The Girl Who Bleeds Blue

Written By

Janani Koushik

Girl who bleeds blue-final-04 Loading

Gender stereotyping starts in the household right from the kids’ level. Go to a toy shop and tell the shopkeeper the age of the child, he immediately asks “Boy or Girl?” Or more subtly, “Cooking set or toy cars?” Luckily, I have escaped that scrutiny and being the younger sibling in the house, I inherited all my brother’s toys on top of what people gave me! School admissions became easy thanks to bro and even the habit of sitting quietly in one place and doing homework came much earlier than mom would have expected. Even before I knew what ‘homework’ was, I would watch my bro diligently finish his, run to mom to show it to her proudly, get a pat on his back and then speed off to enjoy his well-deserved play time/TV time. Like Mary’s little lamb I followed him everywhere in the house and sooner or later, I had to start watching Cricket — the much followed and revered sport in a typical Indian household. So much so, that it took me by surprise when I realized later in life that cricket never belonged to India and we had another national sport! Say, what?!

Luckily, mom had a similar upbringing as me. She had to two elder brothers and a cricket-crazy dad, which made answering questions like ‘what is a googly?’ and ‘do you think that fielder is better off at slip than silly mid-on?’ a breeze to her.

Cricket matches in our house were always a festival. We belonged to the 90s — every TV set would be switched off in despair the minute Sachin or Azhar got out, particularly when India was chasing a target. I vividly remember the 1996 World Cup, the Venkatesh Prasad-Amir Sohail verbal spat and how my brother’s ultrasonic shrieks caused cracks to appear in our old building!

Dad was a stickler for perfection and would insist on following the game by listening to what the commentator said rather than our own parallel, live, not-so-perfect ball-by-ball narration. He would say, if you want to learn anything, talk less and listen more. I later learnt that this advice held good for most things in life, not just cricket.

I was never the soft-spoken, timid girl in the household. Growing up with cousins (more boys than girls) and a super-protective brother always made me a bold and outspoken girl. Taking sides in the game soon became the norm and we formed camps. Azhar vs Sachin. I hardly knew how many centuries the former had scored, but took a liking to him and would voice my views in his favour spiritedly. Then the whole match-fixing scandal hit. When my cousins or the brother would bring up the flaws of my revered hero, my eyes would well up with tears. It never occurred to me that it wasn’t personal!

And then the Sourav vs Sachin clash happened (between their fans, at any rate) and luckily I had many points to defend my hero on — the super successful captain. If one of the two batsmen didn’t score in a match, much sneering from the fan of the other would lead to a severe verbal spat between us siblings. In fact, if one of our cousins would be visiting, he would have a tough choice to decide whom to team up with in the battle!

We grew up, but our childish fights and quarrels didn’t! If we began a day with quarrels and stormed off to college or work, the minute we were back home, I would run and tell my bro the score of the live match. Only after a few seconds of his malicious smile, would I remember my earlier threat of never speaking to my brother again. Cricket transcended everything!

Even now, after so many years and marriage to a ‘I-hate-cricket’ guy, and cartoon shows of the kid taking over even the IPL finals, it’s tough to not get excited when there is a discussion about the game back home. Bro sends a message, asking ‘Did you watch the game, tonight?’ and I reply with a smile.

Cricket always brings me fond memories of my childhood.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Janani Koushik is a software engineer by profession and a freelance writer by passion. Based out of Delhi- she writes on things that strike an instant chord with her. Mother to a wonderful three year old daughter- who is the inspiration for her works- she likes writing on things that she loves and Parenting is top on the list! Also interested in singing, books and cricket- find more of her reads at https://janvats.wordpress.com

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