Saturday, March 17, 2007

Gods in blue

India's first match in the cricket World Cup is tonight, and the subconty's gone (even more) cricket crazy.

Exhibit A: A man in Chennai who set up a temple about six years ago has been drawing throngs with his eleven-headed god (eleven heads to represent, of course, the eleven players on the cricket pitch) and two Ganesh idols depicted bowling and batting. According to The Hindu, "Even as the temple was under construction, [the man] had prayed to Ganesha during an India-Australia match at Kolkata following which India from the verge of a collapse, made a miraculous win ... He said in that particular match, not only India won but also several records were created. Sachin Tendulkar crossed his 10,000 runs in test cricket, Harbajan performed a hat- trick besides V V Lakshman scoring 281 and Rahul Dravid 180."

Exhibit B: Ubiquitous billboards for Reebok, featuring India's cricketers -- and enticing taglines alluding to diarrhea. (OK, I know more people here associate the phrase with cricket than with gastrointestinal distress, but when it screams in 1,000-point font that someone's "got the runs," I can't help but dissolve into a fit of immature warbling.)

Exhibit C: Tihar jail, one of Asia's largest prisons, will "relax TV watching norms" and play commentary on the match over their PA system (if that's not cruel and unusual punishment, I don't know what is).

Exhibits D, E, F ...: Reuters reports that weavers in West Bengal are making saris featuring Sourav Ganguly, in Orissa a man videotaped himself trying to play cricket underwater, and a restaurant in Ahmedabad is offering a cricket-centric menu, including "googly pasta" and "century noodles."

Lock up your daughters, folks, it's going to be a wild few weeks.

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