I remember during college, a friend had advised me. “In a fight, even if there are more guys on the opposite side, you should be the first to slap the other person. After that, even if you get beaten up, no one will remember it. They’ll remember that you were the first to slap the guy.”
I think I have mutual friends with Harvinder Singh.
Harvinder Singh, whose rendition of ‘Chaanta Laga’ with Sharad Pawar (link) has made him a celebrity on Facebook and Youtube, also realised the importance of a slap.
Funnily, people are commenting ‘Jai Mata Di’ and ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ under his videos. Like he singlehandedly slapped the Britishers out of India or something. There’s also a spin-off of the Kolaveri video on the guy. The jokes are a little below the belt, but then, most of the fun in life is always below the belt, right?
However, Harvinder Singh is not my hero.
My hero is someone else. Someone who has been forgotten in the annals of time.
The year was 2006. Greg Chappell was appointed the coach of the Indian cricket team and was paid $ 1,75,000 to destroy Indian cricket. Chappell broke two of the golden rules for Indian cricket coaches:
1. Don’t fuck with senior cricketers:
He tampered with players. Reduced Irfan Pathan from a swing bowling prodigy to a left arm fielder. He exposed a letter from Ganguly to the press, and ultimately had him dropped.
2. Don’t mess with the crowd.
While getting on the team bus in Calcutta, Chappell pointed his middle finger to media people and fans. Of course, no one bought his argument that he ‘had fractured his finger in practice sessions’. Even if they did believe him, no one wanted to know how it had happened.
Gods were being toppled off their altars. There was chaos.
And it was then that Biranchi Maharana stood up for the nation.
The Indian team had come to Cuttack to play a match.
Now, we Oriya guys are quite laid back about things. Come from Korea and screw our forests under the garb of development and we’ll be fine with it. Give us a lecture about laziness and we’ll doze off half-way. But our cricketers? No, buddy. You can’t do that.
The team was leaving the airport. Chappell followed the cricketers in the line. Biranchi sneaked up to him, and….
ONE TIGHT SLAP!
That’s quite cowardly, you say? Anyone can sneak up to someone behind his back and slap him, that’s not exactly heroic, you say? Well, there’s more.
Unlike Harvinder Singh, who shouted gibberish at Sharad Pawar and the others and took out a knife and threatened to cut his wrist, only to be shooed away by the local security guard, Biranchi stood his ground.
How do you add insult to a stinging slap?
By giving the lamest excuse to do it.
“I am angry with Chappell because no player from Orissa has been included in the national team,” Maharana said. Of course, he forgot to mention that Debashis Mohanty had not been in the team for seven years. But that’s not the point.
The point is that he did it, and gave the flimsiest excuse for doing it. He did it because he wanted to. He did it, yes, for the nation!
Like my friend used to say, “You don’t need strength to slap. You need balls!”