‘I’m not going to follow the World Cup,” a friend told me earlier this week. “Except for T20, cricket is such a slow, drawn out affair.”
I know my recent sordid love affair with the IPL disqualifies me from disagreeing with him, but his words shocked me. The “slow, drawn out” 50-over version of this great sport is, after all, just white ball cricket – a colourful, quick adaptation designed to attract the beer-drinking hordes who can’t appreciate Test cricket.
It is a symptom of a serious disease in our society: our evergrowing hankering for instant gratification. It’s not only about pyjama cricket. We’re making everything quicker and cheaper and, in the process, we’re sacrificing the things that make us human.
Smartphones, e-books, e-banking, speed dating, instant divorces, quick-drying cement, fast food … our dirty blue planet, held together by plastic bags and superglue, is hurtling to doom at breakneck speed and we don’t stop for one second to consider the price of our chase after wind.
Even the two-year-old Egg has joined the rat race in her own little way.
The TV, that eternal symbol of instant entertainment, isn’t good enough anymore. The programmes are too long and they dare to broadcast uninterruptible advertisements. It’s YouTube or bust for her daily fix of Peppa Pig. On a cellphone, because she must keep moving.
Admittedly, not everything from the past is good – our apartheid wounds are still too raw to entertain such a thought. And not everything that is slow is good. We have all cursed the crawling pace of service delivery.
But let’s hand-pick the good things from times gone by and put them back. Old-fashioned values. Good manners. And qualities such as compassion. Today, I beg of you to take a small break from your fast, instant lives over the weekend. I’ve looked at my hurt friend Tanya and know that she needs to slow down.
To hold someone in her arms and breathe deeply while savouring the moment. To paint again. To dance. Read a book printed on paper this weekend. Page through a newspaper. Move slowly and let the universe put brakes on your life. And watch some cricket.
Even if it’s the limited overs version of this glorious game.