Philosophy – Life is a game of cricket

Musings: These are random thoughts that crossed my head after a party. this being written at 0330 hrs, i’m not sure if the quality of writing matches up to my usual level. However, you can take it that all that i’ve written is “straight from the heart”.

Being a true blue middle-class (as of now) Indian guy, I am assumed to be able to carry out intelligent conversation in three areas – politics, movies and most importantly, cricket. In this respect it was damn insightful to find out the similarities between anything you do and this wonderful game.

The normal maxim followed in a test match is – give the first hour to the bowlers and take the other five. In normal circumstances, unless you are a Sehwag or a Jayasuriya or an Afridi, it is impossible to score at a brisk rate from ball one – unless of course if the bowler is pathetic. There is nothing sweeter for a batsman to feel the full face of the bat meeting the ball. He doesn’t feel confident unless and until he has met atleast one ball with the full face of his bat, irrespective of the runs he’s scored.

I haven’t played too much cricket with a leather ball (again like a good Indian, I play tennis ball cricket and watch REAL cricket). However on the few occasions I’ve played, I’ve realized the importance of the ball hitting the face of the bat sweetly. Till that time there’s a certain twang in your hands whenever ball meets bat. But connect once and all the irritation is gone and you can start belting the next ball onwards.

In life too, I believe, it’s extremely important to ‘settle down’ before embarking on any kind of mission. Take the case of starting a conversation with someone, a situation I’ve oft faced in the recent past. After the initial introductions (the toss; assume you win it and elect to bat), comes the time when the other person has to bowl to you. Not knowing your strengths/weaknesses, she’ll simply want to play safe and the first few balls will be wide outside off stump. You generally put a good ‘well left’ on each of them. However, she’s not Glenn McGrath and soon there’ll be a loose ball which you can latch on and meet with the face of the bat.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve hit the ball past the boundary or just put a good ole’ ‘forward defensive stroke’. All that matters is that you’ve managed to connect. It is only a matter of time before you can connect a few more and then there’s no stopping you. By now, she’ll have also realized your strengths and weaknesses and bowl accordingly. Except for the rare occasion when she’ll try to stump you at all the wrong places, it is likely that she’ll play along. That’ll be the beginning of a (maybe long) innings.

For people who didn’t get the metaphor, when you meet someone, you have some teething problems in starting a conversation. You start by fielding some innocuous stuff such as talk about the weather (or better else about politics, movies and cricket) and soon enough there’ll be an opportunity where you’ll suddenly feel that you’ve ‘settled down’ into the conversation. After that there’s no stopping you. Things simply happen and that is the beginning of a long comfortable conversation.

Using this as a base, I think I can classify the people around me as different bowlers in contemporary cricket. Some are Jason Gillespiess. Each time you start with them, you feel Dizzy (pun intended) and need to go through the entire process of “settling down into the conversation”. Then there are others like Henry Olonga whom you can start belting right from part one. Most people, of course lie in the middle.

When people talk of “personality development” and “becoming pseud” it is about increasing the number of Olongas and decreasing the number of Gillespies in your life. It is all about becoming a better batsman so that you can “settle down” extremely quickly irrespective of the bowler who’s bowling. The ‘studdest’ (Forgive the language – i’ve just come back from a trip to good ole’ IITM) person is one for whom every bowler is an Olonga and can start thulping anyone from ball one.

Moral of the story: When someone asks you to improve your personality, they’re only asking about improving on batting skills.

PS: Speaking of parties and cricket, given the way a few people dance I believe it would be prudent to go to the next party like an opening batsman – fully equipped with pads and other accessories – my dynasty almost came to an end thanks to a classmate today.

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