A belated happy new year to everyone. I'm finally back from an amazing trip to India, which left me with no time whatsoever to blog as often as I thought I would. And I didn't watch as much cricket as anticipated. I did manage to follow South Africa's twin triumphs over Australia and Mumbai's bagging of the Ranji Trophy for the 1876th time. But my crickt watching was sporadic at best; my social calendar simply did not allow for extended periods in front of the television (which given the last two days of the Mohali test, was just as well).
When I did watch cricket, I was awestruck by the number of commercials shown in the overbreak, which often meant missing a delivery or a replay. And sometimes the screen itself would be colonized by commercials. It is also seems to be a standard practice to repeat commercials in break after break; thus very quickly, I seemed to have memorized a set of commercials, whose lines and jingles I knew by heart, and which quickly permeated my subconscious, leading me to hum and mumble odd bits of sloganeering at inopportune moments (for instance, I have "lets get rolling" running through my head right now).
But the best part about watching or following cricket in India has nothing to do with television, particularly. It has to do, I think, with just being around a lot of people that have cricket on their radars. And thus, the expressions of concern, inquiry, anger or exaltation about the game that follow, and that suck you into empathetic affirmations or skeptical rejections. Being able to talk about the game as part of the daily fabric of life is the true joy of following cricket back in India. It is to be reminded that there are places in the world (unlike the US), where cricket is part of the conversation, part of the daily package of sights and sounds. Cricket isn't just on the screen or on the net there; its all around.