The Joy of Watching a Cricket Match With Family

Features

The Joy of Watching a Cricket Match With Family

Illustration: Arati Gujar

W

hen was the last time you planned an activity with your family?

Chances are, it’s been longer than you’d like to admit. With our hectic independent lives, it’s become increasingly rare for us to gather for a meal, or watch wholesome content like The Kapil Sharma Show — not when we could be hunched over our laptops with a bowl of Maggi, binging Game of Thrones instead. Hum saath saath hain holidays, too, are now a relic of the past, something that only ‘90s kids will remember.

Then there’s the issue of what happens when you actually do manage to have a family get-together. It is a truth universally acknowledged that the loving relationship you share with your parivaar can be fraught with difficulties. Siblings are perpetually competing for the Most Annoying award, parents can’t let a day go by without asking their kids if they are living in a house or a hotel, and mom keeps trying to make tinda-aloo a thing.

Never is the family divide more apparent than during elections, when disagreements devolve into screaming matches between those on opposing sides of the political spectrum. Dinner table talk revolves around party manifestos and questionable WhatsApp forwards, and switching on the evening news poses a severe threat to the entire family’s blood-pressure levels.

So how do we bridge these seemingly insurmountable gaps between us and make family time fun again? Fortunately, there is one saviour for our shared sanity — and its name is the Indian Premier  League.

Before 2008, when the IPL first launched, cricket viewers were usually retired uncles with enough time on their hands to follow an interminably long Test match, or a whole ODI series. In these dark days, cricket fans who couldn’t spend their day watching eight hours of gameplay in South Africa, had to make do with highlights videos and Harsha Bhogle’s Twitter feed.

Now, watching a good game of T20, like planning a shaadi, is one of the few activities that can capture the attention of everyone from nanaji down to chhota babu. But why is there a particular joy in watching the IPL with your family?

Unlike a regular India vs. Other Country series, the IPL allows you to throw your support behind anyone, and work out a lot of your personal problems in the process — like when my mother gleefully pledges her allegiance to whichever team is up against my dad’s beloved Chennai Super Kings.

For one thing, there’s the cathartic tension of major rivalries. Unlike a regular India vs. Other Country series, the IPL allows you to throw your support behind anyone, and work out a lot of your personal problems in the process — like when my mother gleefully pledges her allegiance to whichever team is up against my dad’s beloved Chennai Super Kings. Sure, it may annoy him, but it’s better than the passive-aggressive snipes he would have received for forgetting to pick up onions on the way home. As every Indian and Pakistani knows, fighting over whether mankading is legal is a lot more fun than real-life conflict.

Of course, families that cheer together stay together. Many households take great pride in their identity as a KKR Khandaan, or a Sunrisers Squad, and it turns out that buying everyone matching jerseys from Myntra can patch up a whole lot of differences — or, for a few hours, push them onto the back burner where they won’t boil over. Fan families can bond over a big win, or cry and eat ice cream after a crushing defeat. There’s the chance of going on an outing to the local cricket stadium, or at least of ordering pizza so no one has to miss a minute of the match. And really, what are political differences and petty arguments in the face of sporting solidarity?

In the heat of the IPL, emotions run high — so high, hopefully, that there are none leftover to level at each other. If you can’t live with your family, but can’t live without them either, keep calm and switch on the match. You might just discover that you all share a passion for Hawkeye replays and giving gaalis to the third umpire.

For the latest in fashion, head over to Myntra, your #1 destination for all things style.

Comments