Tuesday, January 17, 2006

To see or not to see live

Rahul Bhatia (cricinfo) has a point about the television rights row here. The 3rd paragraph was especially hard-hitting and warns about the consequences of whetting the wrong appetites. It is dreadful short-sightedness on part of the state to even insist on such a thing. No compromises possible there indeed.
Reading through the column though, I had mixed feelings. Mainly from a realisation that in some ways this particular topic is far touchier than the regular commercial issue of rights invasion of some private business houses by a new state policy.
Some of us have no inclinations to win elections or secret desires to be the most popular guy around. (I am at my lowest ebb on that 2nd count at the present time.) But deep down we still would love to see our next generation kids, many hailing from families unable to afford pay channels, to absorb the anticipation in the air, the sudden bustle in the sporting discussions amongst the family elders and to witness live the thrills of their nation taking on its great rivals in the most popular sport of the land.
I find myself agreeing in letter to the SC ruling of allowing TEN sports to dictate the terms of agreement with DD. The judgement was fair, period. But the eventuality that a significant section of young boys and girls in India will now miss out on a chance to fall in love with a wonderful sport somehow weighs heavy on the eve of a potentially cracking and well-contested series.
After all millions of our kids will not be clapping to a Sehwag six, a Sachin four, a sharp Dravid catch or a successful Pathan appeal. Some of us might be bristling with excitement while rushing to a friend's house during the tea break to share the enjoyment of sure-to-be-thrilling last session of the 3rd and deciding Test while those children would play afternoon games of their own, oblivious of the drama getting enacted with their heroes playing principal parts.
All's therefore not fair even with an obvious statement of fairness. But then, so it is with life and cricket. Cannot complain at all. And after reigning in the emotions, even the imaginary picture described above looks much less depressing to people like me than the one Rahul paints in the last line of his 3rd para.
Another plus: Playing any game, as I imagined the kids to be doing there, is always better for young people than watching television. It makes them happy too - not for nothing do I continue to be amazed at the ease with which I could always get myself to switch off the live telecast of even the closest ODI final the moment I was called to the neighbourhood ground. [but it had to be one sport, compulsorily. It still works!]
Enjoy the cricket, then. Thanks for listening.

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