Courtesy: http://www.india.com/whatever/icc-cricket-world-cup-2015-if-ms-dhoni-virat-kohli-and-the-indian-cricket-team-were-superheroes-319393/

Can we please not make a ‘God’ out of Kohli?

There comes a time when a player reaches a zone, a certain zen-like metaspace where nothing else around him or her matters. Roger Federer enjoyed that zone for a good part of a decade. At their peak, the Australian cricket team was an unbeatable force, an unstoppable juggernaut. It goes without saying that Virat Kohli is in that zone right now.

But while tributes flow in from all quarters, there are some that amuse me. The comparisons with Sachin Tendulkar are inevitable, but I am amused by the word ‘God’ that is being used to describe Virat Kohli.

 

Thoda zyada ho gaya, bro.

Thoda zyada ho gaya, bro

 

Perhaps it is our tendency to deify people; perhaps it is an integral part of our ethos, of elevating people to a pedestal and worshipping them. A handful of Indians have acquired this Godly status (if we exclude Babas and saints, that is).

There is Lata Mangeshkar, who is often referred to as Maa Saraswati herself, there is Rajinikanth, a phenomenon that defies every logic of modern cinema-making. And of course, there is Sachin Tendulkar. There are people who have had temples made for them (Khusbhoo), but not all of them can boast of a divine following that Amitabh Bachchan commands.

*

What does being a ‘God’ entail?

One, supreme talent. To become a God in India, you have to be supreme at what you do, the absolute best. Being one of the top, or someone who was there for a while, won’t cut it for us. You need to have an impeccable record, one that can be easily converted into numbers – 100 centuries, 25,000 songs, 30 years in the industry.

Secondly, you need to adhere to the Indian morals of humility and grace. There were people who were very good at their craft, but could not become Gods because they did not possess such qualities. Rajesh Khanna, Dev Anand, Mohammad Azharuddin.

More often than not, you need to begin as a child prodigy, slowly climbing up on the basis of hard work and talent. That’s the other thing, we place a huge amount of importance on talent. Perhaps the thought can be pegged back to our mythological times, when talents were ‘gifts’ bestowed by gods and goddesses. You also need to have a long career – an origin story, a story of resurgence, victory over evil. That’s another integral part of the narrative.

But being ‘God’ comes with its own set of problems. One, there is insurmountable pressure on you all the time. You have to live up to the pedestal created for you, and that entails a blemish-less professional and personal life. Being linked up to people, or losing your temper are out of question. As a God, you don’t get a day off; it’s a full time job.

And when you fail to live up to the stature of God, all hell breaks loose.

Amitabh Bachchan had to apologise to his fans publicly for films like Boom and Nishabd. Tendulkar was dragged into Maharashtra vs India mud-slinging contests for no reason whatsoever. ‘Non-believers’ still taunt Sachin fans about him asking for a tax refund on his Ferrari. Dhoni had stones pelted at his house when he failed in a match. Lata Mangeshkar refused the Filmfare Award because it came in the form of a naked woman. They had to wrap it in a handkerchief before giving it to her, apparently. (I wonder how the trophies are stored in their cabinet, though. Did Lata-di get little sarees stitched to protect the dignity of the Black Lady?)

We also become intolerable to criticism over our Gods.

Look at how we have handled Sachin’s legacy after his retirement. Whenever a legendary player comes to India, we invariably asking him the ‘Sachin Koschen’ –

 

Reporter: ‘Do you think Sachin Tendulkar is the greatest player in the world? Yes or no?

Former Great: ‘Ahem, well…you know…’

Nation: ‘Aye, gandu! What do you know about cricket? Fuck you, Tendulkar is best’.

PoopScoop: ‘Five Reasons why Former Great is a dumbass’.

Facebook Posts: An Open Letter to Former Great. Dear Former Great, Fuck You. Thanks, Indians’.

Twitter: ‘Aye Maria Sharapova, tu Sachin ko nahi jaanti hai, jhoot mat bol saali’ #Khangress #Aaptard

Baba Sehgal: Hey Sharapova, you wanna share-a-poha?

*

And the chaos descends into pandemonium. For you see, while being God is a full time job, being a devotee is also a full time job. You have to worship, you have to defend. You have to take up virtual arms against those that question the godliness of your God; it is your right, as well as your duty.

We did that to Tendulkar.

The guy had to single-handedly fight through shitty batting line-ups, and by the time there was a stable set of guys around him, he’d been elevated to God-level. The pressure was visible in his game – the jittery starts, the slowing down while nearing the century, the nervousness while chasing. I wonder how many matches Sachin could truly enjoy, like he did as a youngster. I wonder how he felt when he heard a hundred thousand screaming fans turn pin-drop silent because of him.

And then, when he went through a bad patch, he got booed by his home crowd. It happened to Gavaskar in his final match too. There were reports of people flinging their food and fruits at him!

*

Kohli is 27. While he is yet to truly peak as a batsman, there will inevitably come the bad patches. It is in the nature of the sport, considering the numerous aspects involved with the game today – schedules, endorsements, corporate and national responsibilities, the pressure of being a living-breathing brand.

Kohli is from a different generation. In fact, there is very little that is ‘Indian’ about Kohli. In all aspects, he is ‘Australian’ – there is the brash approach, the ability to take up challenges, the consistency. It is a different generation. One that is comfortable walking hand-in-hand with a superstar girlfriend, and also pointing a middle finger at a packed Sydney Cricket Ground.

what kohli

kohli-middle-finger_getty1

Virat-Kohli-fined-for-finger-gesture-300x240

This is a different generation, and it requires another epithet – ‘God’ seems outdated and quaint. Let him be who he is, an outstanding player, a brash, aggressive fighter. Let him screw up and make mistakes and go through good patches and bad patches.

Fuck God, and (I never thought I’d say this) fuck Tendulkar.

Let him be Virat Kohli. No God, just a human.
***

 

(Featured Image courtesy: www.india.com article – What if the Indian team were superheroes?)

Kohli images courtesy: 1) crichotline.com, 2) Getty Images.

15 thoughts on “Can we please not make a ‘God’ out of Kohli?

  1. Akshay

    Hello Hriday,
    I’m an avid reader of your blog, if not a scrupulously regular one – even so, I make up for it by reading all of your posts when I do sit down.
    I for one, am DAMN FUCKING HAPPY that you’ve written this (I might mention that I’m next door to the Gabba when I write this) because it truly reflects the way our crowds literally CROWD our best cricketers (I’m not a movie buff, or particularly interested in politics, but I sure am a huge fan of cricket).
    We really need to a) learn how to take things in a lighter vein, b) sit back and not shit ourselves over a “fuck”, whether before god or tendulkar (I’ve left them uncapitalised on purpose, even though I’m a HUGE Sachin fan; in fact, I was one of the few in the hostile Chennai crowd who didn’t throw bottles or boos at Sachin when he got out for 4 against Pakistan when Anwar scored that 194), and c) realise that our cricketers are doing their bloody best at any given time for us.
    I’m a very staunch Virat fan, and have always been, and I admire his tenacity and talent even in the face of the most adversity. Still, as you’ve said, he’s 27 (and I’m 28), and he’s still got a long way to go, as I’ve no doubt he will. He truly is a credit to our country as far as his dedication, talent and performance go. The guy is irrepressible, on and off the field, and I for one LOVE IT.
    I think what you’ve said makes the point in a way that I, with my grammar boy BS never can. We need to stop being so self righteous, sanctimonious and judgmental about our heroes.
    I know that we’re a nation of 1.6 billion, and that cricket reflects the hopes and dreams as nothing ever can, but I’m also of the opinion that if public opinion gets too out of hand, it will just ruin everything good about a sport, and a great player that we all love.
    And as for your line, “Fuck God, and (I never thought I’d say this) fuck Tendulkar”, I LOVE IT. Indeed, god is not Great, Religion does poison everything (I borrow that from Christopher Hitchens’ brilliant book of the same name). If people just took a good hard look at what ails India, “god” is like it’s club foot that only allows the country to limp and never run. So fucking what if Lata Mangeshkar refused her award? Are we that hypocritical as to say the next morning we didn’t get on with our daily lives?
    I guess the bottom line of what I’m trying to say is that I agree with you, and that perhaps all of us should learn to appreciate the game for what it’s worth without shadowing it with our “Holier Than Thou” sentiments.
    So, don’t remove the “Fuck”, whether it’s before “God” or Sachin. It deserves its place, and for all those who doubt it’s qualities, I just point to Osho: He claimed “Fuck” could be a transcendental meditation. Sorry for the sad reference.
    And might I add, I too am a proud Indian. I am also a lawyer and writer, who believes in the power of the word over that of the sword (or even the crude machinations of Honour Killings.)
    I certainly don’t go around thrashing others for expressing their opinions.
    I just wish I could meet/chat with you and congratulate you.

    Reply
  2. Shubham

    A letter of request

    Hello dear,
    I felt super-lucky when I came across your blog. It was like a girl you see for the first time, and masturbate nights after nights and still you would never get enough of it. I have literally marketed your stuff to my friends, who read bulshit bhagat. I have copy pasted your whole write ups at times to the girls to make them smile (you know how it works, we like to be a chandler in front of girls, but I always used your name. Never taken credit of your writings. Not because of some moral crap, but because I like you that much. The way you write your heart out and make people laugh) I have even watched your YouTube stuffs and liked them. But this is this.

    This message (or letter whatever ‘fuck’ you call it) I write because I came across a particular piece on kohli being compared to God. As usual, it was so hilarious. Your way of articulating feelings has made me fart hard more than once while I read your piece finishing off my tatti.
    But I felt offended when you used the prefix for tendulkar at the end.
    Bhaina, I could not comprehend the sense of it. I understand that I am not a writer, nevertheless a funny one. I understand that you must have felt something very strong(or may not) while writing fuck before his title.
    Please take it off, if possible. I will make 50 ‘more’ people subscribe to your blog, Twitter, I promise you. Also I will check by asking questions from your writing pieces to see if they are ardently following the blog or not. I will make them squeeze time from their life. I promise you all of it except a bj or other stuffs.
    Please, if possible Bhai.
    Ishwar ki anukampa barsegi aap-pe. Aapka standup aur v faaadu ho jayega. Alia bhatt ki chut milegi.
    Badshah gana banayega.
    PS. : the word ‘fuck’ when you use it, is as fit as when Joe Percy used it in casino movie. It just fits as the girls on bike.

    Love, regards. Keep rocking Bhai.

    Reply
    1. Hriday Ranjan Post author

      Bhaina, tikey gonjei taniki chill kara. Duniyare kete tension achhi, lokomaane nija-nijara beka kaatipakauchanti, who has the time to take offence to a blog?

      Reply
  3. Shubham

    I like to read your blog and I kind of market your stuff. When I find someone sad, I bring him/her to your incredibly hilarious pieces. This was so good, but the end man!! You say fuck God, I laugh. But then, that went too far dear. Believe me, I am your fan too. Pr tendulkar ke sath apsabda jodna is paap. As a fan of your blog, and a devotee I would request you to please take that off sir, if possible. I fail to see the value that adds to this such a hilarious piece dear. #YouRockBhai
    When you use the word fuck or weed, it fits as smoothly as girls on a bike. But not in front of tendulkar Bhai.

    Reply
  4. Gaurav

    It is kinda sad that you always come up with matured intelligent blogs but they rarely receive any footfalls. I like the way you sit back, analyse and evaluate any topic without falling for popular sentiment. I seriously wish you receive some recognition when you launch your first book!

    Reply
  5. Siva

    Awesome… I could literally related many incidents to this part:
    Reporter;Former Great; Nation; PoopScoop; Facebook Posts; Twitter

    Reply
  6. SB

    Great read. Beautifully put. The psychology behind sports fandom is deep and fascinating. How much of a fan you are exposes a lot about your self-esteem and approval-seeker mentality. It breeds from a deep seated need of social belongingness without the social skills, and a sense of lack of personal achievement. It’s also funny how people associate with their teams selectively during wins and not so much when they lose.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.