We can endure anything from our celeb Gods. We find our voyeuristic dreams being lived through them. You hurt them.. you hurt our sense of being. We are the spectators of our own caricature and we are proud of it!
They would hang around, chat, have a drink, pick up a happy girl, sometimes two, take her back to the hotel room and have some fun.
Naah, this is not the scary part. These were the “Big Name players” of Indian cricket who would handle themselves “without a problem” during the IPL Nites parties. Its the behavior of the younger lot that was scary. They had never been to anything like this and were coming into “Bollywood stars, Page 3 personalities, endless cigarettes (all free), flowing booze, occasionally drugs and always women, willing women, everywhere”.
These young ones would give in to the temptations of all the vices.
Sports and glamor in India go together. Specifically, when the “Sports” happens to be that singular one – Cricket! Now, that relationship, which started way back when a starlet would be besotted by a cricketer and fall head over heals for him, and occasionally even settle down in marriage with him – has reached a new level. I would call the level a low, but then I am not an epitome of the craziest cricket lover in India. There are some who can endure any nonsense from Indian players without saying or bearing to hear anything against them.
Then there are some oasis of glamor folks in other sports as well. Sania Mirza was the main one. The jury is out there whether she was followed more for her legs and her prominently dangling twosomes, as she almost won nothing on the tennis court. For years she kept losing on the court, but being enriched in her pockets, which she would be stuffing with moneys when she wasn’t with the tennis balls to serve.
Her pictures became a hit. If she went to Haj in burkha – that would be sensational. If she bent a little lower on a pool table giving a tantalizing peak to the photographer at what’s inside, that became an even bigger hit. If she wore skirts that became a controversy (and led to more more money), if she sat through an Independence day program without corrent posture, that became an even bigger controversy… Ka-Ching!!
But life of a sportsperson is not always easy in India. There have been enough people who have given off their best for the country and yet live in penury. Our hockey team is one example. There have been enough stories of athletes selling their Olympic medals to make ends meet or do hard labor on street despite being part of Gold medalist teams at the Olympics.
These days, however, some folks do get attention, but looks matter. Vijender Singh, the boxer, has got over his lack of English language articulation in the elitist media-minds to become a Page 3 regular and a model.
Then there is our new achiever. Young and ground breaking. Only one Indian before her has reached where she is now. In the top 3 of the World’s best!! And that is Saina Nehwal. She is still not the media darling or the public favorite. There was this interesting story of this regular guy having food at “Mainland China” restaurant in Banjara Hills, when Saina walked in. To him, she resembled a “Super Model” except that no one recognized her. His “pick up” line was the most interesting I have heard:
I went to her and said “If I am not mistaken, you are Saina Nehwal, right”. Humbly she replied “Yes”.
Saina has still not cracked the code to encash her top status in Sports and her looks. Probably, she doesn’t care. And perhaps, that is good for her and for India.
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