MILAN CRICKET CLUB
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By Karthik Duraisami
Truth be told, the club's fortieth annual dinner, and my first in attendance, turned out to be a dud. I didn't win the President's cup. Nor did the Captain's cup come my way. Sad really, given that I had a wonderful acceptance speech prepared. A speech, overflowing with faux-humility of the kind that is expected of me, wherein I earnestly questioned the rationale behind elevating me to such exalted company - much the way Obama did with his Nobel, before resigning myself to accepting the award for a body of work yet to come. 'A call to action,' as Obama put it in his speech. Action, mind you, that is well within the fifteen degrees mandated by the ICC. Rather presumptuous of me, you say? Not really. Just flawed logic. I had reasoned it out that, although I had done nothing of note, I had somehow endeared myself by simply existing in the fringes of the club for so long, and with everybody else ticked off, I assumed I was in with a chance. Damn those second time winners.
In other categories where I don't compete; Sonu, taking over from Gurmel, won the best batsman award and Irfaan, the best bowler award. The best bowler award was more closely contested with Irfaan edging out Nand on bowling averages. A tidbit of information made known to us by Nand before he handed out the trophies.
Cricket/Cubism for dummies.
Somethings don't mix. Italians and cricket should be on that list. The missus, thinks of the game as something to engage in, after, say, a heavy meal. As an alternative to lying down. 'Something to help with digestion' - her words, not mine. I might have nudged her into thinking that way with my own inadequacies. Inadequacies I refuse to delve into. The average age at the dinner being what it was (forty plus) didn't help either. I tried, and failed, to change her perception of the game during the course of the dinner by mentioning that the allure of the game had even the incomparable Usain Bolt wanting to take it up after the 2016 Olympics, to which she said, 'after retiring from active/actual sport.' Some ideas when they take hold are difficult to budge. Cricket, for her, will remain a leisurely game enjoyed by men of a certain age. The English equivalent of Bocce, if you must.
Some dinners have consequences. Some don't. Sadly for me, this dinner had consequence written all over it. I was dragged the next morning, in a retaliatory move, no doubt, to check out the Picasso exhibition in town. I don't get cubism. I don't even pretend to get it. That said, I am not averse to owning a Picasso some day. Cubism, like cricket to some, is best enjoyed after a heavy meal after having smoked a fistful of the 'good stuff'. The exhibition comes highly recommended for kids below six years of age. They get in free.
I didn't win anything of note here either. Who took home all that alcohol? But the one thing I did win, left me shamefaced. Among other things at the raffle, there was an innocuous looking cricket ball. Innocuous, that is, up until I won it. When I claimed the ball, Andrew threw the ball in my direction. A loopy, gentle, under-arm toss mindful of the fact that we were in a cramped setting with cutlery, kids and senior citizens. All of them collectively best described as 'fragile'. Midway through the balls trajectory Brian called out, 'Not to him!' The setting may have been different but the anguish, the despondency, every time the ball, not necessarily airborne, goes in my direction, remains the same. Luckily for me, with the missus watching, I held on to it. To go with THAT single I scored at CERN, this catch caps off the year's highlights.
There is something endearing about things that are passed on. Everything, and that extends to the cricket guard/box, John had brought along was picked up. Thanks John. Your gesture, apart from filling the club's coffers, leaves us each with some club memorabilia to remind us of our time here in Italy. I have a tie from you with the M.C.C. insignia on it. I was prevented from bidding on anything else by the attentive missus who elbowed me every time I showed as much as a flicker of interest.
Ross should, irrespective of how he feels about it, be part of every social gathering. Fly him in at the club's expense if you must. Without Ross' excesses these evenings are drab dull affairs. However be respectful of the man's wishes if he opts out of a game for whatever reason.
David, staying well clear of rabbit jokes as the menu card said he would, in one phrase brilliantly extolled the virtues of joining the club.
'JOIN CLUB, WILL TRAVEL.'
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