The girls in our group shared their fear of being neglected by the guys in the wake of the impending cricket match. (We in our fifties call ourselves girls, and I will not tolerate any sniggering.)
Suman hit upon the bright idea of all of us watching it together. There was an ominous silence when this was declared in our WhatsApp chat.
After a couple of hours, Rajpal very hesitantly said it was not fair to torture the girls for so many hours. The guys had to concede grudgingly when the girls insisted that it would actually be a lot of fun.
So, on D-day, everyone got together at our friends Deepak and Anita’s house. India vs. England was trending. Rohit, who came in last, whispered to the guys, “How long does it take a woman to throw on a t-shirt and jeans?”
Gradually, as the day progressed, we girls started talking to each other, softly at first, then full blast.
Every five minutes, a guy would shoot us a look and then focus on the game. We got tired of the restrictions on our talking and shifted to the next room.
Shilpa shared her grievances about her husband, Rajpal, and seemed firm about leaving him if he didn’t change his ways. This disturbed me, and I went to the next room to talk to Rajpal.
I was greeted with pin-drop silence, and Rajpal’s eyes welled up.
Putting my hand on his arm, I consoled him that Shilpa would never leave him. Everyone looked aghast. Rajpal wondered how Shilpa came in between his God Kohli getting run out.
My comment, “Don’t cry baby, it's just cricket “, was met with incredulous horror. I quickly ran out with my tail between my legs.
Taking a cue from me, Suman took a plate of hors d’oeuvre to each one. Amid “hisses” and “uffs”, Rohit firmly took the plate and set it down on the table. Suddenly, Deepak and Amar broke into vigorous bhangra.
Pandya had hit a six. I was like, Isn’t Pandya a misogynist who had put his foot in his mouth in that Koffee With Karan episode?
The men looked at me accusingly for ruining a joyous moment. Well, guys, it’s time to take off your rose-tinted glasses.
Back in the next room, most of us thought that Anita looked super in her new dress, but she felt that it made her look fat. Wanting a man’s opinion, we barged into their room.
Anita asked them how the dress looked, and Deepak commented loudly, “Definitely wide”.
Looking at our open mouths, Amar sheepishly said the ball was wide.
Angrily, we stomped out of the room. Elements of drama, nail-biting, and suspense were at their peak.
I admit that cricket is like religion to Amar. But does it have to be at this level? I hate to make this a battle between the sexes, but that’s how it was. India and England gearing up for their cricket war seemed pale in comparison.