Are the men the new-age desperate housewives?
Bollywood and not cricket runs in my veins. However, as an Indian, it is expected of me to be alert when our men (in blue) are on the grounds, especially when they are playing against Pakistan. At the same time, as a woman, it is (still) assumed that I have no interest in sports and hence detest cricket tournament times. T20 with dhol beats, cheerleaders and pom-poms are for me, I am told often. In short, irrespective of my passion towards the game or my knowledge of it, my behaviour would be labelled inappropriate if I am not upset over my husband watching a cricket match, the replay or the highlights. Especially so when the game on is a test match, for it will run into more than a few hours and a couple of days. We are 'supposed' to fight over the remote control. After all, marriage is made of critical stuff like who (husband or wife) between the couple controls the TV remote control.
The truth is that I am not a television person, which means that I am happily married. In our home, we don’t argue over the remote control. (There is always the toilet seat, right?) Dear husband swaps channels, increases/decreases volume, renews the subscription, etc. As for me, I have YouTube. Having said that, in the last couple of days (or has it been weeks?) I have sat through patiently (almost ignoring) as dear husband devoured India vs. England ongoing Test matches. I have witnessed him (and other male cricket enthusiasts) get upset over a wicket lost, run home to watch Virat (Kohli) hit a double century, plan his forthcoming weekend (Friday, they play Test 5) to accommodate the game into his schedule, et al. And it has left me wondering what is it about test matches that draw them to it?
Our attention spans are shrinking. It’s been said that a goldfish can hold a thought for longer than us, the smart phone-chained humans. Both news and gossip are best received in Tweets or via Snapchat. Then, how do men still stay interested in the long format of a game like this? Is it perhaps because there is drama in Test, episodes like the recent comments by James Anderson adding masala to the show? Does it stem nostalgia — the days when they watched a game with their dads and grandads. For, as my dad says, "Real men watch test cricket, the actual and true form of the game." Is it the charm of the good old white uniform that makes it the gentleman’s game? Or is it because of the periodicity of the format — are Test matches to Indian men what soaps were to women once upon a time? Are the men our new-age desperate housewives craving a show that crafted exclusively for them?
I can only hope, I can find an answer to these questions. For now, I suggest we hand over the remote control to the men and let them indulge. The game is on this weekend. (Thursday included when Australia plays against Pakistan)
This piece was first published in Khaleej Times.