Culture of Whites

As a young kid, impressionable, ambitious, and a little crazy as I might have been back then, there was a little thing that was sacrosanct. That someone who was really serious about his Cricket, wore the “whites”. The other colors were for fun. Like the Benson & Hedges tournament down under. The cherry was supposed to be red. For it to be menacing and serious. You get the point.

So, when I went for my first cricket camp, since I could not really have a separate set of appropriate whites for playing cricket only, it boiled down to my white school shirt, and that white school trouser that you were supposed to wear on a specific weekday, for example, a saturday. I had white canvas shoes as well. But this time, thankfully, big brother came to my rescue. He had played school league already, and much as it would have affected the monthly budgets, my parents had bought him a pair of cricketing shoes with spikes and everything. He had outgrown them, and they were available for me. A little worn out, but a matter of pride, because not everyone had them. And you had to go to “Main Road” to buy them in Ranchi.

But, in short, the whites were sacred. Once you donned the whites, you played seriously. The stakes became higher. The intensity, that much stronger.

And the players wore those white V-neck sweaters in winters. The ones which had a combination color rim around the neck. The colors representing your country colors. Indians had blue. Aussies had yellow and baggy green. Me and my brother had pleaded with mom to get her to knit one of those sweaters for us. And she did. And we wore them, and felt let like the real deal. Nothing could go wrong after that. Yet it did. You did gt thwacked around the park. Or bowled out for a duck. But that could happen to Kapil. OR Kris Srikant as well. It’s just that you felt that you were giving your 100%.

And you imitated. That wonderful Kapil pose. Or the long Kumble run up. Or, that menacing Akram yorker. Or, even Gladstone Small. Or, that Shashtri defend and take a few false steps trick. Or that Kris Srikanth twitch, walk to the leg umpire, stretch your feet apart much more than any other batsman would, and try to take on the Akrams and the Ambroses of the world.

And much as the game was called a gentlemen’s game, complain like rowdies whenever you felt that a decision was unfair against India. Be ridiculous about supporting Sunny’s walking out. Be kiddishly gleefuk about that akram yorker that brought some ofthe finest to the ground. And discuss the match for several hours after it ended. That hit and that miss. Quite different from the post-match package by Sony Entertainment.

And just as the day would be coming to an end, with a little bit of light still left before sunset, run to the ground to get a five over game in. You and your band of fellow gentlemen. Whites or no-whites.

Such was the culture of whites. As I remember it.

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About Amit
Conventional, boring, believer, poet, Shayar (to be precise), lover of music, musical instruments, and all that can be called music (theoretically or metaphorically), jack of all master of none, more of a reader less of a writer, arbit philosopher, foolish debater.. and many more such things.. like so many people!

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