I am Patrick. Short being Pat. Am an amiable Brit. I like Cricket on the weekends. I watch it. Don't play. Me and the missus get around to seeing a few games in the Midlands during the summer. We take our umbrellas. Brit weather, you know. We carry the sunglasses too. Brit weather, again. We rejoice if it is 11*C and the sun is over us. It used to be good back in the seventies. Snow, Botham and Willis. Gower, Gooch and Holding. Watch a game. Have a pint. Take the 9.32 home.
Then the Asians arrived.
Don't take me wrong. I am not the type to abuse them at the Ginger Pub with the mates over a beer. But it's impossible to watch and savour a Kohli drive if someone close is always dancing and falling over you without even registering the classicism of that drive. It looks like they've had a few even before they arrive in the morning. The Bangladeshis yell in Bengali and the Indians yell back in Hindi or the other many languages that they have. Their bad teeth aimed towards television cameras. They actually live for their cameras. The food drops off their laps when they find that the cameras are looking towards them.
Missus has got no interest in Cricket. She comes along because I go. She does the crossword during the matches. Last I looked at her crossword a few hours ago, she had drawn up quizzical lines emanating from the boxes. When asked, she said that the lines were because of the young men hitting her elbows as they kept jumping up every other minute. I felt sorry for her. How would DARWIN look if all the letters have spikes going all over? And she couldn't even glare at them as they kept muttering "Sorry" too.
The men who bring their Indian drums with those cymbals and one obese man who seems to wear a frightening contact lens and stare at the camera, were right there in front of us. When the cameras weren't looking their way, they ate. Or played the instruments. I could not hear the sweet thud of the bat on the ball all through the match. When the cameras looked their way, they became mini versions of Godzilla. Is being frightening a type of celebration in India? Need to research on that.
Even the Bangladeshis weren't behind. They brought in huge tiger dolls and shoved the dolls under my nose to make me frightened. I was, for them and their sanities.
This game used to be about tweeds, hats, whites and patience not so long ago. Am wistful. On the pitch, even now, I like it when the strokes are classical and the ball seams away well. But in the stands, it is as though "Planet of the Apes with bad teeth" has been released.
Well, one can't complain. They bring the economy to the grounds.
And what's this Jai Mata di? Oh, religion, is it?
Holy cow, they have this overt thing about religion, don't they?