There are only two things in the world, dear reader, that will make me want to get up at five thirty in the morning.
I’ve gotten up at that unholy, unearthly hour to catch a flight, and because the little one had a bad dream. But in both cases listed here, it was more a case of “had to”, rather than wanted to. But as I was saying, there are two scenarios wherein the undersigned will spring up from the mattress, five minutes before the alarm goes off, clear eyed, bushy tailed and of cheery spirit.
One: Goa. The best among Indian states lies a nice eight hour drive from the best among Indian cities, and if you leave by five thirty or so, you can be sipping on your first of many Kings by early afternoon.
Two: Australia. More specifically, test matches in Australia. And best of all, India playing test matches in Australia. There is something truly wonderful about getting up at a ridiculous hour, putting on a pot of coffee, and snuggling under a blanket on the sofa to watch… Australia pummel India.
I’ve been practising masochism at the crack of dawn since 1991-92, and at this, the seventh time of asking, I still haven’t learnt. Every four years or so (except for the seven year gap between 1991-92), I start believing and hoping and praying in November. This time, I say to myself, things will be different.
Our batsmen, I say to myself, will finally come good this time. And never before, I say to myself, has India had as potent an attack as this time around.
And every time of course*, there we find ourselves, bang in the middle of Disappointment Junction.
And so it has proven to be the case this time around as well. A decent batting line-up – not the best we’ve had, but not a bad one, and easily the best bowling line-up India has ever had, leading one to think, hope and pray that this will be the season – only to find out that it is more of the same. Groundhog Day was just a two hour condensation of the entire lifespan of an Indian cricket fan.
Rohit Sharma has just holed out to deep mid wicket as I type these lines, having hit the previous ball for six, and we’ve lost five of our best for next to nothing. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, as the philosopher said. Must have been an Indian cricket fan who happened to speak French, no doubt.
Come January, we’ll have our coach play a remixed version of that old Indian classic “the boys played well but…” and we’ll get back to our normal circadian rhythms. Until, that is, forty eight months have passed, and we’ll start thinking about how this time around, we finally have just the perfect batting line-up, and the bowling attack? Why, this time around…
I can’t wait. I just can’t wait.
*Our generation got to see 2003-04, you young whippersnappers. Nyah-na-na-nyah-nyah!
He doesn't expect the paradox to be resolved in his lifetime