Cricket or death
Did you hear about the guy who tried to kill himself because he could not play cricket for India? I first heard about him while looking into some Indian web pages on the Internet when I found the following ad at a popular site.
Do you want to witness a real suicide?
Come to the Madras marina and watch live the death of
a patriotic Indian ready to sacrifice his one and only life
for the cause of cricket.
I have to admit that this ad excited me. I knew that we Indians urinate in public. To urinate in public is the inalienable birthright of all
Indian citizens, a right that is given to us by our government which has great respect for our fundamental rights, the honoring of which exists first and foremost in it's mind. We have also made a habit of washing dirty linen in public. This custom is especially followed by
people who wear khadi clothes. Once in a while some of our honored citizens also swear in public. It only goes to show how educated these people are and makes others wonder about their extensive vocabulary. This was the first occasion I know of that any one tried to kill himself in front of many people for the sake of cricket.
I wanted to find our more about this fellow. I called up a journalist friend of mine who lives in the same area and asked him what it was all about.
"Hey Madhu," I asked. "What is the news about this guy who is going about saying he wants to commit suicide?"
"You know what," he said. "Thatís a top story in one of the local dailies. It might sound crazy to you. It's actually true. This guy wants to kill himself because he was not selected to the national team."
"What is he? Is he a Ranji player or something?"
"I don't know the details. I tried to talk to him. He wasn't at home. His wife said he has gone out to get some petrol and a matchbox. He is going to burn himself. I was able to locate his cell number though. You could call him up for more info."
"Thanks, Madhu. I'll talk to that guy and call you later," I said and hung up.
I placed a call to our chap in the advertisement immediately. He happened to be at home and picked up the phone. I introduced myself.
"Hello, Sir," I said. "I'm an amateur journalist. I saw your ad at a web-site and I would like to talk to you about it."
"Go ahead," he said.
"Is that true you are killing yourself for cricket's sake?" I asked.
"Yes," he said.
"What is your name and what kind of a cricketer are you?"
"Just call me Hero," he said. "I am an all rounder."
Hero sounded like a dog's name to me. But I wasn't going to argue with him on that.
"Tell me, Hero. Why do you want to commit suicide?"
"I want to play for India. I asked the board to take me in the team. They refused. I can't stand this disappointment. That's why I'm going to kill myself."
"What kind of cricket have you played so far?" I asked.
"I have played with my friends using a tennis ball."
"What!" I exclaimed. The reply stumped me. "What did you say?"
"I said I've played with my friends with a tennis ball," he said casually.
"And then?" I asked.
"That's all," he replied.
"You don't have any other cricket experience?"
"No. Except that I've watched a lot of matches on TV."
I was beginning to believe at this stage of the conversation that this guy was a complete nut - a nut with a solid, hard, impenetrable cover. However I decided to play along with him to gauge the level of nuttiness in his core.
"Hero," I said. "Why do you think you should be selected. You don't seem to have enough qualifications?"
"Prove to me that I am not qualified enough to play for India," he said.
"You prove to me that you are capable of playing for India," I told him.
"Agreed," he said. "Firstly, let me tell you this. I copied in all my examinations. I copied when I was in school. I copied at college. I copied everywhere. No one knows about this except you because I told you now."
"So, it proves that I can keep a secret."
"So, if ever I indulge in match-fixing nobody would ever come to know of it unless I tell them. I am a pretty good clandestine operator."
"If you are still not convinced ask me questions and see if you can find out that I stole money from my dad's purse when I was a kid."
"Alright. Did you steal money from your dad's purse when you were a kid?"
"Not bad. OK, Hero, tell me about your other qualifications, if you have any."
"What do you mean, if I have any. I have many. For example I can swear exceedingly well."
"You can swear?"
"I can. Do you want me to show you"
"No. No. But tell me. What does that have to do with playing cricket?"
"See, when I become a popular player there is a chance that other envious cricketers would start rumors against me to spoil my reputation. Let's say some guy says that I took money to play below my potential. You know what I'd do?"
"I'll summon a press conference and say in front of everyone. 'Rascal! How dare he accuse me of match-fixing! I shall hit him below the stomach the next time I see him!'"
"Wow! Can you say that?"
"Of course, I can. And I will. And let me tell you about one more important thing I can do which will make me a complete cricketer."
"What is that?"
"I have great expertise in the art of speaking to people with a cell phone. In fact I am speaking to you with a cell phone right now. And I'll tell you what. I have five cell phones with me and I keep rotating them so that they can't get anything from me by tapping my phone. You see, I have a criminal bent of mind."
"Wow! Wow! I am thoroughly convinced, Hero," I said. "It's a pity that you were not given a chance to play. What did you do? Did you write to the board or something?"
"I wrote to the cricket board. They did not even care to reply. I wrote to all the newspapers asking for their support. They didn't help me either. Then I caught hold of a watchman of a local cricket stadium who has connections with people in the cricket board. I bribed him two thousand rupees. He ran away with that money. That's when I decided enough is enough."
"But why do you have to kill yourself?"
"To me honor is above everything else. The society says that I am not fit to play cricket. If I am not even fit to play international cricket, tell me what purpose I would serve by living in this world. That's why I want to die."
"How are you going to die?"
"At first I decided to burn myself up with petrol. Then I changed my mind."
"Are you going to jump off a cliff?"
"Are you going to drink poison?"
"No. I am going to burn myself with kerosene. The price of petrol has gone up like a six. Suicide is really expensive these days.
Mr. Reporter, I can't talk at length with you. I am going to hang up now. You see, this is my last night in this world and my wife wants
me to be with her."
"Okay, Hero. Wish you all the best. Let us hope you get a chance to play cricket in heaven."
"Of course I will. The first thing I would do when I end up in heaven is to organize a cricket team and appoint some bookies and spread cricket all over the place."
"Wish you good luck."
"Thank you," he said and hung up.
The last I heard from this guy, he was not in heaven. He was arrested by the police and was spending his time in a lock-up counting the number of bricks on the wall.