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Why watching the IPL is more fun online

An Indian villager crosses a road passing new large-scale residential developments in Rajarhat, close to Kolkata AFP

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 t te- -t te 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 M rket. M rket ("The Mark", Swedish pronunciation: [ m rk (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.