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(Published in, on 10 March 2011, retrieved from )

“Pa, why are you watching Kenya vs. Can...?” Arvind trailed off, as the seventy-year-old man raised one hand, and continued to write with the other.

“Dad!” Sachin whispered, tugging at Arvind’s shirt, “he’s not letting us watch highlights of all the matches we missed because of school. Arjun and I want to take leave for all the India matches.”


“Dad! Arjun’s parents said yes!” Sachin whined.

“I’m sure he told them your parents said yes,” Arvind grunted, “no, Sachin.”

“Why do you want to take leave for all the India matches?” Sachin’s grandfather called, without turning around, “you should be watching these. These are the teams of the future.”

“Kenya and Canada?” Arvind scoffed.

“You were laughing about Kenya, Holland and Canada when I said we’d have a new winner. Two out of those three have almost been giant-killers this tournament,” his father finally turned, “and remember, Bangladesh almost beat India. Ireland did beat England. Canada would have beaten Pakistan if not for Afridi.”

“Pa, that’s the point of a game. See, there’s an Afridi!”

“No, no, no,” the old man held up his handiwork, “I have calculated the chances of who will make it to the top. It’s an open field now. We could see all the so-called minnows go through. Except Kenya – I don’t expect them to make it on current form.”

“Excellent analysis, Pa. You should join Sidhu and Ganguly,” Arvind suggested, “at least you have something original to say.”

“You know why this problem has come up?” his father smiled triumphantly.

“Because you’re senile?”

His father waved the comment aside, and handed over the paper he had been scribbling on, “I mean the problem of the minnows.”

“I want to take leave! Arjun will laugh at me!” Sachin screamed, suddenly.

“Ask your mother,” Arvind frowned at the figures as his son dashed off, “Pa, India cannot lose to Netherlands!”

“Psychological advantage. We tied with England, but the Dutch almost defeated England, and Ireland did beat them. Anyway, that’s not the point. The point is here!” and the old man pointed to an underlined word.

“EMI?” Arvind sighed, “now, your theory is the cricketers have to pay EMIs, so they are taking money to pay badly?”

“Not EMI. Emi. Short form of ‘emigration’. That’s the problem!” his father ran the pen down a list of names, “look at the Canadian team – full of Indians! That boy Balaji Rao was a Tamil Nadu player. If we had used him properly, he’d be taking wickets for India now. Waste of potential. There’s even a Mishra in the Kenyan team!”

“And what about Ireland?”

“Cricket brings Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland together. It’s like an India-Pakistan XI!” his father said, excitedly.

“No, Pa, they’re not the enemies!”

“Yes, correct. England is the enemy. Our politicians still don’t understand that!”

“Okay, so now, it’s not just emigration. It’s all because of colonialism,” Arvind rolled his eyes.

“Ah, but to understand the influence of colonialism on cricket, you have to look at a different team,” his father smiled, “South Africa.”

“What, reservation and affirmative action?”

“No, no. All those players would be in the Dutch team if not for colonialism!”

“Yeah, colonialism wrecked everything. Otherwise, Afridi, Sachin and Balaji Rao would be in the same gilli danda team!”

“Arvind!” Sunita came in, with the other Sachin, “you told him he can take leave? And now you’re discussing his gilli danda team!”

“I don’t have a gilli danda team! You never listen to me, Dad!” and their son stormed out of the room. Suddenly, he peeped in, “if you don’t let me take leave, I’ll drink tap water and fall sick!”

“Good parting shot!” his grandfather called.

“That’s one good reason to emigrate,” Arvind conceded, “that threat wouldn’t work in Canada.”


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