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Kirkit ke gyarah fayde!

by Bored Guest

by Sunny Narang

Me and my wife have been visiting and working in a village called Kaladera, in Rajasthan, since the last 15 years, with traditional hand block textile printers, a caste known as “Chippa”. The family we were working with had three sons whom two were school going age when we started visiting in 1994. There was no regular electricity , and in the neighbourhood they had a tiny black and white TV which all the neighbouring kids came over to watch in the evening. The closest phone was in a small town ten km away. There was not much craze about cricket or anything urban, the kids watched films but could not differentiate between stars. Then somehow regular electricity happened with better infrastructure. People started buying fridges, motorcycles and colour TVs. Programs were beamed through the day. STD,ISD booths came up. Live cricket matches were seen and pirated VCD’s of the latest Bollywood releases were seen the very next day. Kirkit happened in a big way. Local school matches, matches between teams made of different neighbourhoods, even gully cricket. All ages of boys, even some village girls, a young 20 something girl who was our assistant used to be called by all the neighbouring boys to play cricket too, as she was a huge fan and loved encouraging cricket across caste and creed.

We thought we would use cricket and do some “progressive” movement by sponsoring a cricket trophy and prize money, but with one rule. No team would be allowed more than six members of one caste, as we wanted kids of all castes to play together in a team. We were told its not possible in a village. Its funny, we are in the 21st century, rural India leaves its villages and works together, eats together, plays together in its big cities but in its villages and small towns it clings desperately to its caste equations. We have counted more than 20 castes, both Hindus and Muslims, among a population of ten thousand, strict vegetarians in the village will eat meat as if there is no tomorrow the moment they get to the big city. The women never watched the movies as they were rarely taken to the city or a cinema hall, but the TV came into the homes. So came in Saas Bahu serials and Kirkit! We in cities do not realise the seismic shift that has happened in the last ten years in rural India with TV and the mobile phone. Young are growing up with urban aspirations in a largely rural country.

The thing about films is that they exist within the desi framework. Song, story, predictability. Cricket is international , its a global language which is accessible to everyone, its not lost in translation , its about fingers , about the wrist , about raw talent, about hard work. It goes beyond caste, religion, region, nationality, language, and its “pure male” like the Greek Gods, so it gives a space to the most feudal . Taliban can play kirkit, even a Beckham with his thong.

In India from my maid who comes to clean my flat, who has a son aspiring to be a pace bowler, to my mother who is as upper class Delhi Punjabi as it gets, “ Sabko kirkit ka kraze hai”. Baccha baccha energy drink peeta hai because Dhoni says so- a grandfather complained to me about his 4 year old grandson, “TV is their parent now” he continues.

So I decided to make a list of big and small things Kirkit does for our Bored Cricket Crazy !ndian society.

1. Teaches most Indians better geography ( South Africa, Zimbabwe, etc. )

2. Pronunciation skills are made better ( you will understand when you hear a Haryanvi saying names like Symonds and Shane Warne, imagine if we had Russian cricketers!)

3. National Integration, players from all regions(North-East still left out)

4. Religious tolerance(Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Isai, Parsi sab Bhai Bhai )

5. Gives us bored of film programming couch surfers some choice.

6. Makes math skills better ( batting average, runs per over etc. etc. provided me good childhood training for my IIT entrance exams!)

7. Social mobility ( Irfan Pathan, Dhoni- bhai without college degree how many jobs will make you crores)

8. Meritocracy ( some illusion in our “teri kya pull hai” culture that raw talent and hard work takes you somewhere)

9. Bollywood heroines find husbands ( Sharmila Tagore, Sangeeta Bijlani)

10. Our huge Black money reserves can find an outlet to have some fun on the satta bazaar.It does give employment to so many people like bookies , matchfixers etc

11. Pakistan ke saath dosti


straight point said...

engaging stuff this!

welcome on bored sunny boy! :)

Soulberry said...

Nice post Sunny Narang.

Sport can expand vision. Sport can also be one of the engines of transformation of societies.

It depends upon the follower of course what he wishes to take from sport - You could also keep hate and prejudice with you, you know...

Gaurav Sethi said...

Welcome on bored Sunny!

You've got quite a few film ideas gng there. Can see someone like Dibakar Oye-ing away.

Ankit Poddar said...

nice post!

makes me think, which is quite a futile exercise in itself, but u got me engaged in it!

sraghuna said...

Nice job on spawning the rural kirkit melting pot ... the possibilities of staging coup d'etats on the Kirkit grounds would surely have been a more desirable than the carpet bombing of Tikrit! Btw your list should have mentioned kirkit being the progenitor of 'progressive' movement as point no.1!

Sunny Naradmuni said...

Thanks guys for the effusive warmth on bored.It all emerged out of a conversation with NC at Dilli Haat.People talk of "armchair" intellectuals, most of our des is a adda baazi around kirkit now.Wether its paan walas or chai walas.Slumdog millionaire begins with the shot of slum kids claiming the Mumbai runway as their kirkit pitch and ground.Just for that metaphor its worth seeing!