The Heavy Ball

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Why watching the IPL is more fun online

Because of the glorious interactive nature of the medium, or something. (Warning, includes speculation about lungis)

Sidin Vadukut

Comments: 40 | Text size: A | A
An Indian villager crosses a road passing new large-scale residential developments in Rajarhat, close to Kolkata
Why did the Mallu cross the road, wearing a lungi, in the gelf? Answers in the comments, please © AFP
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A few days ago the Kolkata Knight Riders had their - and I am going to put this delicately - backward third man, by which I mean arse, handed to them by the Kochi Tuskers. Kochi had scored a scintillating 156 runs in 20 overs. At one point it looked as if Jacques Kallis would effortlessly take Kolkata to victory. But then Kochi upped the ante and, to use a popular Biblical metaphor here, went Old Testament all over their backward third men. Suddenly Kolkata began to shed wickets like dandruff and eventually Kochi won by a respectable 17 runs.

I watched the entire match not on a television set but on my computer via the official IPL video stream. Now you may wonder why I did this when there is a perfectly functioning television at home. Not only that, since I am a journalist who works out of home every day of the week, why shouldn't I just plant myself in front of the TV, crack open a beer and watch the whole match in my underwear? And then afterwards just sell an article to some magazine somewhere that is composed entirely of Wikipedia excerpts.

I don't do this because of two reasons:

1. I have morals and ethics. (Citation needed).
2. But more importantly, on the television I cannot experience the wonderful Malayali-baiting in the Facebook comments section under the video box.

Perhaps you have noticed this yourself. Whenever there is a match on between a strong IPL team and a weak (Pune) or new (Kochi) one, record levels of passive aggression are expressed through the comments section on the official video streaming page.

But not immediately.

Usually, before the match it begins mildly, with some harmless flag-waving and good-natured slogan shouting:

Mumbai Indians are the best team in the hole verld.
Pune Warriors are the most awesome team in Pune!
Punjab will kill you bassssstuuuurd.
That Tusker uniform is what I call flamboyant! Two thumbs up!
Hey see exclusive pics of Pippa's ass here.

Moments before the match this calmness fades as supporters of the dominant team begin to boss over the underlings:

Tendulkar is going to hit Parameswaranannenrmem out of the stadium. You just wait and see…
Bloody fool. At least learn to spell names correctly. Illiterate fellows.
Shut up and go back to gelf boss. I know spellign.

Unfortunately in such situations the underlings are easily outnumbered. Because of their relative newness to the brutality of Facebook flame wars, and the untested quality of their teams, supporters of Pune and Kochi are few in number and wary of picking fights with the alpha dogs. So they deflect hate by using cheerful banter and lively jokes such as:

I have a feeling Pune will win tonight…
Raiphi Gomez.

But then something unexpected happens. The tide turns. It looks like the underdogs are going to win. At this point the newbies - those poor, unsuspecting, well-meaning fellows - begin to speak up to the alpha dogs. This is when all hell breaks loose. The following is an actual tête-à-tête between two commenters that took place during Thursday's Kochi-Kolkata match. This was when Kolkata needed something like 72 runs to win from 45 balls, but were beginning to show signs of a collapse. Kochi supporters were beginning to prick their ears up in anticipation. Cue backlash.

A KKR fan - let us call him GoldenBoy - asked/said/enunciated this profound question/statement/declaration: "y malllusss were lunggiii"

At first there was a lull in the conversation while malllusss mulled his words. On the face of it he could be asking why Malayalis wear lungis (sarongs). In which case there are entire books written on the topic. I don't want to go into details but benefits include:

1. Easily adjustable for size of wearer. You can gain or lose weight or height without overhauling you wardrobe.
2. Fold can be raised or lowered depending on height of rain water, quantity of beer, volume of music.
3. Sustainability: after many years of satisfactory use a lungi can be converted into a blanket for babies, a durable kitchen towel, a restraining device for capitalists, or a shirt for Shah Rukh Khan.
4. Ventilation.

I could go on and on.

On the other hand, was the commentator asking us why, at some primeval stage in our evolution as a people, we were once all lungis? Perhaps. If so, then this is a much more difficult question. For centuries philosophers and scientists have been asking themselves: "What came first? The Mallu or the lungi?" Solving this is one of the most critical problems being studied, as we speak, by the Malayali Institute of Technology in Boston, Massachusetts.

Thankfully all this rumination was laid to rest by a valiant Kochi supporter, who replied fiercely as follows: "reply to GoldenBoy..Montainssssssss"

Really. I am not making this up.

Once again we are in an interpretative quandary. Does he mean that our lungis contains mountains? Does he mean we wear them because of mountainous terrain? Debate is currently raging amongst the connoisseurs of the IPL Video Facebook section. I cannot wait for the next Kochi match.

In any case I don't think I can ever watch cricket on a TV, without Facebook, ever again. I hope you too will give online streaming a shot.

Meanwhile I need to now go and sell an article about an island called Märket. Märket ("The Mark", Swedish pronunciation: [ˈmærkə(t)]) is a small 3.3 hectares (8.2 acres) uninhabited skerry in the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Finland, which has been divided between two sovereignties since the Treaty of Fredrikshamn of 1809 defined the border between Sweden and Russian Empire as going through the middle of the island.

Sidin Vadukut is the managing editor of Livemint.com and the novel, Dork: The Incredible Adventures of Robin 'Einstein' Varghese. He blogs at Domain Maximus.

Tell us what you think. Send us your feedback

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Comments: 40 
Posted by Jayco on (May 12, 2011, 16:29 GMT)

@Tahsin... it refers to the official IPL stream, which is broadcast by the India Times website. Facebook comments are posted below the video window.

Posted by   on (May 11, 2011, 4:34 GMT)

can any body tell me where in fb u guys watching the IPL live with these funny commentary plz plz plz.......bcos the websites that i used to watch all live cricket, is relly funny..........but not sure that it is funnier than FB one, i need to check which one is better..( I watch all live cricket on www.cricvid.com and a moderator of this website too..... And also I welcome all of u to visit my website Thanx)

Posted by adil_azeem on (May 10, 2011, 5:05 GMT)

I cracked my "backward third man" while laughing at this bit .....

1. I have morals and ethics. (Citation needed).

Posted by SRT_GENIUS on (May 10, 2011, 1:03 GMT)

The ideas are funny but the style is just too deliberate to be funny.

Posted by   on (May 10, 2011, 0:46 GMT)

absolutely hilarious man... the best of ém all - Sustainability: after many years of satisfactory use a lungi can be converted a shirt for Shah Rukh Khan.

Posted by vallavarayar on (May 9, 2011, 22:22 GMT)

Ha! As the proud wearer of the Ubiquitous sarong for the past 15 years (though I am not a mallu), I have only one word on why I prefer sarongs to everything else (PJs, shorts, undies or going buff), the same word immortalised by our ancestor, Braveheart Mel Gibson - FREEDOM!

Posted by anmol_a_n_m_o_l on (May 9, 2011, 20:29 GMT)

he wanted to watch sreesanth throw coconuts at a coconut tree in an attempt to get more coconuts.

Posted by Enigma85 on (May 9, 2011, 20:09 GMT)

Hilarious article Sid! This just made my day after a long day at work! Keep 'em comin'! :)

Posted by Kratos2waR on (May 9, 2011, 19:11 GMT)

Why did the Mallu cross the road, wearing a lungi, in the gelf? - ZIMBLY!!!

Posted by ToTellUTheTruth on (May 9, 2011, 17:05 GMT)

The reasons you provided for wearing a lungi are good enough for me to go and buy one. Hahahahahahahahhahahaha!!!!

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Sidin Vadukut
Sidin Vadukut has been writing extensively about cricket since he started writing this column for ESPNcricinfo. He comes from a family of footballers, who all nurture virulent hate for cricket in general and Basit Ali in particular. Vadukut is the author of the Dork trilogy of office-culture humour novels. By day he is a columnist and editor with business daily Mint. At night, depending on when he gets off work, he goes home or fights crime. His favourite cricketer is Saeed Anwar. By which he means Sachin Tendulkar. Jai Hind.

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Sidin VadukutClose
Sidin Vadukut has been writing extensively about cricket since he started writing this column for ESPNcricinfo. He comes from a family of footballers, who all nurture virulent hate for cricket in general and Basit Ali in particular. Vadukut is the author of the Dork trilogy of office-culture humour novels. By day he is a columnist and editor with business daily Mint. At night, depending on when he gets off work, he goes home or fights crime. His favourite cricketer is Saeed Anwar. By which he means Sachin Tendulkar. Jai Hind.
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