If I were a practical and smart guy, I'd quietly take a few steps back and fade into the jeering crowds at round about this time. Step back from the sharp jibes and ridicule that is the sour reward for not introducing some sort of a reality check into a long cherished dream (OK, maybe not that long... a dream 2 years old) and a punch on the nose for foolish blind support. Yes, the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) are on a losing streak (yet again...) and I am once again taking their defeats a bit too personally. Yes, I am not practical and smart. Here's why.
A dream isn't a dream if it does not border on the improbable. If success were pre-guaranteed, it wouldn't be a dream at all but just a yawn inducing plan. At the centre of this dream falling apart drama lies a brave young-at-heart cricketer looking for a final glorious hurrah to end his cricketing days and it is evident that he is trying his utmost, the terrible results notwithstanding. As you might know Sourav Ganguly is not my favourite cricketer (that title being reserved for two gentlemen whose names can be shortened to SRT and BCL), but on Monday when he walked out to open the innings against the Mumbai Indians, I had to doff my hat to his "Bring it on" attitude. With his extremely limited range of shots, at a time when everyone was hollering at him to hide himself down the order considering his acute lack of form, to instead push himself to the top was a testimony to this man's extreme self-belief and to the only way Ganguly knows how to play his cricket - taking the challenges head on. True, it did not work out well that night but finding the spunk to even try that plan out and then that freakily awesome catch which he took to dismiss Saurabh Tiwary were nothing but extraordinary. A lot of other little luck factors went totally against his team as in the past 3 games of this season, putting the Knights in the lowly position that they are in. Personally though, I do find a lot of things of a positive nature in KKR's IPL season this year but I don't blame critics for not noticing them as they are not that evident... yet.
No, I am not finding excuses or preparing my resignation letter in advance. Taking the fate of KKR personally is in many ways similar to taking the fate of India as a country seriously. Nothing makes my blood boil quicker than when an Indian says "What is good about this country? Nothing like XYZ (insert an appropriate developed nation name in there) is ever possible here." Sometimes the statement is actually true but that still doesn't stop the steam from blowing out of my ears. Rife with problems like extremism (Muslim, Hindu, Maoists - the list is endless), corruption, casteism, regionalism, over-population, vote-bank politics, it has always seemed destined for disaster over the past 63 odd years. At the mindbendingly same time, it has always seem poised for success and brimming over with tremendous potential too with its healthy mix of successful democracy implementation, unparalleled levels of tolerance despite the mind boggling cultural differences and a poise & grace that only a wise ancient land can possess. KKR is a fresh spring chicken as compared to the magic promise that India has held to the world for all these years, but my appeal to Indians as a whole and KKR fans in particular is quite simple and similar. Fate has a role to play in all that we do (sometimes very minor, sometimes very major) but do not ever abandon your team/country for what is just the flavour of the season. Our time will come. Keep the faith.