The One With The Saucer

Posted on April 5, 2011



There’s this joke I heard the other day where this Sri Lankan chap at a little ‘teh kadey’ was found drinking his hot beverage from a saucer. When asked why he wouldn’t just use the correct crockery, he replied rather dejectedly: “Can’t machang. The Indians took the cup.”

Okay. So it came out lame on paper. Must be one of those ‘you had to be there’ sort of humour.

So this is my World Cup post. Every sub-continental blogger has already posted theirs, so before the hype dies –which I really doubt it will anytime soon, since the 2nd most populated country just happened to cinch the title this time- I too want my few rupees in.

We had subscribed to the sports channel specially for the Tournament. “But what if we don’t even qualify? It’ll be a waste no?” To which, the man of the house was fervently dismissed by his blinded-by-potential-glory daughter and wife. “Of course we will qualify. Don’t talk rubbish!

So we subscribed.

And we made it to Quarters. We bulldozed our way to the Semis, and even scraped through to our place in the Deciders.

Suddenly my ‘I *heart* my team Sri Lanka’ T-shirt didn’t seem so lame anymore, and I could risk a potential zit break-out by dedicating my face to the team in paint. I’d ask forgiveness later for the abuses I’d hurl at the TV screen, and my tonsils would recover from the decibel level of said abuse.

Let’s just say we came in second.

Our ‘office boy’ claimed the match was fixed. Fingers were pointed at our looker of a skipper, for a multitude of bad-decisions. Facebook statuses (stati?) from SriLankan fans were a relentless stream of frustration. But that was then.

A couple of hours after watching the Cup being paraded about in non-SriLankan hands, and a few more hours of breaking down the match, and eventually the tournament, ball-by-ball, the bitterness packed up and left all our living rooms, sports bars and match-viewing venues.

It started to sink in that we had made it the furthest of all, and that that in itself was something to celebrate. Our ‘bois’ had done their best, and perhaps this just wasn’t our time. So we slept on it, preparing to face the music by the Indian supporters the next day.

Ironically, the saving grace that spared us Sri Lankans living abroad from the guillotine of the post-match rub ins, was the very skipper and team that lost us the match.

Captain’s gracious speech the night before seemed to have pulled harder at the heart sinews of his non-countrymen than of his own. Images of our team shaking hands and patting backs of the opposition seemingly genuinely, were spattered in places where blown-up images of the winning team couldn’t fit. As a result, directly as well as subliminally, making the ‘nyah nyah’ that much harder to do.

We underestimate the good fortune in being represented by a honcho who can eloquently field provocatory questions even better than his teammates did the ball in the second innings. And as importantly, by a batch of 11 that aren’t outwardly bitter.

Sure, a certain T.Dilshan could really benefit from clocking up a few aggression management hours, but other than that, we can take pride in that our ‘blues of royal hue’ projected an image of sportsmanship that is very difficult to resent.

Most of us are already aware (albeit reluctantly) that Cricket, like any other sport with government stroked boards, is as corrupt as Hades. Yes, every one. Money is involved in places we’d rather not think about, and transactions for causes unknown are so slick it’s invisible to the naïve’s eyes. For those who still refuse to believe this, brother please.

Knowing this, more of an onus on any national team’s back, is not just the duty of playing it clean, but more importantly, appearing to play clean.

To deliver the impression that their cork and willow wielded battle is solely for their people, and that anything less is blameworthy on no one but themselves. In doing this, team Pakistan made for those few games of glory, the damaging scandals of those 3 ex-player’s irrelevant. India, in winning the cup brought on par the same people in the box seats, with those watching through a shared neighbourhood TV.

If Sri Lanka had come out on top, the bosses in parliament seats would’ve been able to get away with that foxy little fuel hike, and if the Aussies had won yet again, well. The continent would’ve probably just yawned at the monotony of it all.

So, you know what folks?

I don’t mind so much having to drink from that saucer. As long as the tea, like the game, is just as sweet.

Congratulations to the tri-colour nation for their deserving victory. Even more so, for embedding such delirious euphoria in their countryfolk, and at the same time serving to just have our boys fast in hunger for next time.