Saturday, 11 August 2012


I was afraid of the grandfather for a laundry list of things. One of these horrors was sports, or rather, my lack of understanding or interest in almost all of them. For someone who is gravely challenged in the hand-and-eye coordination department, it really is difficult to show genuine interest and concern about sports at large, and adoration and concern for athletes in particular. Growing up, my bedroom walls were plastered with posters, magazine clippings, newspaper cut-outs of pop and movie stars. So much so that you had to hazard a guess at the colour of the walls, given that there was no place for even an ant to rest its world weary rear. But never did you find a sports star. Never on my radar, those.

The grandfather, however, was a sports fanatic. From when I knew him, strictly from the couch with the bowl of peanuts and beer, but the mother swears he had a mean handle on the tennis racquet, and could out swim Moby Dick. But that's another story, for another post. He was burdened with me each summer, whose idea of exercise was to flip over pages of the book that I happened to be reading. Or, in an Herculean effort, aiming the remote control at the then God of music devices - the three-CD changer, to switch from one pop song to the next.

By the time I'd pick my book off the floor - from where it would've landed, after I'd have dropped it in terror at the grandfather's shouts at a goal or a run or whatchamacallit - and look up shakily at the telly, trying to come to grips with what had happened, the grandfather would have turned to me, expecting a similar ecstatic response. At best, a weak whimper is all I could come up with. Frown. Not me, him.

Figured then, that maybe it was time to read some more - this time, a book on sports, so that I could (hopefully) decipher what all those mysterious terms meant - goals, runs, sets, innings, games, fouls... you get the drift. And so the tome was purchased. After a few initial (mustered up and fake enthusiastic) tries, the book had other uses - that of a mouse mat, and also to boost the height of the PC monitor alternatively.

Then one year the cricket World Cup happened. By the time I figured out which team wore which colour, the tournament (or whatever it's called) got over. I didn't even get down to knowing team members' names, let alone recognising their faces from the news. My only conclusion was that I liked the happy sunshine-y yellow that some team (I think it was the Aussie) wore.

As for tennis, between all the love and games that were oozing on to the courts, the last I knew, Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf ruled. I'm now given to understand that not only do they not play anymore, but have gotten married and made babies who may just make their own tennis debut sometime soon. Of course, whether it'll be on grass courts or clay or any other substance, I'll never know.

When I see swimmers, all I marvel at is how on Earth water doesn't get into their eyes, ears, nose or any other orifice. How they don't gasp and choke for breath, the way I do if I injest water even in the shower. The significant other had the Olympics going on the telly last evening as I got home from work. Coffee mug in hand, I settled in to watch something new (to me at least) - synchronised swimming. Amid all that perfection, all I could think of, was water inside my nostrils.

Am I anti-sports? No. All I know is, I should stick to the sitcoms on the TV, and drive to work for exercise. Shifting from 'D' to 'N' to 'P' is exhausting enough, I reckon, given the traffic I wade through on Mumbai's roads. Which I will rant about separately.

No comments: