This, that and the other. Mostly the other
As discovered by Samantha Pendergrast
The first few days after the IPL can suck, can't they? It feels like when your party is raided by cops and you can't bring yourself to face what comes next. It feels even worse when you're involved closely in organising it.
I had a remedy for the years I was in charge. Whenever I'd feel separation pangs, I'd go to a fish market. The staleness, the shouting, and that feeling of being unsure whether you've bought a rotten feller or one that'll lift your dinner to Masterchef levels would make me feel much better. People think lack of freshness is bad. But it's actually just another phrase for status quo. For the comfort of the known, the usual, the never-changing routine.
My movie is progressing well but there was a slight snag. The producers wanted me to add a fight scene. I told them we could act out the letters that Srinivasan and I wrote to each other while negotiating some of the IPL's, er, trickier deals - the mix of outward pleasantness and underlying venom and tension would have made Hitchcock drool. But the film-makers insisted they wanted a "real" fight scene. Like dishoom dishoom.
I racked my brains. The last time I was in a brawl of sorts was during my first year at the BCCI, when we had a rubber-band fight after a working committee meeting. My team, the fast-rising mid-level executives, were beating Rajiv Shukla's team, the Entitled, when Mr Pawar walked in. Seeing all that loose cash (the result of taking the rubber bands) scattered across the floor, he lost his temper. I don't know why he got like that. A few years later, when I was the commissioner, I got my kitchen floor designed to look like that. It's aesthetically very pleasing.
But struggling for inspiration to write in a fight scene for my movie, I called my good friend Shah Rukh. The conversation didn't go too well:
Me: Shah Rukh, I need your creative help. What sort of fight scene can I feature in my biopic?
SRK: How about an evil robot disrupting the auction proceedings? You and I could take him down in an epic battle.
Me: Robot? Is that a metaphor for Sid Mallya's utter lack of humanity?
SRK: No, it's a metaphor for kick-ass special effects.
Me: Hmm. Any other suggestions?
SRK: What about a mafia don infiltrating the league with the idea of robbing an IPL vault full of unaccounted-for cash and jewellery? And we've got to stop him before it's too late.
Me: Who told you about the vault? And do you have the access codes as well?
SRK: What are you talking about? Anyway, this probably won't work out. Let me think about it some more and get back to you.
He called me a few days later. "Turn on the TV. I got you your fight scene," he said. And god bless his soul, he had. And in the process got himself some really bad publicity. All for my sake.
Five years have passed since I first breathed life into the IPL. Here are some thoughts for the next five years.
Don't be surprised if...
... you find Gayle and Co explaining flight safety procedures to you on their owner's airline soon
... Brett Lee features in a Bollywood movie where he plays a travelling musician who goes across the country spreading the message of love and brotherhood to all.
... you never hear of Manvinder Bisla again
... reports of the IPL's declining TV viewership keep emerging while the league continues to rake in millions of dollars
... no cricket fan under the age of 12 is able to watch cricket unless it is accompanied by blasting music
... I am back and at the helm again
All quotes and facts in this article are fiction (but you knew that already, didn't you?)
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