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Of endings and other things

Why the IPL's conclusion was less than ideal

Bollywood actress Katrina Kaif dances at the closing ceremony, Royal Challengers Bangalore v Deccan Chargers, IPL, final, Johannesburg, May 24, 2009
The final straw: Katrina Kaif takes up prime Kumble-Gilchrist face time © Associated Press

So it's time for closing words. I'm not very good with those. Not as good as the loquacious, lisping Lalit Modi is, at any rate. But seriously, how strange was that closing ceremony? With its mishmash of presidential speeches, Bollywood jhatkas, beauty pageantry, drumming, crooning, rope-climbing, and god knows what else. I fell asleep soon after Katrina Kaif's "Jai Ho" number, from sheer exhaustion. How much more to endure before we could finally get to the world's ugliest trophy?

I guess now that it's over and the fat lady has sung and taken off her heels, the overwhelming feeling for me is that of relief. I have my days and nights back again. I can disconnect the television and let the silence back in. But mainly, I can take comfort in the fact that the final match was a worthy end to what has been a gritty six weeks of cricket. It had a little bit of everything (kind of like the closing ceremony that followed, except the real deal worked much better). There was a good bit of histrionics from Roelof van der Merwe, a bizarre dismissal and plenty of sledging courtesy Andrew Symonds, sublime bowling from Anil Kumble, and a surprise breakthrough performance from Harmeet Singh.

Talk about fire in the belly. There was plenty of that yesterday, from all the players, young and old, nicely spliced in with some mugshots of the brooding Vijay Mallya and Ram Reddy. All in all, like any good thriller, there were moments when you wanted to close your eyes for fear of what might happen next. And up until the very end, you never knew what surprise was coming around the corner.

When the penultimate ball was bowled and it became apparent that the trophy belonged to the Deccan Chargers (unless something equivalent to divine intervention made RP Singh mess up), I felt that little pang I get whenever I have to let go of something. It's an odd thing - a snag, a little tug. You've had time to prepare for it. You know it's inevitable. But still, when the moment arrives, and when the pang hits you, you're surprised by the intensity of it. That's what all the best endings are about, I guess.

I think about endings a lot. You do when you're a writer. Beginnings, endings, middles. It's all important stuff. But endings are the crucial thing. They're what you're left with. The aftertaste. You can have a wonderful story, building up climax upon climax, only for it to fall face down into nothing if the ending isn't right. That's why a part of me felt cheated yesterday. I felt that both teams did spectacularly well to get to the final - their individual trajectories from last year's losses to this year's gains were remarkable stories in themselves. But they didn't let it stop there. They played a final that had plenty of heart, skill and nerve - one of the most exciting matches in the tournament. And for what? To be immediately sidelined for a song-and-dance show?

I don't know. Perhaps I've become a grumpy pontificator after all, but I would have liked to hear what Kumble and Adam Gilchrist had to say about their performances while they were still fresh in the mind, and not dulled and dazed by the overload of razzmatazz.

There's a lesson about momentum to be learned from this entire IPL experience. Throughout, people have been asking why someone like a Matthew Hayden or a Gilchrist retired when they were in such great form. Well, because you look across to the other side, and there's a Manish Pandey or a David Warner waiting for their chance. Part of the old making way for the new is about knowing how to keep the love, and knowing when to call it a day. And on that noteā€¦

Tishani Doshi is a writer and dancer based in Chennai

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