Grow up, India!

Do you remember the Indian scenario during ICC World Cup in the year 2011? I bet what flashes in front of your eyes are the images of Team India lifting the ICC World Cup trophy, Sachin Tendulkar carried by his fellow team members on their shoulders and paraded, numerous Indian National Flags waved whichever way the camera turned, ads published or aired by XYZ in newspapers, television channels and on radio stations congratulating Indian Cricket Team on their win, and many more when you think of that victorious time. All this was after our team won the final match. Do you remember the scenario before our team won? If not, let me remind you. Innumerable offerings were given to spirits and deities in the name of every member of Indian cricket team to provide them sacred blessings to win the ICC World Cup. I secretly believe some people might have even given offerings in the name of other cricket teams so that they would lose and eventually they lost. My mother, who prays for the well-being of our dogs, used to pray for our cricketers as well. Not to forget the betting racket.

Why did we behave like that? Answer’s simple. We wanted our team to win, if not for Indians’ sake, at least for “God of Cricket’s” sake. It was a fantastic offering to him; no denying the fact. We did win, for everyone’s sake. Our already well-off BCCI became filthy rich. A sluice-way of money opened up for players too. Then, why is that we didn’t give any offerings this time around ICC World Cup 2015? Even if there were few, none were publicized. It shows the level of confidence, what we had this time, and still have, in our team that didn’t allow us to give offerings to every other deity we could remember. We waited patiently to celebrate victory. Or maybe we didn’t yearn for it anymore? Whatever it was, we didn’t lag in supporting our national cricket team. Perfectly rhyming slogans on FM radio stations and enthusiastic and engrossing anthems by zealots played day in and day out reminding people to forget all other sports. But other sports are not the only things we forgot. We forgot about the world-class players our team has, seven consecutive matches they won in this World Cup and all the charismatic and magical moments during the journey as soon as our team lost in the semi-final match. A few packs of vagrants tried to vandalize, but I am glad it didn’t sum up to anything as they were not encouraged. Most of all, I am happy that we didn’t burn effigies of members of our national cricket team and none hacked to death due to idiocy of betting large amount of money. In fact, we didn’t burn anything. There was no necessity of damage control. What made me really happy and touched my heart was a short video which was played on Star Sports as I was watching the final match between Australia and New Zealand. That video had #Respect displayed in the end indicating support Indian national cricket team had earned even in loss. That video summarized and reminded me of a gallant campaign which deserves no disrespect. Whoever got this amazing idea to pay tribute to this good team must have had two reasons on his/her mind; one, to tell our team we still appreciate them and two, to prevent verbal attacks on them. True, they were not disrespected; they were not even blamed.

Just when there was a gleam of healthy sportsmanship from every single Indian, actress Anushka Sharma was dragged into this twisted illogical blame game due to people’s umbrage just because she is cricketer Virat Kohli’s girlfriend and he didn’t play as expected in the semi-final match. I was baffled and laconic for a while when people called it a joke though it was a process of making someone a scapegoat and abase her. With nothing to fabricate against our cricketers, some of us stooped to that new lower level. Nevertheless, Indians managed to ignore the news of Indian ace badminton player, Saina Nehwal, gaining the No.1 position in her sport. This ignorance is no lesser than an intellectual calamity. With all these going on, I choose not to be taciturn and say grow up, India, grow up.

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