If blogging were a game – as it probably is – I’d compare it to cricket, more specifically to batting. Think of the stance, which is supposed to be relaxed and balanced and comfortable – though naturally you can make it much more open and aggressive à la Sachin Tendulkar, the Little Master.
Then there are the strokes: the block or the forward defensive as well as the backward defensive; the glance and the drive; the cut, the pull and the hook, not to forget the sweep. I won’t even talk about the more unorthodox ones like the slog, the switch and the scoop. But all these strokes have a defensive or an offensive purpose: you’re either trying to save your wicket or you’re trying to score runs.
I’ve always found cricket to be colonial because the batsman – or the two batsmen on the crease – get much too much attention and have a ball of a time while for the rest of the players, life is anything but a ball game – well, they have to throw the ball first so that the batsman can hit it; and then they have to run after the ball and go and get it like the ruddy ball boy in tennis, if not like the bally dog on the doggie playground. I used to dream of a wildcat strike by the fielders, all standing around with their arms akimbo, telling the batsmen to go and get their own balls. Who do they think they are? The sahib and the memsahib? Et cetera.
Otherwise blogging is about style too, like cricket. Blogging, like cricket, is not a body contact game – you’ve got football for that, and politics. Blogging, like cricket, is a leisurely activity – remember what NY’s mayor Rudy Giuliani said when they went to him asking for a cricket field? ‘Oh, that game where you can watch the grass grow?’ Giuliani is supposed to have said. That’s when the IPL decided to get those American cheerleaders to pep things up.
Clever as you are, you must have noticed that blogging can’t be like cricket at least on one count: you can’t play cricket alone, you need a bowler as well as a batsman – whereas the blogger fields and keeps the wicket as well. The only thing the blogger cannot do is the umpiring. He publishes his post and days afterwards, a troll cries “Howzat?” upon which the umpire unfriends him and the spectators unfollow him. The blogger is suddenly the loneliest cricketer in the world, standing on the deserted pitch in the failing light, surrounded by empty stands.
What does the blogger do in that kind of a situation? I’ll tell you. He suddenly catches a glimpse of his prolonged shadow on the green grass, his head practically touching the stadium roof… he swings his bat experimentally and it turns out to be a gargantuan, epic sweep from stand to stand, shadow to shadow… he takes his stance all over again and tries out his favourite shot, the square cut, not like Rahul Dravid but like the blogger’s very own compatriot Sourav Chandidas Ganguly – and the sun goes over the horizon for a clean six in the eternal one-day cricket of the gods.
When Sachin Tendulkar the Little Master was little, he was practising his stance in front of the mirror – might even have been his famous straight drive or the equally famous leg glance. That’s when they asked him: ‘Sachin, what are you doing? Watch out! Don’t break the mirror!’
Little did they know that Sachin would be breaking records, not mirrors, in the future.
‘Isn’t that bat a size too large for you?’ they kidded.
‘You just watch. I might be a blogger today, but I’m going to be a novelist someday,’ Sachin threatened.
Well, as we all know, Sachin batted and bowled right-handed but writes with his left hand!
It’s what the blogger does too, in case you haven’t noticed.