The Cup That Doesn’t Count

‘Good Shot. Gooooood shot’ grinned Harsha. ‘Nnnnghhh, that’s a STUNNING shot, Harsha. Its one of those days’ preened Shastri. Without the strange half grunt half moan at the beginning and add a ‘my friend’ at the end, and it could be a saner Sidhu. ‘ Bountiful like the boundless belles of the Punjab, this is not an everyday SHOT, my friend, this is like the mustard curry (sarso da saag?), that every woman tries to cook at home, but only a mother with LOVE in her heart can get right’, jumped Navjot – as if to prove me wrong. ‘Roobish’ angled in Geoffrey, ‘me mum could ‘ave done it with a stick of rhubarb, she could’. The crowd was going wild!

In the World Cup of freestyle wrestling, this bout was signaling the end of a decade of Aussie domination. After years of earth shattering innovations like the Fat Twirler’s flippers (which flipped only down under), the neutered umpire training school (did someone say neutral?) that turned out armies of Aussie umpires that weren’t Aussies, and a unique fitness regime that involved beer, cigarettes and military base camp, the Aussie domination (AbOZination it was called popularly in the bylanes of Byculla) was beginning to fade in the ring. Only a ramshackle banding together of India, England and the Saffies into a ‘Rest of the World’ put up a semblance of another team that could now hold sway as world #1, but only because there was no more Flipper magic from the fat twirler, and the Pigeon had gotten tired of dropping(s) on good length. Since Australia and ‘Rest of the World’ comprise the world, there was no other contender left (apparently there were feeble protests by 5 people from Jamaica and 500 mn people from Bangladesh that they weren’t included in the Rest of the World. Same difference) All this of course changed when the aliens arrived. But that story’s for another day.

Meanwhile back in the ring, another tired jab from ‘Dead-Eye Rick’ glanced off of Copter Dhoni’s muscled shoulder. The crowd was chanting now, Delhi style – We Want Copter, We want Copter’. A smart side step, a weave out of a randomly thrown punch, and Copter was in Rick’s face again, right arm whirling around in a frenzied blur (copter?) and finally coming up flush against Rick’s jaw.. ‘Oooooh’, went the crowd as Ricky dropped to the floor. Would dead-eye stay down this time? The ref started flipping pebbles, reached 6, struggled, and started consulting his colleague sitting up next to the television somewhere on how to count to 10 with only 6 pebbles in his pocket. Meanwhile Rick started crawling toward the corner of the ring (like a younger Kumble ‘diving’ at gully), where a bristling Sid ‘Vicious’ was foaming at the mouth. Literally. Clarke was wiping the foam from Sid’s face and wringing his own hands, worried it might be his turn next – and he hadn’t even changed his diapers yet..

The clap happened, out went Rick, in jumped Sid, and was upon Dhoni pulling him by the hair like he were a fly, and swinging him around not unlike a Copter himself! The crowd winced, waiting for Sid’s signature move, the ‘first wind’- and just like that, Vicious broke wind..’ Urghhh, went the crowd as Copter fainted under that olfactory assault. Sid tossed him to the corner and started prancing around in his yellow lycra suit. Gold, not yellow. Gold. Luckily Copter recovered enough to feebly clasp Cookie’s hands. In came the elegant Alistair, dressed in the Union Jack. Out rushed a fuming Sid Vicious. Would the second wind arrive this time? Not to be – Cook met his tirade with a straight bat. Into the ‘Nether’lands.

‘Tondleeee, Tondli’, went the crowd, Mumbai style. Don’t ask me why.
‘Mishti Doi’, chirped up Sunny Bhai.