Red Pink Orange & Black

In my teens I had two sporting passions, cricket and lawn tennis. Cricket was and is passion for every teenager in India, with a difference, now a day’s cricket is played much more, while in my teens lesser matches meant more attention. Watching cricket needed completely sterile environment devoid of any distractions, it was kind of punishment for all my family members.
Watching Tennis on other hand was less taxing, India had no stakes in it. I grew watching Ivan Lendl, Boris Beker, John McEnroe, Andre Agassi, Steffi Graff, Martina Navratilova, Gabriella Sabatini, Monica Seles etc. Only one tennis championship we watched and that was Wimbledon.
Pre match preparation in that era for me was quite elaborate and was aggravated by fact that I lived in a valley in Himachal Pradesh. Finding right spot and right direction for TV antenna was exercise to be repeated every 15 days in routine, for match schedules it was much more frequent, Cable TV had not made its appearance yet. We watched it on black and white TV with six channel tuner. Despite all such challenges I and my friends knew a lot about this game, stats, strengths & weaknesses of players and standings in tournament tally.
News papers ran the complete coverage of match next day and I read it with same excitement as I watched match. Papers ran black and white pictures of players shaking hands or one of players rejoicing after winning match or a point. With turn of time and ruthless grind of job it’s been years that I watched this game. I don’t even know the names of players, their countries or their standing in the tournament and world ranking.
Still, over years I have seen a strange interest in following game in my neighbors, co workers and friends. They all have started following the game in news papers. Merits of following game in newspapers are many. One, you can get glimpse of statistics at your convenient time, two, news papers have become colorful and you get some real eye catching images. Mystery shrouding this trend of following game in news papers deepens further when you realize people are following only women’s matches. I tried to unearth this mystery and what I found after my research is really colorful.
I tried to strike a conversation on tennis with Mr. Chopra who lives across the street, he was my best bet, most of the time he is engrossed in tennis section of news paper while sipping his bed tea. His favorite spot for bed tea is his balcony and every morning we strike brief balcony discussions.
Few weeks back as Wimbledon began, I tried to engage Mr. Chopra in discussion about women tournament, strangely, about game, he knew much less than me. What he stares at, I wondered. Few days of observation revealed the secret. Mr. Chopra across the street, Mr. Srinivas at office and my younger brother Montu The Moron all stare at the up skirt moments of women players at Wimbledon. All of them get to see the hues of colours down under.
This indeed is a strange phenomenon and I suppose there were two triggers which initiated it. First is the over aggressive sense of dressing of William sisters. They always ensured people get free treat of voluptuous and fertile bosom and a rainbow show whenever they bent or stretched to play shots. Second reason is the arrival of colour pictures in Indian news papers. They choose to publish photographs which, for sure, are representative of high intensity of game, players making fully stretched effort to play shots and in turn revealing what need not be watched by a game enthusiast. Still, marketing strategy and success mantra for news paper is ‘Jo Dikhta Hai Wo Bikta Hai’ (what you can show you can sell). Women’s Wimbledon offers a mouth watering cleavage up there and a rainbow down under. ‘Sab Dikhta Hai Sab Bikta Hai’ (They show all and sell all).
I wonder how many games can be made popular with this strategy of Jo Dikhta Hai Wo Bikta Hai. No wonders women cricket will ever be popular.


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