Cricket saves the planet

Where does fun end and ostentation begin?


Bikram Vohra | March 12, 2010

It is corporate strategy. You look good if you sponsor sport, gets you good publicity. After all, your company logo indicates you are a sport. Weekend villas, private jets, over the top parties, expensive real estate projects spark media feeding frenzies. By some curious chemistry you never get indicted for funneling funds into sport. It is wonderful to be so associated because sport has a good feel about it and you can have a blast hobnobbing with the new celebrities.

But where does fun end and gross display of ostentation begin?

Cricket’s Indian Premier League (IPL) is a case in point. It exhausts millions of dollars in franchises for the ‘privilege’ of hitting a little white ball and this occurs in a nation where 40 per cent of the people live below the poverty line. For 45 mind numbing days this delicately parochial war game will act as an anaesthetic for a billion people willing to surrender their daily livelihood and their survival. So, let me ask again, where does business acumen end and obscenity begin?

I have just watched the opening ceremonies with a mix of pride and amusement not to mention sharp slivers of annoyance. There has to be great hubris in inviting Lionel Richie for the opening ceremonies to deliver one song. And for UB 40 to deliver the other.

Of course, not quite as tragically comical as having eight captains signing a United Nations pledge on a big globe in support of saving the planet only twenty minutes before letting loose crores worth of fireworks in grotesque, sulphurous bursts over the urban skyline. The pollution meter must have gone wild. That grand display certainly underscores the sincerity of the pledge and exactly how the IPL intends to honour it! I can’t second guess the reason for the delay in kicking off the first match but it must have taken some time for the poison cloud to clear. How about that for paradox?

And then, Ravi Shastri, in a second burst of brilliance tips the nation to go plant a tree. I can see scores of tenement dwellers living ten to a shanty rushing off to do your bidding, Sir. Forty four more tips to come.

Sometimes I wonder how we smart people do and utter such silly things. But then I am natural born sour party pooper. As for the UN envoy, who dat?




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