Such wit

February 11, 2009

A commentator had a moment last night. It wasn’t of the usual variety, the ones that make you think, “Bring back Siva”, or “Chisty, all’s forgiven, so please come back”. India were seven down and the Pathans were batting. Just then, he sang in his sinister minister voice: “The Pathan brothers have the opportunity to do to Sri Lanka what Lehman Brothers did to the world.”

Oh, the nights he must have spent practicing that one. “Aha! That’s a good one,” he would have thought while combing his hair. “Tendulkar can do to Australia what Lehman Brothers did to the world,” he would have smirked in a strawberry bubble bath. “Sehwag can do to Harmison what Lehman Brothers did to the world,” he would have randomly thought while watching Triumph the Insult Dog in bed. “Gambhir can do to England what Lehman Brothers did to the world,” he would have told the bhajiwaala, who would have promptly told him, “Don’t you think that’s a little simplistic?” Shaken, he must have returned home and blankly stared at the bleak sea. “He’s right,” he would have thought. “Look at those ant-like people down there. They seem so happy from up here. They’re still walking. Some are even talking. Maybe I am being simplistic. Oh, who knows what all this is about. But it was such a good line.” The phone would have rung then, and he would have looked at his Nokia 8810. La Mo. The Mo.

“Hey, whass up?” Mo would have asked.

“Nothing much. I just found out my bhajiwaala knows more than me.”

“Man, fug dat shit. These guys work their networks. How else do you think they know so much?”

“But about Lehman Brothers? I feel so lost.”

“Look man,” Mo would have said, “It’s about respect. Who scored 10,000 runs? You did. Who was captain? You were. Who’s famous? You..”

“That was then, La Mo, that was then. Now I just come up with clever lines that make people laugh. I try so hard, so so hard, but it’s just not happening. It’s not coming out right. And it’s just that, you know, I wonder sometimes if we ex-cricketers make good commentators and…”

“Dude! Wait up! Time out, okay? Let’s not go there. Thass jus so self-destructive. SSUFFERIN SUCCOTASH! [covers the mouthpiece] Turn the damn thing off! [uncovers the mouthpiece] Gah. I hate Sylvester. Look. You guys are all so great. I grew up on you. You guys are my heroes. You, Ravi, Siva, Arun, Mani. Sanjay and Harsha could be too, but we’ll negotiate with them later.”

“Anyway. Forget me. Tell me about…”

“What? No! You can’t be like this. Look, what is this about? What got you started? The Lehman Brothers thing? Tell me.”

“I don’t know. It’s kind of embarrassing.”

“Oh come on. You’re just being modest. How typical.”

“Okay. Look. Do you have a minute?”


“Okay. Here goes. There’s this line I thought up, you know? And it says a lot. It’s current, and very relevant, and it’s a typical line, you know? It’s like, when people hear it, they know I’ve said it. And it’s like, when you remember it ten years later, you’re like, I said it. Not you, I.”

“Sure. That’s good. Hit me with it.”

“Okay. You ready? Here. Tendulkar can do to Australia what Lehman Brothers did to the world. It could be anyone there, you know, like Dravid, or, no, not Dravid…”


“I said it. Not Dravid. It could be Sehwag or Gambhir, or…”

“You know what? Stop right there. I like it.”

“You do? The bhaji guy thought it was too simple.”

“Forget him. Who runs cricket here? Me. Who runs world cricket? Me. Who has a spiral staircase? Me. And I think it’s relevant. Like you said. And thoughtful. It shows you’re thinking about the world and you’re clued in on the crisis. It’s nice and subtle. We could work it into a highlights package later. I’ll talk to Tha Fanny about it. Oh wait. This is Sri Lanka, right? I think he’s got the rights… Or does he? Anyway, I’ll talk to whoever… oh, wait, yeah, now I remember. He does. Just bought them last a week before the first game. But look, I like the line. I think it’s a shot at greatness for you. One line could do it for you. And everybody’s thinking about Lehman. Everyone.”

“But timing’s everything, right?”

“Oh, absolutely. Can’t do it too early, can’t leave it too late. Try the fifth game.”

“Should I wait to see how it goes? If India win four in a row, then it’s no fun.”

“Do you want to try the T20 game? It might work there. The audience is totally in, you know? And I have a feeling it’ll help us expand the market if they know we’re thinking about Lehman.”

“Hmm. You could be right. So I’ll wait. Thanks bro.”

“Anytime. Remember: just practice. Work on it day and night, every waking moment, so it’s in you churning and turning and squiggly in your brain when you’re sleeping, and you can say it backwards if I ask. You gotta want it bad.”

“I’ll do it, Mo, I’ll do it. For you, for me, and for the highlights package.”

This will be my last post on cricket for a while. Last night a commentator did to me what Lehman Brothers did to the world. Needless to say, I’m pretty certain this conversation never really took place, and that the commentator has absolutely no self-esteem issues. None whatsoever. Zilch.


7 Responses to “Such wit”

  1. Aditya Says:

    That was the same line that’s still stuck in my head. I didn’t know how to react upon hearing it. Interesting, you didn’t take the name of the commentator — Sunny Gavaskar, wasn’t it?

  2. shakester Says:

    wah, lovely! I heard the line, sighed, and carried on. Your choice much better methinks 🙂

  3. Noticed the Lehman Brothers comment on another blog too.

    The Pathan brothers certainly did their job well last night.

  4. Satish Says:

    Priceless! Pray why are your cricket posts so few and far between…

  5. Hariharan Says:

    Wow! Such wit!

    Came across your blog from a comment on cricinfo. Must say your cricket writings are awesome.

    P.S My TV volume buttons didn’t work that fateful night. And if I did have any minutest regrets on not listening to the godawful commentary, you have just made me lose that also.

    • Rahul Says:

      Thanks, all. Not having your TV volume on is indeed a blessing. The best time I ever had reporting on a match (from TV), was when a cable to the commentary box was cut and I could hear every other mic in the stadium. It brought the game alive. Curious about the Cricinfo comment. I can’t find it. Do you have a link?

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