and commentators, village sarpanchs and panchayat members sitting on VIP chairs, teenagers and college students with their gelled hair, smartly draped mufflers and shiny shoes.
- Hungry, timid village dogs searching for some frolic, fun and food.
- Grazing cows and buffaloes who focussed on the meadow grass instead of runs and catches.
Dr Ramesh and me were the chief guests for the occasion. The venue was a winding 18 kms from home, but there is never a dull moment with Dr Ramesh in the passenger seat. We chatted companionably about the best parathas, the snow and winter frost, cars and cricket and reached when the second team was floundering and falling like ninepins.
we settled down with the afternoon sun burning our faces, and hot expresso coffee to burn our tongues. Village girls sang a welcome song. Snacks–dry fruits, Haldiram mixture, chocolate biscuits, fruits–were presented with juice and mineral water. I was touched by the care and concern which had gone into making the arrangements. Oh yes, the spectators were all given laddoos by the local sweet shop, and there was an expresso coffee machine for all. I find that village folk relish and savor coffee in a big way. All the coffee powder gifted to me finds appreciation at the village homes of Hema and my other knitting women!
Then, there was this POWER OVER..One over in those 12 overs was given this label. It brought back fun and excitement to the game, since every run scored was doubled.. a couple of fours and sixes could change the face of the entire match. I had to ask the organizers my query–if runs got doubled, did it mean that if one person was out, it would be counted as two?! no one deigned to reply to that, though!
Village Patura lost to Village Mahatgaon and we then moved onto the main event–The Prize Distribution! Two tables loaded with shields, cups and mementos. 14 Village Pradhans to do the honors of giving away prizes ( best bowler, best 50 runs, best fielder etc etc). Village dignitaries handed out 100 Rupee notes to good batsmen. Organisers and contributors recieved applause and cups and a big shield. The commentator handed the mike to a bystander and sprinted across to take his cup. The crowds went wild and cheered and clapped.
And then, the final show from which we excused ourselves —
Dancing to DJ music blaring from giant speakers ,
Coffee and cheers amidst the men,
Women drifting away to complete the evening chores which dont wait for cricket tournaments,
The setting sun and its liquid golden light slipping away from the slopes.
Time to return home and sit in front of giant TVs and watch cricket matches played under sophisticated lights, choreographed cheering squads and well groomed commentators.