Twenty20 has turned home and family life upside down. The husband, who never had time for cricket or for television, now sits and watches every match and screams instructions to the players in different languages. Our younger daughter, always cricket crazy, supports almost half the teams, and my head reels at her lists. Try to make some sense of this. 'I support Uthappa at all times. So I'll always cheer for his team. Except’ she pauses significantly, ‘except when his team plays against Chennai Super Kings - because Chennai is my birth place! When Chennai and Uthappa's team are not playing against Royal Challengers, I'll always support the Royal Challengers, because I am loyal to Rahul Dravid! When the Deccan Chargers play any team other than these three, they have my support.' Of course, it's all as clear as cricket to me!
The husband doesn’t seem too clear on the issue of loyalties either. Kolkata is the top team, because, as he says, we live in West Bengal, and 'Our dal-roti comes from here.' That is totally acceptable. However, he will support Delhi because that is 'home'. Even, he adds, even when they play Chennai Super Kings, to which team we must of course be loyal, because of our Tamil identity. Of course, he will root for Chennai when they are not playing Delhi or Kolkata. So why was he screaming for Rajasthan Royals the other day? 'Cant you understand anything? This team has come up only because Shane Warne has so much team spirit! I like a good leader!' Between them, father and daughter seem to have a special place in their hearts for every team except the Punjab Kings XI - but I think I did hear 'I love the costumes!' the other day.
Very often, the father and daughter come to loggerheads over a match, and each one tries to enlist the support of the non-sporting, non-tele-goggling mother/wife. The husband was sure I was supporting Delhi against Mumbai (‘Uthappa!’). By sheer chance, I served uthappams for dinner, and our daughter punched the air in delight at the implicit support, while the husband ate each mouthful as if it were choking him. My sister from Mumbai, a dignified grandmother, called, and when I answered the phone (which I have to do because no one else gets up from their prime seats) she shouted, 'I don’t want to talk to you! Give the phone to your Mumbai-supporting daughter!' Their conversation was almost entirely made up of wordless, ear-splitting shrieks.
I thank God we still have some sane people left in the family. There’s our elder daughter, who wouldn’t watch cricket if you paid her, and my sister in Chennai, who is positively allergic to cricket. I might run away to either of them for the summer. I need to go and bury myself somewhere until the finals of this Terrible 20 Tournament are played out.