The Madras Cricket Club, pic from MCC’s website

The Man from Madras Musings has never been good in any form of sport. In this he knows he is markedly different from the Chief. He also diverges in this from his good lady, whom he otherwise obeys no matter what. But put a ball in his hand, or for that matter a racquet or a bat and MMM would be at a loss as to what to do with it. Terms such as mid on, mid off, mid wicket and deep-backward-square-leg are Greek to MMM and he would assume silly mid on was an insult. But be that as it may, he is all for the sporting spirit. To him, the fact that a prime patch of green in the heart of the city has remained vacant for years is a matter of great regret.

Which is why, when that strange mutation of cricket, which rejoices in the name of IPL recently made a comeback to our garden of Eden, MMM rejoiced. His good lady did one better and having made MMM arrange for tickets went off and witnessed the one match that took place, in person. Not so MMM who preferred to watch it amidst the comforts of home but he too enjoyed it. It was a situation where every prospect was pleasing. But alas! Man proved to be vile.

There arose a protest that we were callously enjoying a colonial game when farmers in the mofussil were dying without water. This said some protestors, was not cricket. Not quite the straight bat they said. They became all Cromwellian and demanded that such amusements as cricket ought to be banned here till we got water for the farmers. There were others who believed that just by shifting cricket out of Madras, water would gush forth in the paddy fields, released in remorse by the neighbouring State that is forever building dams and storing the precious liquid.

And so cricket went. It is now held in a far away State, where they probably have never heard of Madras or its mofussil districts. The cricketers are happy, the local sponsors there are delighted. Cricket fans are going by train to the city where the tournaments are now being held. MMM guesses that the protestors too are overjoyed. All of a sudden there is no noise being made about the water or the lack of it. Has it begun to pour forth? To what purpose are such token gestures?

What is ironic is that other forms of celebrations and gaiety were in no way curtailed. There was a competition for cinema songs in a venue not far removed from the cricket stadium where the matches were supposed to be held. You should have seen the crowds that poured in. And among these were several of the film stars who demanded the banning of the cricket matches, or at least wanted us to wear black badges in support of the demand for water. And did they protest at the cinema event venue or wear black badges? Not one. There everything was unbridled revelry. Farmer suicides and water crises be damned. The same lot has also not said the release of their films can be withheld in view of the ongoing river water issue. Talk about double standards!