i'm an alien

I'm an alien I'm a legal alien sang Sting in his hit song of the eighties entitled an Englishman in New York. I had forgotten this song but it sprung from the recesses of my memory as I sat in front of my TV, remote in hand switching channels in the hope of finding one that was not airing a cricket related programme.

From talk shows, to replay of games, to expert comments, to ads and even the resident tarot card reader most non movie channels irrespective of the language were spouting cricket. And this was just the beginning of a long spell: India was hit by cricket fever. Notwithstanding social or economic origin, for the next few weeks there were two Indias: the one that loved the game and the few like me who did not. So for the coming days one had to.

Many years ago TV did not exist and everyone followed the game on transistors sets. During match playing days one often walked into banks or other public offices and waited a long time to get attended particularly when a star cricketer was playing. Then came TV a prize possession! We had one at home and on match day or Hindi movie day many from the neighborhood gathered in our home. It was a motley crowd of all ages with caste or creed no bar. During commercial breaks or the news bulletin tea and snacks did the rounds amidst much fun and laughter. Those were the days when you had no choice but had to see what was proffered and those evenings were more a eclectic social gathering, the movie did not matter. Everyone was there, the neighbours, the servants, the ironing man and his family and as my parents left the large bay windows open many joined in, first reluctantly then as regulars.

All that has changed, television is in almost every home even the poorest ones. And for the days to come almost everyone will be watching cricket. But unlike yore years each one will remain in his home and though a common thread will run through the land as it cheers for India, it will remain invisible and unseen.

And the likes of me, who did partake of the treat earlier as it held so much more than a game, will sing softly I'm an alien, a legal alien..