Don’t meddle with us

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INDU BALACHANDRAN on some interesting Olympics news that excited commentators may have missed.

USAIN BOLT:The name can manifest itself into a style of running.Photo: AP
USAIN BOLT:The name can manifest itself into a style of running.Photo: AP

Iam as proud as any other Indian that our country returned from the London Olympics with double the number of wins, compared to last time. But I do hope our enemy countries have got this clear message from our medals: don’t meddle with India.

Let our terrorising neighbours be warned that we are excellent sharp-shooters, can easily hit enemy targets, prone or standing up, we can wrestle infiltrators to the ground with our bare hands, and even our women can box their way out during an attack. And oh yes, we can smash and return any hurling objects coming our way.

Only the chirping cricket

I am also happy to note that during the last few days of the Olympics, the only cricket we heard was the insect variety, chirping away in the garden after some welcome rains… and even he was often drowned out by our excited cheers before our TV sets, where even gentle grandmothers were punching their bangled fists in the air urging our Mary to hit, hit, hit that other woman in red.

Watching it all up close and alive on TV, it forced many of us into a deep reflection on Sports, and every one of us now has an opinion or a wish or a suggestion or a profound observation to share. For instance, the remarkable Bolt has led some to observe that one’s name itself can manifest itself into one’s style of running. (Years ago, the parents of P(hysical) T(raining) Usha got that bit right, when they dreamed of a sports career for their baby.)

Here are some other interesting observations that our excited commentators may have missed during the splendid coverage of the Olympics.

Sports people are very hungry for medals, and that explains why so many of them resorted to biting into them, the minute they were hung around their necks.

A lot of competitions and categories depend on the weight of the person, but we lay people watching some events kept wondering: do they mean the weight of a person before or after they apply heavy make-up? I wondered this throughout the sensational artistic floor gymnastics for women.

There may be a lot of sports people still hiding in closets, when it comes to sexual preferences, but triumphant men’s teams celebrated their wins with gay abandon, and we should all be a good sport too, and cheer this uninhibited display of testosterone-charged joy.

True, we sent some women out, inspired by our ancient epics, to shoot arrows like Dronacharya, but why not use modern epic battles for training them into Olympic fitness? A row of free gas cylinders kept at the end of the finish line would have made many middle class women improve their running speeds dramatically. And I may be stretching it, but spunky housewives should’ve had a crack at the women’s hurdles, so adept are they in tackling obstacles in their path. Even while wearing saris as uniforms.

And talking about uniforms, I must say that designers of sportswear handed out stuff this year that were more flattening than flattering to women. Ah, Sports The Leveller! Sometimes I don’t blame the authorities for overdoing the gender tests on some of our athletes; in fact some events had us wondering: Wait! Are we watching the Men’s Triple Jump or the Women’s Triple jump, just now?

Ready for the photo

For the real feminine types, I heard that stalls doing nail-painting with flags of countries were extremely popular at the Athletes’ Village. Obviously a waste of effort for events with nail-biting finishes. However, some sweating, drained out winning runners like the Cuban Shelly-Ann dashed off and returned glamorous, with full make up by the time she got on the victory stand…No doubt with water-proof mascara, what with all the crying we saw this Olympics.

Many vain winning men too emerged freshly groomed and photo-ready. Except for the Men’s Tennis semi-final, which went into four hours 26 minutes: a new Olympic record! The Argentine Porto started off smooth faced as a baby, but ended the match with a scruffy beard.

We can also make a guess about who had the highest blood pressure in the games: the coaches undoubtedly. Especially as almost all them are over-weight, old and tense and screaming throughout a match. But it remains a mystery to most on what magic words they say to their wards during their gasping time-out in the middle of an event. Being somewhat of an expert lip-reader, I once easily deciphered that secret advice a fat football coach was earnestly giving to his team at halftime: “The alligator is on a mountain. Can Prince Charles make pasta?” I swear, that’s what his lips clearly told me. But then maybe he was talking in code. (They did go on to win dramatically anyway.)

Well, I now can’t wait for the Rio Olympics. Neither can Michael Phelps. True, he declared his retirement from the U.S. team, but I know from very reliable rumours that next time he’s entering the Olympics as an independent country, all by himself. But not to worry, India will beat him for sure; so many experts have said that we’re definitely going to improve our tally of six medals in Rio.




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