This, that and the other. Mostly the other
First of all, dear readers, I would like to wish all of you a happy, if belated, Diwali. Diwali is a time for great joy and sulphurous gases in India. This is the time of the year when we blow up things to celebrate the symbolic victory of good over evil. Indeed, the literal translation of the word Diwali in Sanskrit is "a festival to remind you of fire insurance".
For Indian cricket fans this Diwali was doubly sweetened by the stupendous performance of their ODI team against England. I don't know if you were able to keep track of the results, but the eventual scoreline of the five-match series was 5-0, with India winning all five matches. India won the first, second, third, fourth and fifth matches, while England lost the first, second, third, fourth and... wait... yes, the fifth match as well. For a brief moment during the third match, in Mohali, it looked like England might win. But India won. And England lost.
Basically the point I am trying to make is that India won all their matches, as opposed to England, who did not win any.
Now the upside to such a result is that it helped us get over the drubbing India received at the hands of the English earlier this year in England. This writer was at Lord's earlier this year, in the middle of a stand full of England supporters, feeling like a North Korean inside a branch of Goldman Sachs. It was humiliating. This thumping Indian victory has alleviated the pain, somewhat.
However, there is also a downside. Victories like this could cause Indian fans to get all pompous and rude to English people. Yes, we defeated them in every single match of a five-match series, but this does not mean we act without grace. Instead we must rise to the occasion, and emulate the restrain and sensitivity that MS Dhoni has expressed throughout the series.
At no point has Dhoni seemed arrogant or brash about his success. After each victory - the first, second, third, fourth and fifth - he showed tremendous maturity, sobriety and equanimity. So must we as a nation. But how to do this? The need to irritate the English is fully understandable. But how do we do it with class and refinement?
The trick is to keep it subtle, and not to try too hard. Let me illustrate with some jokes, verbal techniques and sample conversations. Practise this at home a few times till you get the hang of it. And then you can devise your own methods.
Approach an English friend in a social gathering and use this knock knock joke:
You: Knock knock!
English friend: Who's there?
Alastair Cook who?
Sorry, Cook has already got out. This is now Jonathan Trott.
Jonathan Trott who?
Too late. Caught behind. I am Ian Bell...
Play this game as long as your English friend will.
As is usual after such a drubbing, English fans will act as if they do not remember the series. This is an old trick. Help them remember with this easy mnemonic:
How many letters in the word Dhoni?
How many sandwiches are left in the shop after Samit Patel has visited it?
So what is the scoreline of the series?
Call up the English Cricket Board office.
"Good morning, sir. I am from the Chennai Super Kings and I am calling to enquire if Jade Dernbach is in India at the moment and free for a meeting?"
"Oh my! Is this regarding the IPL?"
"No. We have to send some documents from Chennai to Bangalore, but as it is the weekend the post office is closed. We were wondering if maybe Dernbach could throw the packet at Dhoni so he can hit it to our Bangalore office..."
One of my favourite techniques is to console distraught fans.
English fan: "I am so upset about the cricket..."
Indian fan (you): "Oh, don't worry. You guys are doing well in other sports such as rugb... footba... baske... hock... darts. In darts you have virtually no opposition..."
"You think so?"
"Of course. Especially in English conditions."
Call up a distraught English cricket fan and use a deceptively consoling and soothing voice.
"Are you feeling better now?"
"Hmm... sigh... hmm... 5-0… sob..."
"Cheer up, man. I have some good news for you. I've compiled a collection of great English moments from the India tour in high-definition video for you to enjoy."
"Oh, how nice of you. Does it have Kieswetter's diving catch?"
"Yes, yes, and some great batting and incisive bowling"
"How sweet of you, Sidin. How can I see them?"
"I'll bring the video to your place. I've finished editing it. Now all I need to do is burn it onto a floppy."
I hope all of you will maintain this gentle balance between wit and pure evil.
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