Friday, December 14, 2007
This is a question for the ladies. (Though of course, there might be some gentlemen who would like to be included as well, if yer know wot I mean.)
When was the last time you watched a member of the Indian cricket team and felt a gusty (lusty?) sigh escape from your lips as a large, purple, throbbing….(no, sorry boys, but it’s not what you are thinking) thought blurb balloon over your head with just one word in neon lights.
No, don’t answer just as yet because here’s question number 2.
When was the last time you spotted the aforementioned member (sorry again, fellas but not what you’re thinking) and wanted to tear out your kurti/hair/Wonder Bra in ecstatic handfuls and then faint dead away because you could not for another minute stand how utterly, devastatingly, to-die-for cute he was? Or because you couldn’t bear the delicious shivers of God-alone-knows-what doing the rumba-salsa-watusi up and down your spine (and whatuchmacallits) whenever he smiled that slow, lazy, doozie smile?
Don’t answer anyway because I know the answer.
You can’t remember. Nor can I.
But do not despair because the long, dark night is over. And as dawn gently breaks over the barren acres of the cutie-pie-less cricketing green, a single brave, blade of hope sprouts…
I have to admit though that the first time I noticed him was because of his name. It reminded me of a song, an old favourite….
“English people sleeping in the sun to get a tan,
Pouring oil upon their faces like a frying pan,
Funny thing about it is they all go rosy red,
Next day when the peeling starts they're crying in their beds.
Oh to be in England
Now that spring is here,
Oh to be in England, drinking English beer.”
After which the singer breaks into a delightful Anglo-Carnatic-gamaka refrain, which goes something like this.
“Dhani-dhani-dhani Dhoni-dhaani dhani-dhani-Dhoni-dhaani…”
So, every time the name cropped up – and it started to do so with increasing frequency because the chap seemed to be some sort of a rising star - that refrain would start to play inside my head and wouldn’t stop. So I thought to myself, who the heck is this Dhoni fellow…
(Blasphemous, you shriek. But I’ll have you know that small as our numbers may be, there are people in this country to whom the word “cricket” first means an kind of insect and then everything else.)
Anyway, I started looking out for “Dhani-dhani-dhani-Dhoni”, which wasn’t hard because he was all over the place. And I tell you, it wasn’t love at first sight.
You see, it was the hair, about which – Mushy’s remarks notwithstanding - I had very mixed feelings. Which were mostly “yuck” (those dirty-gold highlights always make me break into a rash) mixed with a few pinches of “okay-yuck-but-maybe-not-so-bad-and-anyway-it-grabs-your-attention”. But, even then, there was something about the fellow that was….
I couldn’t put my finger on it because the hair really did come in the way.
Meanwhile, the dratted refrain continued to warble in my head.
Then, one hot summer’s night, it happened.
Not quite like the movie, but as far as I was concerned, what was draped so casually on that bar stool could give Clark Gable a run for his money, yumminess-ly speaking…
Oh dear, I’d better begin at the beginning, shouldn’t I?
The barstool was… no, not Saturday night at the Fire&Ice and no, I was not the gorgeous bar butterfly on the neighbouring stool that he couldn’t take his eyes off.
(In any case, I’ve heard the chap gets high on milk.)
It was on the sets of “India Questions”, Prannoy Roy’s show on NDTV on which the fellow was the guest and I was one of the thousands of potatoes watching the show from the comfort of my couch.
Roy’s introduction was gushing. There were comparisons to Sachin. (Just so that we are all on the same page, that would be Sachin, the cricketer, not the actor) There were grand references to the man changing the tide of the game. There was talk about a strike rate that would make even Adam Gilchrist blush.
Gilchrist who, I’m thinking. Isn’t he some Aussie batsman-type? And strike rate would be the number of times you hit the ball?
Just as I was sinking deep in vexed puzzlement and also wondering why the girls in the audience were simpering and fluttering excitedly as if Brad-Pitt-rolled-into-Matt-Damon (the latest Sexiest Man in the World) had just walked in, the camera slowly zoomed in on the Barstool….
To cut a long story short, lightning struck.
And the earth didn’t just move but for the next 45 minutes, it damn near did a cha-cha-cha to the 78-piece orchestra playing somewhere in the strawberry-cream-soaked distance.
It’s difficult to decide what is the sexiest thing about Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Because he’s not the handsomest of men, nor does he have the greatest body (but more on that later), or the most money, power or any of the other blah-blah-blah that turn women on.
So, maybe it is how easy and comfortable he look in everything.
Jeans (well-worn, workman blue and no-fuss, just the way I like it…)
Acne scars. (Beats John Abraham’s by points.)
Jharkand-English accent. (I can’t decide which is cuter - the way he says “wut” for “what” or the way he peppers his sentences with “ki”.)
Or just in his skin.
Maybe it is that he sounds so real, such a regular guy, even when he’s dishing out those careful, politically correct answers at interviews.
Or that he likes bikes (he owns seven) and chocolates and ice cream. (Move over, all you metrosexual sissies. Mahisexual is here.) And subscribes to Gandhigiri – what else would you call looking Shoab Akhtar straight in the eye and giving him a big smile every time he tries to intimidate you on the field?
And talking of smiles, maybe it is that lazy, shy-cheeky, I-know-I’m-kinda-killer-cute grin that would melt Hitler on a bad moustache day.
Or maybe it’s that cool, clear, straight gaze which seems to unerringly home in on parts which other men don’t even know exist.
There comes a moment in a relationship when in a sudden, searing flash, you have a startlingly clear idea of how completely hook-line-and-sinker you have fallen. (But of course Mahi and I are in a relationship – that Padukone babe is just to keep the paparazzi at bay.)
For me, since that Barstool, there have been two.
The first was when he took off his shirt just after winning the Twenty20 finals. No, it was not because he took it off to give it to that little boy and made the entire female half of the nation swoon into an ecstatic “Cho-chweet!”. (I did too, but mine was a more restrained “Awwww!”). It was also not because shirtless, he confirmed what was hinted at in that biceps-hugging T-shirt on Prannoy’s show - great body. (Eat your six-pack, Shahrukh!) It was because he looked so completely unselfconscious about it. As if it was the most natural thing in the world to do your victory lap with your shirt off in full view of a 100 million people. (Give or take a few million.)
The second was at the felicitation ceremony at Wankhede stadium
Everyone including Sharad Pawar had just done their number in aamchi English or Queen’s Marathi. (In most cases, you couldn’t tell the difference.)Then, up walks our dashing lad and when Harsha Bhogle starts to trot out his questions in shudh Angrezi, don’t you know old sock, he announces that since he is a Hindustani, he’d like to answer in Hindi.
The ultimate measure of my goner status is that I recently shelled out 199 whole rupees to get my year’s subscription to the Neo Sport channel on my Tata Sky. And life in now jhingalala. In case you’re scoffing, “Piffle!”, I’ll have you know that this is from a person who last watched cricket when “match fixing” was something that Bishen Singh Bedi did to his beard. To whom ODI is something which Britney Spears lost the custody of her sons for doing and who thinks that mostly, cricket is about as riveting as a documentary on the dating habits of an amoeba.
Finally, I thought it might be worth mentioning that there was another Indian wicket keeper who was also famous for his pizzazz, hair (our first Brylcreem model), high cute-pie quotient and love for bikes.
I tried to make something deeply significant and meaningful out of that but couldn’t. Except, I’d like to say this much.
Man cannot live by bread alone. At least, woman can’t. So, every now and then, we need to have a fella around us who fills us with the insatiable urge to break through security cordons, fling (would “throw” be a more wantonly appropriate choice, I’m wondering?) ourselves on him and kiss him madly, deeply, thirstily before we are dragged away and thrown back to our ho-humdrum lives. More so if we are constantly going to have our KSBKBT’s interrupted by our Bonny Babas in Blue peddling champi-sabun, chaddi-baniayan and danth-manjan. So, you’d better make them cute and the cuter the better and I have to say this.
As far as Mahi goes, I can’t complain.
Gotta go now. Have to figure out what exactly it is that a wicket keeper keeps. I mean, I don’t see him watering those wickets or feeding them biscuits or anything….